As 2015 came to a close, after a hectic period of exciting and unpredictable festive football, fans of Tottenham Hotspur eagerly anticipated with optimism the new calendar year, hoping that Mauricio Pochettino would be the man to finally lead the club into the top four for the first time since 2012, that year the club were cruelly robbed by Chelsea’s eventual success in the competition. That year Spurs ended up in familiar territory: The Europa League. Will the club break the trend in 2015-16?
2016 started with a tricky trip to Goodison Park, a visit which stereotypically provided a difficult occasion for Spurs, but the club followed up the win here on the final day of last season with a well earned point, as former White Hart Lane favourite Aaron Lennon gave the Toffee’s the lead against the run of play. However, Dele Alli, the influential teenager, controlling a superb ball from Toby Alderweireld, scored a delightful volley to get the lads a point. The first of three matches against title challenging Leicester this month was up next, as they travelled to the Lane in the F.A Cup. An early goal from Christian Eriksen was quickly cancelled out by Wasilewski. Minutes into the second period, Okazaki gave Leicester the lead after some average defending. We had to wait until the final moments to send the tie to a replay, with a composed Harry Kane penalty. Only a matter of days later, Leicester returned to the lane and took all three points, with a Robert Hutch header. A late sucker punch, of similar proportions to the way we equalised in the last match.
The team soon bounced back with an emphatic victory over Sunderland in a game returning Moussa Dembele pulled the strings in midfield, replacing Tom Carroll. Van Aanholt gave the black cats the lead, but Christian Eriksen equalised shortly after. The elegant, powerful Belgian gave Spurs the lead on the hour mark. Eriksen, on a rich vein of goal scoring form put the game out of Sunderland’s reach with a deflected effort. Another late Kane penalty proved to be the final nail in the coffin for Sam Allardyce and his side.
Nabil Bentaleb and Nacer Chadli returned to the team as the club took their revenge over Leicester in the replay. A magnificent goal from Heung Min-Son, and a tidy finish from Chadli gave the club easy progression. Tottenham dominated against Leicester from first whistle to last, it was a real statement of intent.
Selhurst Park was the venue for one of the goals of the season in our next game. An out of form Crystal Palace, scored their first goal in considerable time through a Vertonghen own goal, and it took the club a while to get back into the game. But they did it in absolute style. A delicious Chadli cross was buried by Kane as Spurs finally levelled. Dele Alli then took a touch, flicked the ball over an opponent’s head, before volleying it wonderfully past Wayne Hennessey. Chadli finished the tie in style with a great finish from range.
A terrific month came to an end, as we travelled to Essex to face Colchester. Nacer Chadli’s incredible recent form continued as he hit a fine brace. Eric Dier and a late Tom Carroll effort rounded off the score line, after an own goal gave Colchester a consolation.
As the transfer window comes to a close, and February begins, one thing is for sure.
It is never dull to be a Spurs fan.