a relegation battle shutting up shop.
The weekend fixture against Premier League strugglers Chelsea should that Spurs will have to deal with more little teams coming to The Lane trying to grab a point.
That round trip to Azerbaijan in the Europa League played it’s part in a fairly lacklustre performance by Spurs, in which there just wasn’t the energy we’ve seen of late, though it doesn’t explain the doltish performance of the two starters who were left behind.
Spurs have a solid core of first pick players running down the spine of the team that have contributed to the recent run of success. The central defensive pair, the central midfield pair and Harry Kane.
The defenders have played every minute of every league game, Kane has started every league game, being substituted twice, so resting for just over half an hour this season. Since the second game of the season Dier has played every minute of every game bar the one he was suspended for. Alli missed this one through suspension but has featured heavily through moist of the season.
These players will get tired especially when they also feature in the European campaign. Vertonghen played a full 90 in four of the five group games, Alderweireld full 90 in all 5. Dier has missed about a quarter of an hour in 5 games. Alli has missed about 79 minutes. Kane hs missed more while still featuring in every game.
It all adds up. You can also add Eriksen into the equation, he’s played a lot when not injured.
And when a team come to shut up shop it needs energy to press them into mistakes and get at them before they can get into any kind of stride and that energy was lacking.
So Chelsea came to White Hart lane looking to avoid another drubbing and got all they wanted. Yes Hugo had to make one outstanding save from Hazard, who also had a good header he should have done better with, it was their one attempt on goal, but while Jose might have been right when saying it was their best performance of the season they didn’t deserve anything from it.
Spurs had their chances, Begovic was the most seen ‘keeper as they spurned the chance to put the visitors further in the mire.
Spurs just paid for that lack of energy. Certainly wasn’t the full on action of last season’s encounter, in a game that smouldered rather than got hot. The visitors helped by a ref who seemingly wanted back in Mourinho’s good books the way he was doling out cards to those in lilywhite.
Though the likes of Rose fully deserved his for both the foul tackle and the stupidity of the challenge. You look at that defence and you see a rock solid central pair with a world class ‘keeper and two dolts wide who can run fast. People keep going on about the improvement of Walker and Rose but anybody who doesn’t want an upgrade on both sides needs their head read.
Both equally as thick in defence, Rose though isn’t as scared to kick the ball as Walker. We keep hearing how great the right-back is at getting forward but when he does he dithers. But then he dithers whenever the ball needs kicked. No coincidence that the few chances that came their way came from the flanks. Both let crosses over and both let defenders past them. Walker doesn’t seem to have a clue who he should be marking at any point.
Much like that away trip to Qarabag, Spurs played some nice stuff without that killer touch. One particular piece of good play saw a lovely chip over the defence by Lamela to the advancing Son, who should have done better probably. One thing you can say about Son when he came off is that he certainly doesn’t shirk it. Maybe he is trying too hard but better that than Adebayoring it.
Spurs needed more control of the ball, there was a bit of long ball stuff, and I thought Pochettino might bring on Carroll for the injured Mason, just to pass it around a bit more but no. But then who did and didn’t come off the bench was more a talking point for them and the media after Costa’s display with the bib. Nicely done by Jose to distract from more dropped points.
Again man of the match was difficult, can see why Toby got it. Dembele though deserved a mention. Looked like he might have had to go off early with a knock but he was back to beast it in the middle. Chelsea read him once, took the ball off him after one of those glides to the left. It didn’t happen again.
So in the end their manager is delighted at the point, while Spurs’ fans are frustrated at two dropped. Yes it’s another game unbeaten but those draws are mounting and they need to be turned into victories, especially against these relegation fodder teams.
Though in times gone past after a long trip on Thursday and early start on Sunday against a team like Chelsea this would pretty much be a guaranteed defeat.
— Toxic Web (@Toxic_Web) November 29, 2015