Well that could have gone better.
So last week I wrote about how Tottenham Hotspur were in the title race ahead of a big game against league leaders Manchester City.
For 90 minutes there was an entertaining match where the two teams each got a comedy goal and a goal produced by some amazing football. Also Mario Balotelli tried to murder some dudes. But more on that later.
Then extra time happened.
With about a minute left to play, Gareth Bale released a cross across to box about a second too late to Jermaine Defoe, who was about a few inches too short to put the ball into the open net. And I was like …
Then, with seconds left, Ledley King stumbled drunk out of a club and in a fit of what can only be explained as drunken stupidity, tried to judo tackle Mario Balotelli in the box. This would be Mario “I should have gotten a straight red for trying to stamp on Scott Parker’s luxurious hair” Balotelli.
For those who didn’t see it, here’s a quick refresher…
Anyway, so Balotelli stepped up and converted the penalty with ease, because that’s what he does. At this point, I was like …
So yeah. What can I take out of this game?
First thing’s first: Tottenham’s chances of winning the title aren’t dead, but they’re a long shot. There’s an 8 point gap now. That’s not insurmountable, but we’re going to need a lot of help from City and United to make that up. I can see it narrowing, but that’s going to be a lot of work.
Now, that said, if you told me Spurs would have a 5 point lead over Chelsea in 3rd place in January at the beginning of the season, I’d have jumped for joy. We’re still on course for automatic Champions League football. Which is going to be SUPER satisfying when Arsenal are playing Europa League qualifiers next August.
Also, this game proved something: Spurs can hang with anyone in England right now. They went toe to toe with City and even the most arrogant Oil Sheik would have concede they were lucky to win it. If Jermain Defoe were slightly taller or slightly faster, that could have been entirely different. Yes, City was missing the Toure brothers and Vincent Kompany, but considering that City’s bench would probably be starting anywhere else and costs more than a small country’s GDP, I really don’t care.
As far as City goes, I know that predictions are dangerous, but what the hell: they’re going to win the title. Let’s be clear: Mario Balotelli should not have been on the field to get fouled and take that penalty(and today the FA agreed, handing down a multi match ban to City, but tragically, not a point to Spurs). That’s bad enough. But having Howard Webb miss that stomp AND Lescott’s elbow to Kaboul’s face? Having Ledley King, perhaps the best defender of his generation, make that kind of horrible mental error? Having Defoe/Bale fail to put a goal in by that much? It’s infuriating, but that’s the kind of infuriating luck that championship teams have. That said, I hope that City have a self destruction of epic proportions and that their manager position becomes the kind of a revolving door that would make Roman Abramovich blush.
And if nothing else, it’s probably healthy to lose a game like that. No matter how high Tottenham flies, I feel like our team is uniquely capable of producing heartbreak like that. And its good never to forget that.
Still time to move on. Well, time to move on after we look at a picture of Mario Balotelli’s car covered in eggs. Cause, seriously, fuck that guy.