Spurs: Sherwood's Appealling, Paulinho's Brilliant & Arsenal Trip Now Looks Less Daunting

Paulinho excelled despite getting a maiming from toothless thug Charlie Adam and maybe it's time to wonder if we wrote our side off a little too soon...
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Paulinho excelled despite getting a maiming from toothless thug Charlie Adam and maybe it's time to wonder if we wrote our side off a little too soon...

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Spurs: Sherwood's Starting To Appeal & Trip To Arsenal Now Looks Less Daunting

Once again

Tottenham Hotspur

confound expectation, this time by playing well. Really well. Probably the best they’ve played all season at home, the three-nil scoreline wholly unflattering against an admittedly uninspired Stoke.

All of a sudden you find yourself looking at Tim Sherwood’s seven point haul from his first three league games in charge and you think ‘wait a minute, maybe we wrote this season off too soon’.

It’s been a much repeated truth that Spurs’ seven new players need time to settle before they start to produce their best form and yesterday there were real signs of progress in several of them, most conspicuously Paulinho. Many of us have spent the season wondering whether Paulinho really is Brazilian, let alone a lynchpin of the Green and Yellow’s midfield, such has been the prosaic nature of his efforts. Yesterday, rested after a three game ban, he suddenly looked like the whole 17 million quid’s worth adding delicious flicks, tricks and turns to his usual vim. His manager, who’s laconically candid press conference style is starting to appeal, was surprised: ‘I never knew he possessed that, I have to be honest.’

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Paulinho was so good that he took on the Gareth Bale role of being targeted by the bitter Charlie Adam who entered the fray with the demeanour of Fat B******* from the Austin Powers movies shortly after half time. Adam seemed to incur the annoyance of the referee before he’d even touched the ball presumably because of some snarled threat he’d issued as he took to the field and before long he’d forced Paulinho off with a nasty challenge that left the Brazilian irate. Sherwood, who was prone to leaving his own foot in as a player, chose to play down the incident afterwards - ‘It's the middle of the pitch, innit? You expect to get kicked’.

You do wonder whether a man like Adam regards a three-nil defeat in which he’s managed to maim the opposition’s playmaker more as a victory. Certainly his footballing contributions were sub-negligible.

For Spurs, maddeningly unpredictable but generally better away from home, the looming trips to Old Trafford and the Goon’s New Library now seem a little less daunting. The hope will be that one or two of the injured players will return because, whatever Tottenham teams come out of those tunnels, the opposition will be stiffer than that offered by Stoke.

@theodelaney is a writer and director at @hotspur_argyle and a regular contributor to the @spursshow