The ten-man team’s valiant victory over Luton on Saturday shown a great deal of heart and character amid the greatest league start in sixty-three years.
Despite a one-sided start on Saturday, a Tottenham romp over Luton was likely, but the way they won 1-0 at Kenilworth Road felt far more significant.
Under Ange Postecoglou, Spurs were able to tick off another box. Spurs were reduced to 10 men at the start of the second half after Yves Bissouma’s dismissal, but they found newfound tenacity to score in the second half and hold on for a victory that puts them atop the league heading into the international break.
When Bissouma took a dive and received a second yellow card, it was an act of insanity.
Postecoglou, however, was thrilled with his team’s answer, as they demonstrated true character to pass the most recent credential exam.
Spurs have already defeated a “big-six” opponent this season, defeating Manchester United 2-0, thrashing Burnley 5-2 on the road, rallying from behind to defeat Sheffield United 2-1, earning a well-earned point at Arsenal (drawing 2-2), and defeating nine-man Liverpool (winning 2-1 following an own goal in the 96th minute).
Every circumstance presented a distinct question, and in this instance, Spurs overcame hardship to show that they are still developing under Postecoglou.
“You have 38 games in a season and not every game is going to be pretty, free-flowing ‘Ange-ball’,” said James Maddison. “Sometimes you have to dig deep and show grit and determination. People are always asking of top teams: do they have that side to them? The top teams all do, and we want to be a top team. I’m so happy we showed that.”
Richarlison was guilty of two dreadful misses early on, as Spurs failed to score with eight shots in the opening 19 minutes. It was one of their centre-backs who eventually broke the deadlock, Micky van de Ven continuing his fine start to life at the club.
Heung-min Son had told Van de Ven on the team bus before the game that he would score and, from Maddison’s pull back following a short corner, the Dutchman duly did.
Spurs remain unbeaten, have 20 points after eight games and are above Arsenal on goals scored. This is their best start to a League campaign since 1960-61, when they last won the title.
So much of their improvement has come from a solid defence. Van de Ven and Cristian Romero were superb, while full-backs Destiny Udogie and Pedro Porro never shirked their duties.
Porro said: “We have to defend together just as much as we attack together.”