Who loves a good roller coaster? There is not a better analogy for the 2021-22 Tottneham Hotspur season than that of a roller coaster, and I am here to guide you through the roller coaster that was this season. My name is Dustin Gentile, and over the next four weeks, I will be here to give you my take on the 2021-22 Tottenham Hotspur season. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I will be bringing you my take on the best goals, most exhilarating games, the biggest moments, and brightest stars from the season that was 2021-22. Without much further ado, let’s look at this week’s list…
Top Goals of the Season (#5-1)
If you missed part one of my countdown of the top goals of the season, be sure to check it out here. Just a reminder in creating this list, I judged all of the goals on the following criteria: the impact the goal had on the game, the impact the goal had on the season, and the quality of the goal itself. Let’s get back to our countdown…
#5 – Dejan Kulusevski (2nd Goal) @ Norwich (5/22/22)
Much can be said about Dejan Kulusevski’s short period of time in North London. I will have much more to say about a certain ginger from Sweden in the coming weeks. In short, the loanee from Juventus completely changed the Tottenham attack from his first start for the club at Manchester City. It is still crazy to me how many Spurs fans called for his return to Turin after his 98 minutes with the club failed to produce anything, and you know who you are! Onto his strike against Norwich…
Deki opened the scoring in the 16th minute from a selfless play by fellow-Juventus transfer Rodrigo Bentancur, but it was his second strike that finds him on this list. With Spurs ahead 2-0 in the second half, it was time for the traveling fans in the away end to witness a little bit of razzle dazzle. As I mentioned in part 1, Harry Kane is an incredibly underrated number ten. He put this on display to set up the number five goal on our list with an incredible through ball in space that met Kulusevski charging down the right flank, and it was up for the Sweden international to do the rest. Deki then dribbles past his man and unleashes a beautiful curler past a sprawling Tim Krul to give Spurs a commanding 3-0 lead.
The goal may have sealed the deal on three points and a spot in the 22-23 Champions League, but Spurs and Kulusevski were far from done on the day…
#4 – Son Heung-min (2nd Goal) @ Norwich (5/22/22)
So about the finish of that Norwich game. Spurs had wrapped up the three points and clinched a spot in next season’s Champions league. It was now time to focus on one more task at hand. The only thing that could make this day sweeter would be to see everyone’s favorite left winger win the Golden Boot…
Entering the final day, Son Heung-min trailed Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah by a single goal after a late surge in the final month of the season. It seemed destined for Sonny to finish the day goalless as the Norwich keeper made save after save to deny the reigning Asian Footballer of the Year his prize. The first breakthrough came off the heels of a slick pass from Lucas Moura in the 70th minute. The Brazilian’s creative footwork found the South Korean in the center of the box, and Sonny blasted a shot into the back of the net. He had drawn level with Salah, but there was still more to be done.
Just five minutes later, Spurs would look to add another to their commanding lead as Lucas Moura won a free kick to the right of the Norwich box. The Brazilian would nearly find Harry Kane inside the box with his outswinging pass, but it was just a little too tall for the England captain to corral; however, the ricochet would find Son with only one man to beat. Sonny would make quick work of forward-turned defender Teemu Pukki and set his sights on goal and fire home what Spurs TV commentator Rob Daly put it “one of his best [goals] all season.” I tend to agree with Rob on this one, it was his best all season. The celebration that followed showed you how much this moment meant not just for Sonny, but for the team as a whole. They wanted this moment for the South Korean just as much as he did. That team comradery is something that made this Tottenham Hotspur team a very fun group to watch.
#3 – Harry Kane (2nd Goal) @ Manchester City (2/19/22)
It seems odd that we have made it through seven goals and have yet to mention a Harry Kane goal. Well, I guess it is time to change it. Much can be said about the lead into the season with Harry Kane with rumors swirling around his potential leave for Manchester City, his slow start under Nuno Espirito Santos, and his devise performance in Euro 2020. We will cover this at length later this summer. With all of that being said, the way the season ended one could argue we are getting the best version of Harry Kane.
That was the version of Harry Kane we saw at the Etihad. With Spurs needing a statement win to keep their Champions League dreams alive, the England Captain did what he does best … put the ball in the back of the net. He had done so earlier in the game to restore the lead for the club as Sonny found a cutting Kane in the box for a sensational right footed flick into the City net, but after a second goal for the striker was ruled out due to offside, another Harry Kane masterclass was needed if Spurs wanted to leave Manchester with all three points, which is where we will pick up the narrative.
With City equalizing from the penalty spot in the second minute of stoppage time, many thought this scintillating game had seen its final act. Harry Kane had other ideas. As Rodrigo Bentancur set fellow-January addition Dejan Kulusevski down the right side of the Manchester City half, Kulusevski would pick up the pass and switch possession on this favored left foot. Deki then launched a cross that was too tall for the leaping Lucas Moura, but was the perfect placement for Harry Kane to beat former Tottneham fullback Kyle Walker and smash it behind Ederson and give the North London-side all three points in the fifth minute of added time. It was an incredible moment for the club. One that I celebrated in the vacant changing room of the Gabe’s department store in Florence, KY.
#2 – Harry Kane (2nd Goal) v Arsenal (5/12/22)
Who is ready for a double scoop of Harry Kane? As the 191st edition of the North London Derby approached, the two clubs from the north side of the English capital found themselves on a collision course. Both teams suffered from lack-luster starts, but it was the Gunner who came away with the first laugh in the previous edition of the NLD as they bullied Tottenham at the Emirates and came away with the 3-1 win. That young Arsenal team seemed to overachieve from that part as they rode a wave that found them in the top four with three games to play. Why were there still three games to play at this point in the season? Two things: 1) every gunner’s a runner; 2) I will cover the reasoning in my countdown of the top ten games of the season next week. With Spurs needing a win to keep their Champions League dreams alive, the England Captain did what he does best against Arsenal… put the ball in the back of the net.
After Kane opened the scoring in the 22nd minute from the penalty spot, Spurs had Arsenal on their heels. Things started to fall apart for the Gunners in the 33rd minute when center back Rob Holding saw his second yellow card of the game with a blow to the head of Son Heung-min. The tension between the two clubs was palpable, and a swarming Tottenham Hotspur club was about to deliver a vicious knockout punch.
After winning a corner, Sonny’s outswinging corner delivery was met at the eight-yard box by Rodrigo Bentancur and headed to the back post. A lurking Harry Kane was able to break free from his marker and hurl himself forward to the ball for a diving tap-in, header that sent Tottenham Hotspur Stadium into a frenzy! Former NFL wide receiver Santana Moss once said “big time players step up in big games.” On that night in North London, Harry Kane was the big time player that stepped up in a big game. A 3-0 victory over their fiercest rival was the start of a magical run to a top four finish and a birth in the Champions League.
And now, for the moment you have all been waiting for…
#1 – Steven Bergwijn (2nd Goal) @ Leicester (5/22/22)
I went back and forth with my last three choices on this list. The tipping point for this goal had to be its improbability. Be prepared for this game to show up multiple times over the next few weeks as it is sure to make the list of the top games of the season and top moments of the season. If you have not already, be sure to check out Jeremy Morehouse’s take on this moment at this link here. Jeremy offered a great take on this goal the day after this match.
I pulled into the Sam’s Club of Bowling Green, KY (my hometown) with a sour taste in my mouth. Spurs had yet again underachieved. We were into stoppage time, and a makeshift Leicester City squad was about to send us back to North London with a 2-1 loss. I was not a happy camper. My phone buzzes with the jingle of an ESPN update. I figured it was game over. Man was I wrong.
Let’s just relive the final moment together…
Side note: two hidden gems in this whole sequence comes via our Viking, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg. First, the interception to start the counter is superb. Second (and the most important part), the grab of Steven Bergwijn’s shirt as he jumps the barricade is so important. Remember, Stevie B was on a yellow card, and would have seen a red card via a second yellow for running into the crowd. So credit PEH for starting the counter and preserving the squad.
There are games as a fan of sports that you will remember where you were when the moment happened. Spurs have afforded me many of those moments. I remember sprinting through the living room when Harry Winks knocked off Fulham in the final seconds; (as I mentioned earlier,) I remember freaking out in a Gabe’s changing room for Harry Kane’s winner at the Etihad back in February; I remember freaking out in my hallway when Lucas Moura’s winner in Amsterdam hit the back of the net. I will forever remember sitting in my car in Sam’s Club parking lot and getting the update that the Flying Dutchman, Steven Bergwijn, pulled off the most improbable win at the King Power Stadium and Lucas Moura celebrated in front of the away fans on the back of a security guard. That sour taste in my mouth had left as I went to visit my sister in the Sam’s Club bakery. She was destined to have a very nice interaction with her older brother all thanks to one Stevie B.
For those reasons, Stevie B’s game winner at Leicester City tops the list of the goals of the season.
There you have it, my list of the top ten goals of the season. Did I get it right? Am I missing one? Please feel free to comment on this page or let me know on social media of your thoughts. Be sure to join us next Tuesday and Thursday as I bring to you my top ten matches of the season. What away nights made the cut? Where does the home side of the North London Derby fall? I will answer all of those questions next week here on the Podspur blog.
Thanks for reading. If you’d like to follow me on Twitter, you can do so by clicking here. Let me know your thoughts in the comments. COME ON YOU SPURS!