Tottenham are not perfect but their early success is sustainable. More than Arsenal…

Mailbox admits Tottenham’s shortcoming but Antonio Conte’s men are better equipped than Arsenal to keep their good start. Also: Haaland the goat?

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Spurs: sh*t or great?
Dave Tickner’s article on whether Tottenham are good or not Certainly reflects the mood among Spurs fans – the full half-glass view is that we’re a point off the top without things flicking, the half-empty glass look is that we can’t continue to be weak in possession without the results catching up to us.

But overall, I think it’s very clear that we’re good, and that’s sustainable. As Dave himself acknowledges, we create high-quality opportunities and compromise relatively little. But Dave said Leicester created “by far” a better opportunity than open play, and in fact they didn’t. Over half of their xG was a penalty that was unnecessarily conceded, the other goal was a tough chance that crept into the corner. Other than that, I remember two good saves from Lloris, a great header from a very tough chance from Dhaka, and a really good chance for Madison. Spurs scored 4 goals from open play, which seems fitting.

Spurs have won games under Conte in freestyle (see the end of last season) and they are winning games this year without that skill, but the point is that our lack of possession and control in midfield is an advantage rather than a mistake. The system means that Spurs usually have at least 5 players hitting the box hard when they attack, but it’s extremely difficult to break even when (again and again on Saturday) they shoot the ball wide in their own half. It’s not pretty but it’s sustainable, and it works against the good and bad teams. By contrast, Arsenal are beautiful but they played one team that would likely finish the top eight (maybe even the top half) and they were handed over. Maybe we need some articles on whether they are actually good people or bullies too?
Vail, London

Haaland goat?
He’ll end the debate in all the debates, won’t he? Ronaldo against Messi would look like child’s play after Erling dragged Norway to the Euros and then to the World Cup. Not real.
Nick (unrated) Munich


Erling Haaland: The ridiculous stats after his inappropriate start in the Premier League


Cherry in Ton
I love Newcastle away. I used to live there, so there are still some friends in town, and having spent five times now with Bournemouth, it never fails to be a great weekend. At the pub before the game, the locals treated us like a rare species, non-stop hospitable as always.

However, if you’re a fan of Bournemouth’s opponents, you’ll absolutely hate watching us. Oddly enough, for all the reasons Eddie Howe used to be criticized for not doing it the last time we woke up. Killing time by going out, sitting too squat and deep and trying to get out every now and then. He was very careful not to publicly criticize Bournemouth after the match, but it was clear that he was disappointed. Newcastle looked pretty limited, but points like that would not have been to earn under Parker and I’m sure the vast majority of Bournemouth fans will get points like those any day of the week.

Quick shout out to Jefferson Lerma. In the final year of his five-year contract as a club record signing, he was the ultimate definition of a cult champion. It was a harsh penalty but a correct one but his positional discipline is outstanding. I still can’t imagine we’re staying up but I really wish he would.

Finally, we really need a song by Phil Billing. Lots of fans get on his back because he often looks like he’s rolling and looks very succinct, but these are two great finishes in the last two games and his contribution to defensive work could go unnoticed.
Andy J, BH7.

Arsenal keep Stewie calm
Stewie is completely waiting for his time until the next Arsenal Show. Keeping abreast of the league’s developments, he’ll presumably keep himself busy by enjoying Haaland’s blast, watching curiously whether Liverpool can reclaim anything approaching the top of the table… all while keeping his great eye focused on Arsenal. This email will come.

This isn’t “Arsenal pessimism” – it’s just realism. It’s unlikely that those days will ever be completely over and done with. I think the culture has changed for the most part – to me mostly we’re still the youngest team in the league. Hopefully that won’t happen in the next game or the next. Hopefully that won’t happen for a while. Even the best teams have bad days – they rarely happen. In the past year, there’s been a regular pattern of shape-dropping that’s usually precipitated by some terrible show. This is well documented. This has to stop happening and we have to start playing well for weeks and then months at a time.

Keep Stewie’s transmissions at their current slow rate. Hopefully someday we won’t have to have it anymore. Then we’ll really be contenders for the title.
MAW, The Gooner (6 first-team players came out for Arsenal during yesterday’s nice kick. Yes, we need to try and get a consistent midfielder in January…if we can get a good deal known to be tough but we know a few options. See: Luiz, Douglas “Hopefully Villa will be completely safe and ready to negotiate. However, in general, our deepest problems have been exaggerated as they only have to do with us being a top 4 team.)


The biggest one
Now that the Brighton v Crystal Place match at the weekend has been canceled due to a lack of police numbers (probably), does that mean the A23 rivalry could take place alongside the sport’s big rivalries like EL classico and Yankees/Red Sox, India vs. Pakistan and Frazier against Ali?
Aidan Boyce, Wexford

They are all as bad as each other
respond to James Outram, Wirral. Dear James…

As you continue to write about human rights abuses in the UAE, I am amazed that you support Liverpool, which is
1. American owned. There are enough examples of human rights violations by Americans towards their own people as well as immigrants (De Santos pushing them to another country with false pretexts. Are these violations acceptable because they were committed by a white man?)
2. The club you are supporting wanted the lowest-paid staff not to be paid during the Covid lockdown. Isn’t this abusive behaviour?

cheers
747 always

…when Leicester won the Premier League I enjoyed it. After I stopped getting upset at Arsenal of course, but I did. Because of what Andrew says, it’s good to see the system in place being overthrown.

Man City has been taken over by a state for the purpose of sports washing. They spent two billion pounds to do it. Brave underdogs pollute the eye of the Evil Empire they are not.

Enjoy your dominance, Andrew. Should. But let’s not play and think.
RG

salute to the queen
Applause in the seventieth minute.
I hate to be pedantic, and I hope I’m not the only one… but everyone realizes that those claps were in the 71st minute… right?!
Adam, LFC, Belfast