FROM TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STADIUM – Tottenham’s victory against Sheffield United was a particularly strange one, a match not fit for a 3pm billing.
The game was punctuated by time-wasting and refereeing decisions which seemed as though they had come out of a Guardian ‘You Are The Ref’ debate.
Spurs came into this on a soaring high. Ange Postecoglou and James Maddison had scooped the Premier League awards for Manager of the Month and Player of the Month respectively. Neutrals had quickly been won over by their new style of play and breath-of-fresh-air charisma.
It was for that reason a surprise that they failed to break down a Sheffield United side who have taken just one point so far this season on their return to the Premier League.
The Blades, to their credit, took every opportunity to disrupt the flow of the game, to try and ensure that Tottenham’s feel-good bubble was ready to burst.
Goalkeeper Wes Foderingham was only booked for tapping the ball back into his penalty area with his fist. He was then spared a second yellow for various attempts to stop the game from restarting.
The pressure grew, the home fans became angsty, an anxiety all too familiar to Tottenham spread like wildfire.
And the sucker-punch eventually came. Gustavo Hamer from a throw-in. Spurs were going to have to do it the hard way in order to win.
That’s where Richarlison truly took centre stage.
The striker made his way into headlines this week after admitting he was planning to see a psychologist. He’s been unable to carry his form and general s***housery from his spell at Everton down to north London.
Minute 98. Ivan Perisic corner. Richarlison header. Goal. Spurs have a grip on the game again.
It wasn’t the end. Minute 101. Tottenham win the ball back. Richarlison is eye-to-eye with defender Auston Trusty. He can skin him or come inside. He works it instead to Dejan Kulusevski to fire into the roof of the net.
The particles of air inside Tottenham Hotspur Stadium smashed against each other, ricocheting into oblivion, a new core memory for the £1bn arena.
Postecoglou preached in pre-season that his philosophy will see supporters and fast-paced performances go hand-in-hand. He’s previously said that matchdays are a form of escapism for fans. After this week of all weeks, it’s fitting that Richarlison became Tottenham’s hero.