Tottenham Hotspur FC is actually building a new stadium which might not be open until spring 2019 so I got the great chance to go to their temporary home of the famed and new Wembley Stadium, where the England national football team plays in, the FA Cup Final Game (one of Premier League’s tournaments) is played, and already it has hosted a few Champions Leagues games. What’s even more amazing is that even though this new Wembley Stadium was built in the early 2000s, it’s already had numerous important events outside of football occurred there such as the 2012 London Olympic games, rugby games, tons of concerts, and even NFL football games because of its immense size as a venue which replaced the old Wembley Stadium, built back in the 1920s.
One of the things that I was half-expecting was this chant that a lot of anti-Tottenham fans know about. If you don’t know, well, you can online to find this funny clip that someone showed me about Tottenham which goes like this. Apparently, all anti-Tottenham fans know this chant:
Guy: “What do we think of Tottenham?”
Guy: “What do we think of shit?
Haha, I have to admit that was funny even though I obviously did not hear this chant at a Tottenham home game which was pretty evident – it’s the home team and why would they make fun of themselves? Still, I’m just puzzled why all these fans in the Premier League just absolutely hate opposing teams so much with such vile disgust and anger… and that they will do anything to insult the players, fans, clubs, etc. or even go over the deep-end such as attacking fans or throwing stuff at players. It’s especially fierce among the fans of the “Big Six” clubs: Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham. Some might even include some other clubs particularly those that play in or near London such as West Ham United, Crystal Palace, Watford, Fulham, etc. but I can sense the sheer breathing fire of hatred for the visiting sides coming into their home stadiums.
I don’t think it was ever that bad when I went to games such as Hertha BSC vs Bayern, Hamburger SV vs Schalke (in a match Hamburg had to win to avoid relegation), etc. The only vile that I can see, feel, hear, and sense so far was El Clásico when Real Madrid came to Camp Nou to play against FC Barcelona. Not only does that game and the two clubs have a lot of history between the two, it instead goes back to being part of Spanish history. Well, regardless of whether the Premier League teams and fans like one another, it doesn’t matter. They all have the same goal: win games, win trophies, win a lot of glory and money (not the fans however, who spend it so the players can indirectly receive it).
The game at Wembley was exciting because I was going to a famous stadium with Tottenham playing well in this year’s Premier League season. The anticipation was building up as I went from the tube station walking towards Wembley. Once I was in at the earliest possible time, I was able to quickly find my seat and plop into it to hunker down knowing that it was going to be cold. Also, getting there early meant that I could watch the players warm up and I have to say that they do things a little different there compared to how players warm up in the Bundesliga.
The game itself was great as Tottenham started off with its 4-3-3 lineup which at times I would see the fullbacks pull up to become more of a 2-3-5 lineup. That put a lot of pressure against the Wolverhampton Wolves who were using a 3-3-4 lineup which meant that Tottenham was able to utilize its strongest game plan of bunching up their players in front of the goal box with their snipers in Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Heung-min Sohn, Kiernan Trippier, Christian Eriksen, etc. The tactic worked as Harry Kane shot in a great curler into the net to put the first score of the game. Later on the game, the Spurs would pour on the pressure with more shots but none of them connected.
At about the 30-35 minute mark is when I noticed that the Wolves changed tactics in using a 5-3-2 lineup meaning more defensive duties but counterattack when the timing was right. At first, it wasn’t working but after the half-time, things started to go the way of the Wolves. I think the Wolves manager, Nuno Espírito Santo, asked himself, “How do I stop snipers?” Easy, put obstacles to block all the shots. It completely disrupted Tottenham’s game plan as the Wolves ended up with more possession time by positioning their players in the right places as well as intercept more passes due to the additional defenders. By having the ball more, it eventually led to their chances of scoring first goal, scoring the second goal to take the lead, and scoring a third goal to seal the game. Many Spurs fans were so distraught as I saw them file out of the stands in droves. That was something that I did not expect from some of the hardcore fans that I thought they were.
Overall, it was a fun game to watch especially when you digest the tactical change made by the Wolves to counter Tottenham’s snipers. A classic chess game match of attack and counter. Perhaps, Tottenham needs its new home now and ready instead of playing at Wembley to be more confident.