The thing is Spurs should how best they can play in such games, open games with the opposition attacking, some of it the way that would work against the packed flat back ten they face most weeks. Unfortunately they didn’t have the precision to make it work enough while the defence wasn’t up to the task of preserving a two goal lead.
Get the ball forward, quickly, with the minimal amount of touches. No it’s not just long ball stuff, it’s precision passing and it’s when Spurs are at their best. The opener being the prime example, though it came from a Harry nod on, everyone was then looking and running forward, Son onto Lamela and as against City, for the first equaliser, Lamela didn’t take too many touches before hitting his shot early, the keeper parried and Eriksen was there for the tap in.
It was obviously the plan, a bit of rope-a-dope, with Arsenal having all the ball in the Spurs half and breaking quickly it almost worked shortly after when Son could have passed it on but cut inside and curled an excellent shot that required a top save. Getting the ball to Son, quickly, bypassing the midfield and the possibility of Winks slowing everything down with a sideways pass.
Though one of Winks’s sideways balls led to the second goal. Actually getting to the byline, he cut it back to Son, who had just played the ball off when he was completely wiped out. A challenge that did result in a penalty being given but somehow not a card being shown.
There was no saving Kane’s penalty even if the keeper hadn’t gone the wrong way.
Apparently actually finding a player with a pass means Winks was outstanding, according to the easily pleased. It was mentioned that it’s not just because of the back four that they’ve struggled to defend but because there wasn’t much help in front. Did they miss Dembele. Well, yes Spurs have missed Dembele but in those years when Poch had things ticking and the defence was conceded the fewest goals Spurs have ever let in during the Premier League era, Dier was there screening the defence. Slotting in when required. Filling gaps. There was none of that.
They bang on about some class from Winks yet when he backs off away from a player about to take a shot and cowers, when Ceballos brought out another save from Hugo, they go silent. The home side got the ball through and by the midfield pairing far too easily. Yes they were targeting Sanchez, who was unfathomably plonked out at right-back and did look a complete fish out of water. Coming inside as a centre-back would, leaving Pepe or whoever was out wide plenty of space. What was the point of even naming Aurier on the bench if you weren’t ever going to contemplate bringing him on. And if you watched Sanchez struggle and didn’t contemplate bringing Aurier on.
Things weren’t much better on the other side. Yes the fanbois might mention Rose blocking a chance at the back post but other than that he was dismal. Giving the ball away repeatedly including the incident that led to their get that goal back at the end of the first-half, which even with the break gave them momentum. Poch wanted rid, he’s past his sell by date.
The defence is also not helped by the new law that says you can play the ball from a goal-kick inside the box. As soon as it was introduced and you first saw two centre-backs line up on the six yard line for a goal-kick you knew trouble was coming. The last thing Spurs need is another invitation to fanny about at the back.
Even with Jan back, thankfully, did anyone really think Spurs would hold out? Especially as they dropped deeper and deeper. It was coming. gain far too open in defence with no cover. Winks is meandering around while there’s a slight closing on Guendouzi who has all the space he needs to play the ball into the box for Aubameyang to finish.
It could have been worse. It could have been better. They thankfully had their offside goal correctly chalked off. While Harry hit the post in the best move of the match and how Spurs should play when facing those packed defences. One touch and movement. Not sideways and stand still.
Can’t stop thinking about what a great goal this would have been. pic.twitter.com/fKZwQ8EgT2
— FootballJOE (@FootballJOE) September 1, 2019
Triangles. Play them and you’ll cut through defences. There were other chances but unfortunately the ball kept falling to Sissoko in the area and Sissoko did what Sissoko does in that situation… hits row Z. He needs to be charging up the pitch not ghosting into the box. Now while Atkinson – who the previous day had overlooked a horror tackle by Tielemans when reviewing the incident as the VAR – was falling for every Woolwich fall, he was overlooking every bad tackle by the likes of Xhaxa with it being stoppage time before he somehow ended up in the book. Spurs players being man handled was also overlooked. Dele, wrestled down on the edge of the area and then Harry pushed over in the box. Ah, “he was looking for it” they all scream. Well, yes and he found it. He put his body between the ball and Sokratis and the Greek pushed him over. Now you do that in the middle of the field and they’re screaming for a red card for violent conduct.
And it’s funny how this apparently was a penalty…
One was a penalty and one was a “dive” pic.twitter.com/IHxR7nvSJ4
— Marcus🇰🇷 (@Delecopter) September 1, 2019
It’s a point. An away point but just once it would be so good to finish these games off, or see ’em out. But with a defence that looks shot and nothing in front of them this could be a long frustrating season…