NORMAN GILLERíS SPURS ODYSSEY BLOG No 404
Submitted by Norman Giller
Now for the most anticipated (and anxiously awaited) North London Derby for years, and I just hope Son Heung-min is fit for a game in which Tottenham need to be at full strength. During an after-match interview at Anfield on Saturday the Careering Korean kept rubbing a shoulder that took a huge whack when he was the victim of some GBH from Liverpool.
What a smashing, cheerful little man Sonny is. Just his presence brings a smile to our faces and he is a great ambassador for Spurs, for football and for his nation. I want to put him on my mantelpiece. He has now scored 20 Premier League goals this season, and is chasing Mo Salah for the Golden Boot and all his goals coming from open play. He leaves the penalty duties to his plundering partner Harry Kane, who of course had a part in his goal that plunged Liverpool into mourning.
It would be rather nice for him to catch Salah during the North London Derby!
At least the maths is now easy for my numbers-challenged brain. Spurs must win their last three matches, including the little matter of Thursday's NLD. This would leave Arsenal needing maximum points from their final two games (at Newcastle, home to Everton) to clinch that prized fourth place.
So it has all come down to this nail-nibbling finale, and you need to be a super optimist to think Spurs are going to be competing in the Champions League next season. The consolation would be a challenge for the Europa League, which is something to shout about.
But will it be enough to keep the likes of Harry Kane and our super coach Antonio Conte at Tottenham? As the undertaker said when lifting the lid of the coffin, 'Remains to be seen.'
Spurs did their very best to clamber above Arsenal at Anfield, as our guru Paul H. Smith reports HERE from what was almost an eerily lucky seat. It was a valiant performance against one of the all-time great Premier League teams.
I saw a lot of spiteful things being said on line after what some couch coaches described as two dropped points, but you won't find me knocking what I considered one of Tottenham's most scintillating displays of the season.
Conte has got Spurs playing with a new confidence and cohesion, particularly in defence where the blocking was of Geoff Boycott quality (That metaphor marks my age).
For Jurgen Klopp to moan about Tottenham's mass defensive tactics was sulking on the Beaufort Scale, i.e. a lot of wind. The fact is that Conte is building a Tottenham team that does not just roll over.
Ben Davies was particularly fired up and his wholehearted performance earned him TV pundit Glenn Hoddle's nod as Man of the Match. (aside: How Spurs could do with Hoddle-style passing in the midfield engine room!).
Tin hats will be provided for the North London Derby. Enjoy!
Stay safe and sane. COYS!
With my good friends Paul Hawksbee and Andy Jacobs at TalkSport
TALKING SPORT WITH H & J
You my have caught me on TalkSport in the week singing the praises of Jimmy Greaves on the H&J Show. Paul is a walking record book on Tottenham and Andy hero worshipped young Jimmy at Chelsea. Spurs fans hate it when I say that Greavsie was at his very best at Chelsea.In his teenage years at Stamford Bridge he played with the innocence of youth, showing blistering speed and not saddled with instructions to 'tackle back.' I cover Jimmy's remarkable four lives in one in The One and Only Jimmy Greaves, available direct from me at www.normangillerbooks.com . I make a donation for every book bought from me to the Tottenham Tribute Trust to help our old heroes who missed the gravy train. I look forward to hearing from you!
This is the FINAL week of season eight of the Spurs Odyssey Quiz League challenge. Next time out is the dreaded tie breaker to find our champion, when I set a challenge that tests your opinions rather than your knowledge. Warning: It will cost you sleep! This week's question is:
Which former Spurs player won 57 caps, was born in the same district as Jermain Defoe and against which team did he score his only World Cup finals goal for England?
Please email your answer to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and make the subject heading Quiz Week 36. Deadline: midnight this Friday. I will do my best to respond to all who take part.
The rules are the same as in the previous seven seasons. I ask a two-pronged question with three points at stake Ė two for identifying the player and one for the supplementary question. Next week I break the logjam of all-knowing Spurs-history experts with a tie-breaking poser that is based on opinion rather than fact. Thatís when I become as popular as Sol Campbell in an Arsenal shirt.
This yearís prizes for the champion: A rare out-of-print book from my now very special Greavsie collection with autographs from the late, great Jimmy Greaves, Dave Mackay and Steve Perryman, and, most important of all, a framed certificate announcing the winner as SOQL champion 2022. Plus a signed copy of My 70 Years of Spurs book AND a special bonus prize, the Eighty At Eighty book that I have written in harness with Sir Geoff Hurst, still the only man to score a World Cup final hat-trick.
Answer to question No 35: Which current Premier League footballer has won 35 caps, moved from Spurs to Spain, and who was the captain of the side against which he scored in the 2018 World Cup semi-final?
Kieran Trippier and Luka Modric was captain of Croatia, who were beaten by France in the final (with Hugo Lloris in goal and the winning skipper).
See you back here same time, same place next Monday for the dreaded tie breaker. COYS!
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