Swans keeper Michel Vorm is on the shelf today with a groin injury. Doesn’t Swansea know that CLINT DEMPSEY STALKS HERE?? Unless Vorm’s groin was stolen by a crotch gnome, you tape it up. Or you lose. No bigs.
And we join Rob Stone and Wynalda’s glasses before we go to North London with visions of — wait, this pregame video montage is horrible. WHERE 90 MINUTES OF SOCCER, PASSION AND DRAMA MEANS FAR MORE THAN THREE POINTS. No, I’m pretty sure all it means is three points. Actually, I’m really sure about that. That’s the mathematical equation that our sport is built on, not overwrought voiceovers telling me that SPURS ARE FIGHTING A SOCCER WAR FOR THE SOULS OF ALL SPURSKIND. What, you couldn’t wake Warren Barton from his stupor this morning and get him to spit some Geordie slang at us? For shame.
Looks like Dempsey is deployed on the left today while Gareth Bale fights off a hamstring injury. Spurs have dropped 10 points in the last 10 minutes of games this year. If games lasted 80 minutes, they’d be four points clear of United atop the table through 16 games. Oh to be a Spurs fan. Do something about this, Demps. If you get nothing else from today, let it be that it is never — NEVER — too early for the DeuceFace. Clint Dempsey’s glaring mug is my coffee. Game time. Leggo.
’1 – British announcers sound like they’re continually apologizing for intruding upon your personal time. Jon Champion does this constantly. “Oh dear I believe that was a goal but I DIDN’T WAKE YOU, DID I????”
’3 – Sandro lopes into Dempsey’s space on the left while Demps sprints into the hole underneath Jermaine Defoe. This is what I’m most interested to watch. As USMNT fans, the most important thing for Dempsey is that Tottenham stokes his creative passion and adds to his oeuvre of forward moves. Dig in, it’s going to be an interesting afternoon
’7 – Dempsey gets his first public attention for a foul on Ki. The color analyst makes a quick comment on Dempsey’s likely desire to play narrow today. That seems to be the case as Adebayor splays out wide. As I say that, Dempsey flicks on for Adebayor in the box, and it just runs long. The leviathan is adjusting his sights. Do mythical beasts use sniper rifles? An age-old question that may never be answered.
’10 – Defoe splits out wide right and attempts to center for Dempsey, who charged hard into the box with no service. Dempsey runs like Stalin paintings stare. Dempsey-Stalin metaphors. Strap in ye vagrants
’12 – Dempsey trips another player and referee Mike Dean holds up two fingers while yelling “That’s two fouls” toward Dempsey in a haughty tone. Dean will possess neither of those fingers by game’s end.
’15 – Kyle Walker and Dempsey line up to take a free kick from 30 yards. Walker takes it. Walker blows it. LEARN FROM THIS.
’18 – We have yet to see Villas Boas and his designer jacket stamping around the touchline like somebody stole his loafers. I don’t know who’s running this video feed, but he isn’t a vengeful Chelsea fan.
’19 – Dempsey gets his first extended touches, and he uses them to feed Adebayor and then to spring Kyle Naughton on a flight into the box. Neither comes of anything, but Spurs don’t give possession away, either. That’s another positive development in Dempsey’s game the last two years. He almost never sets up his teammates with hospital balls. If you get service from Dempsey, the overwhelming odds are with the pass AVB SIGHTING. The cameraman heard my cries for a designer jacket with a squirrely man tucked inside and DULY DELIVERED.
’24 – Dempsey climbs over the Everest (or Dwight Tiandalli) for a header that falls into the keeper’s mitts. Color analyst: “That’s what Dempsey’s very good at.” In addition to painting with water colors and everything that’s ever existed? Yeah. Yes. True.
’29 – Things have gotten slow, but Dempsey breaks the boredom with an attempt at eight yards that was just cleared off the line. I just spent the last five minutes watching Jon Champion scream reservedly on YouTube. Highly recommend.
’33 – Possession is about split 50/50 so far, though Spurs have had the better of the interchanges. Both of these sides generally play attractive footy, though neither has done a ton of that thus far. Sort of cancelled each other out.
’34 – Aaron Lennon, the definition of a right winger, switches onto Dempsey’s left flank. Dempsey is wearing a groove into the middle channel now, almost off to the right side, playing in a trequartista role but with more graft than what you’d see with someone like Totti. If Totti is like a feather duster, Dempsey is MEAT.
’37 – Dempsey draws a FK, then plays a quick through ball to Lennon, who’s offside by inches. False. Lennon is like Mendoza from Mighty Ducks 2, the kid who can beat everybody but who doesn’t know how to stop on his skates. What I’m saying here is that Aaron Lennon doesn’t know how to use his feet.
’42 – Dempsey plays Naughton through on the left with a deft brush on the outside of his foot, and Naughton vomits all over it. Now Swansea have it back. Amateurs.
’45 – I wonder if Dempsey ever affects a British accent to try and fit in? I’d like to think its a random one, like “Frustrated Scouser on an afternoon trip to the Manchester herb market while feeling self conscious about that deep fried pumpkin he just ate.” I think he can pull that one off.
HALFTIME. No goals. Spurs dominate the important bits and Dempsey looks lively. Jon Champion sends us back to the Americans with “A very pleasant Sunday lunchtime.” Oh to be British. Oh heyyyyyy it’s Warren Barton. Somebody went into the back closet and kicked him awake. “IDIOT, YOU MISSED THE PREGAME.” To which he responded: “OI! I PLAYED FOR NEWCASTLE! WHY DO I HAVE TO SLEEP IN A BROOM CLOSET?!” I’m an idiot.
’47 – We’re back, and Spurs begin again in their quest to break down this Welsh red door with Dempsey drifting in from the left. On the other end, Routledge nearly found Dyer to make this one real interesting.
’50 – Jan Vertonghen swings in a cross that looks like the arc of a duck that’s just been shot in the face. Any time somebody raking in millions does something I’d expect I’d do in the same situation, I get a little smile going.
’53 – Mike Dean and his smarmy face. So smug, so punchable. DEMPSEY WANTS HIS FINGERS, MIKE.
’56 – Spurs are quite narrow on the left, which hasn’t helped them balance Lennon’s flights down the right. They’ve basically collapsed that side of the field and funneled most of the play through Dempsey and Dembele in the middle, making them a bit predictable. The most dangerous Spurs have been on the left was when Lennon flipped flanks earlier in the first half.
’65 – Lots happening in the middle third, nothing doing in the important areas for either team. Spurs have been bridled by the lack of a killer ball… call it the Arsenal Disease, kicking it about at the edge of the area with no release valve. Dembele has looked the most dangerous so far, but he and Dempsey are stepping on one another’s toes.
’70 – Dempsey is coming off for Gylfi Sigurdsson. Not a total surprise due to the issues enumerated previously. Other than that, AVB is calling down unholy hellfire on himself for pulling off the first man to ever kick a soccer ball. There will be cosmic consequences for this betrayal
’72 – Adebayor is forced off for Andros Townsend due to a quick injury. I TOLD YOU THERE WOULD BE CONSEQUENCES YOU PORTUGUESE MAN-ROOMBA.
’75 – BREAKTHROUGH. 1-0 Spurs. It was always coming. Vertonghen uses his weaker right foot to power home Townsend’s free kick from about 16 yards. Vertonghen did that stupid Superman shirt reveal thing that has infected American football celebrations. Hate. Hate it like the polio.
’79 – Spurs will coast through here. Book it… said nobody who’s ever seen Spurs play ever
’82 – If Spurs continue their failures in the final 10 minutes, it will be a surprise. For all their magisterial passing, Swansea has been bereft of ideas in the attacking third.
’83 – My wife just woke up and came in just in time to see Chico Flores’ horrid dive. Her immediate response: “Ballerina down.” She needs to be writing this.
’86 – Sigurdsson launches from 30 yards and deposits it into the Thames. Good call, AVB. You substituted Dempsey for a mobile T-shirt cannon.
’88 – I’m not going to acknowledge Sigurdsson’s inch-perfect through ball to release Defoe for a blocked shot just then. What’s that you say? I just did? Shut up. Jerk.
’90 – Scott Parker limbers up to come on for the first time this season. Does anyone else think Parker looks like a reject from the movie Pleasantville?
’91 – Five minutes of stoppage time. Ha. Ha. Ha.
’95 – Is Michu DEAD??? Lloris just decapitated him (holy hell the replay is brutal) and simulataniouOH I JUST SAW BRAD FRIEDEL. Michu has no idea where he is right now. Meanwhile, there are Britfights between the two teams. I LOVE THE FINISH TO THIS GAME. Suitably insane. Now Mike Dean is carrying the ball to Swansea’s keeper? The hell is going on? Love it
FINAL WHISTLE. 1-0 Spurs. Mike Dean still has all 10 of his fingers. FOR NOW.