and reverse is hit.
Spurs resurgence lasted just over three days and then they had to play Chelsea away and well we all know that wasn’t going to end well.
Things did not start well as Pochettino resisted the temptation to keep the same line-up that had beaten Everton just those 72 hours plus earlier. Now on the one hand that could have been good but the coach chose to drop Soldado instead of certain others.
Lamela for Soldado was an odd one and yet again typical for the striker. Just like last season when he broke his scoring drought in the league he was dropped for the next game. But to be dropped for a player who has struggled recently was very strange indeed.
Yes changes actually needed to be made from that previous outing but this wasn’t one of them. No, changes in the middle of the park were required. The inclusion of Bentaleb alongside Mason in the centre was asking for trouble.
Things of course started well, they always do, there’s always the good play then the missed chances before everything goes tits up. And so it was. Lennon produced one of the best crosses he’s put in for some considerable time – didn’t think about it, didn’t feel the need to try and beat a defender for the second, third time, just crossed it – Kane’s header hitting the bar.
Kane had gone on an earlier run which saw him brought down and a decent chance coming from the aftermath of the free-kick, he then went on another run on the left hand side that led to him firing across goal, when there were others he could have passed to in the box. This, while creating a good chance was a portent of things to come from Kane.
Then it went wrong, doing so in such a Spurs way.
Firstly inept defending from, well all involved. Lennon let Hazard go after he played the one of the two he received past the static Chiriches before slamming the ball past Lloris. Maybe the ‘keeper should have done better but it shouldn’t have got to that stage.
Now comes the abuse Lennon and Chiriches way. Well you can’t blame Poch for picking them they effectively kept Everton’s left side, Baines especially, quite for most of that game and it looked like a combination that admittedly has faults but could work. It may not be the best option but there’s no way the introduction of Naughton would have improved things. As he dithers to the halfway line panics and passes the ball back playing someone into trouble.
It was then typical Spurs that another goal came in a very short space of time. This time from Loris’ clearance, a bizarre one. He aimed for Spurs’ right, he kicked it to Spurs’ right but there was no Spurs player really there, straight to Hazard it was at Drogba’s feet before Spurs’ defence had a clue, hell it was in the net before they had a clue.
The third goal when it came late in the second half was irrelevant, other than showing how easily Spurs can gift goals through inept defending. Vertonghen being more interested in fouling Remy than defending the situation.
It was all over by then anyway, hell it was all over after the first one was gifted away.
What went on in between doesn’t really bode well for Spurs, especially with certain sections being just overjoyed with a performance from players just because they’re apparently
one of us.
Now as I said Lamela shouldn’t have started, probably shouldn’t have played but he actually created a couple of good chances. One lovely ball played through to Kane who was stupidly offside – Adebayor or Defoe style stupid offside – and one a nice chip over the defence to Chadli.
Harry Kane was lauded throughout. He hit the bar and he had that shot across goal and the rest of the game he played like Andros Townsend. Predictable, wasteful and inept. It didn’t take Chelsea long to figure out how to negate him. Just stand three bodies in front of him. Kane picks up the ball, runs forward, three bodies converge, which means that a Spurs player is open but no Harry keeps running right into that cul-de-sac and loses the ball. Time and time again. But he’s one of ours so this ineptitude that matches Townsend’s cut inside and shoot over the bar is just not talked about.
At half time Lamela had more tackles than the central pairing of Mason and Bentaleb together. Now I’m not unhappy at Mason playing but he needs better beside him than Bentaleb, a player who again was getting high praise. A player who did nothing. One tackle in the first half from one attempted and in the second no successful tackles from the whole two he tried.
What is the point of Bentaleb and would they put up with his rubbish if he’d cost money and not come through the academy.
He’s one of ours. Because apparently our academy products were the only ones performing. One tackle, worse passing success than Lamela, contributed nothing. That’s performing?
So what is he meant to be? Is it the creative midfielder? Well then surely he has to pass the ball forward. Is he the destructive midfielder? Well then surely he has to tackle then. It’s something else he can’t do. Late on he was easily brushed off in a weak attempt at a tackle, then minced after the player with the ball making no real effort that really summed his presence up.
As a creative player he’s the new Jenas. As a holding midfielder he’s the new Parker. Sideways passing, weak in the tackle, never busting a gut to make up for his error being there and thereabouts the scorers of goals against Spurs. Soft centre.
The fact he has come straight back into the team after injury and stayed on for the full 90 minutes against Chelsea are a worry. As is the ease with which Soldado was dropped and the way Kane’s running into trouble is being lauded as the new great white hope.
This Chelsea may have been missing Costa but Spurs made that an irrelevance in an all too familiar manner.