Monday night’s showdown against West Ham had Spurs fans biting their nails everywhere. A unique opportunity had presented itself: first, to go third in the Premier League table, level on games with everyone else, and second, take some pressure off for the game against rivals Arsenal next week. It all seemed too good to be true, and three points against the Hammers at Upton Park would give the North London side some cushion before they go into an array of tough fixtures both domestically and in Europe.
But it happened. The dream came alive and in magical style. Spurs kept up their late scoring streak with Bale “hammering” home a shot that was virtually unstoppable and had the Irons’ shot-stopper glued to his feet despite putting in his shift of the season.
A few weeks ago, in similar style Everton had beaten Spurs with two very late goals, and the commentators and pundits couldn’t get over how “united” the Everton side seemed. Once Jelavic went back to the bench after grabbing the winning goal, he shared a moment with his manager before high-fiving each team member on the bench. It showed that the team was a strong unit, in it together and that victory against Spurs meant a lot to them as individuals as well as a team. It is something that a number of Premier League clubs seemingly lack, and fans around the world wished to see such spectacles for their own clubs.
And Spurs fans saw it late on Monday night, when Bale raced to his manager after scoring the winning goal with the team in tow. While AVB’s passion for the club, the desire to win and his growing attachment to his players has been slowly coming to light, it’s been brightest after the equalizing goal against Lyon and the winner against West Ham. Through the body language of the players and the manager you can tell that this means as much to them as it does to the fans, if not much more.
An elated AVB managed to get a grin out of the otherwise stoic Scott Parker as well, something that should be high up on AVB’s list of accomplishments. While a fair share of fans of other clubs and websites have been labeling Spurs a one man team, the Spurs faithful and seasoned professionals and pundits know that it isn’t true. Bale’s given amazing support by the squad and it isn’t him who’s stopping all the late goals.
It isn’t Bale who comes racing off his line to clear the ball away or tackle a striker who managed to beat AVB’s high offside trap, and it’s never Bale who puts in a decisive crunching tackle near goal and sends the ball sailing away. It isn’t Bale who batters the opposition’s midfield, wins back the ball and distributes it to his players and it isn’t Bale who intercepts half the balls that are played in the Spurs defensive half.
While Bale has hit a magical run of form and is giving the best players in the world a good run for their money, a lot of credit must be given to the side that AVB has built and soldered together. With these recent developments and with their current run of form, Spurs fans can look forward to the final quarter of the season with hope and with confidence and believe that they stand more than just a chance of a top four finish.
Spurs fans old and new, should be proud of this unit and have more than enough reason to be.