In the season the Football League decided to do away with away goals, it means Spurs have to go to penalties in the League Cup semi-final and everyone knew who would miss their kick.
Taking a one goal lead from the first leg, Spurs played the first half of the second leg as if they didn’t expect to get through or didn’t want to.
It was the worst half of football from Spurs since… well last Sunday against Fulham.
A midfield that disappeared at every opportunity and a forward that looked like he’d won a competition to be there. I had thought Janssen should be given some sort of chance after Llorente’s showing at the weekend. But then figured the Spaniard couldn’t be that bad again… he wasn’t he was worse. Admittedly he didn’t score an own goal and eventually did find the opposition’s net but dear god, the rest was unbelievably bad. Think of the worst first touch Sissoko has shown in a Spurs shirt and you’re almost there.
On the few occasions Spurs managed to get the ball forward and it reached the striker it was lost. It either just bounced off him or he chose to do some stupid flick which gifted it away. Yes a player who has sat on the bench for the best part of 18 months can be rusty but this was seized up beyond repair.
Again they didn’t play to him as they did for the goal. The last three Spurs’ goals have come from crosses but yet again this was the last thing they tried on a night of frustration. Hell the highlight of the night was Dier going through Luiz. Well, what looked like going through on first viewing on second viewing it was hard to believe how much Luiz milked it, you’d have thought they were the ones with the lead at the time.
This of course didn’t end well.
The Chelsea opener was an omnishambles from the moment Spurs conceded a thrown in. From there an unnecessary corner and from that they let a goal in from one of the two unmarked players outside the box, that went through three pairs of legs before crossing the line.
The midfield that let the ball through their legs then decided to disappear as Chelsea ran at them for the second goal. Leaving Hazard free in the box to guide home the cross.
What could Poch change at half-time… would he change anything? Well, he went for a formation shift with the same players. Back three and wing backs. By now there’d been the usual injury, as Davies went off just after the half hour to be replaced by Rose. It was the new man who made the difference with a cracking cross that Llorente fought to get on the end of, battling the fouling Luiz.
Did we see a cross like that again? No, of course not. Why would you repeat something that worked?
Spurs were better in that second half but never really looked like getting another. The goal was their only shot on target and there wasn’t many off. They did manage more injuries. Aurier kicking Sissoko up in the air, causing the Frenchman to go off in his comeback game, while Rose, who had taken a kicking from Chelsea during his time on the pitch, looked like he was suffering but had to stay on.
And so to penalties because… hey, who wants away goals, right… and all the talk of Eric Dier and his winner for England at the World Cup, so everyone knew who was going to miss. Dier skied his, that was followed by Moura and then Luiz getting the winner.
So the FA Cup next up, Palace. Can they get by this one with what they have left to fill out the starting XI. Thankfully Son’s Korea exited the Asian Cup but it’ll be too late for him to make this game, he should be back for the league fixture midweek.