Just as Spurs seemed to get their season on track, they used the first Champions League game to reverse back to the rubbish dished out before the weekend.
Pochettino’s post match remarks that the team didn’t “respect the plan” he’d set out, as they blew a two goal lead to draw their opening Champions League group game away to Olympiacos, in a performance that was so bad they were really lucky to get away with a point. Which of course is a better start than last season’s campaign.
I don’t know what the plan Pochettino hatched was but most supporters were wanting a performance like they saw at the weekend against Palace. When the manager changed five players from that PL lineup it really didn’t look like that was going to be the outcome.
Davies, Ndombele, Dele, Moura and Sanchez were brought in. Four of them were coming off injury, which showed. One of them Sanchez was put out at right-back, as he had been previously, with the same, unexpected, bad result, while Aurier sat at home and Walker-Peters sat on the bench. So as before, while huge swathe of grass on Spurs was empty screaming out for a fullback to play the way Aurier did at the weekend, Davinson wasn’t there. Inside or hanging back.
Davies didn’t do much on the other side. While the hosts ran at the flanks and through the middle. The home aide were all over their visitors. It really was like the Arsenal game, Sanchez’s previous outing at RB. They just couldn’t score and before they knew it found themselves two nil down, just before the half hour.
Harry received the ball to the right of the box, jinked inside it and had his right foot hooked by the defender. The ref only had one choice, which was backed up by VAR. Penalty. Left or right, which way would Harry bang it… oh, straight down the middle.
Before they’d stopped complaining, Davies nicked the ball, played it square to Moura who banged it in, from just inside the D, for the second. It was done without dithering and from a good bit of pressing by Davies… it wasn’t really to be seen again.
Nope, straight away Spurs reverted back to useless. And just like the Arsenal game the hosts pulled one back just before half-time. Allowed to run through, under no pressure, it was all just far too easy. Pochettino was steaming on the sideline.
The main target of the fury was Eriksen. Can he still wonder why no club actually came in for him during the summer? Surely not. To think this is how he plays when faced with a new huge contract, what is he gonna be like if he signs it? This… this was his worst outing for Spurs. He was beyond awful. Even when he went missing after beating Ireland to get to the World Cup, he wasn’t this bad. Here he just didn’t look interested at all. Giving away the ball, standing around, dithering, which led to their equaliser, ten minutes after the break. Played the ball just outside the Spurs’ box he just stood there dawdling while it was taken off him. Played into Valbuena, he had his back to goal but Jan went in and stamped on his foot. Yup, it’s a penalty.
Spurs press the self destruct button again. And that’s the real aggravating thing, it’s all self inflicted. Other teams don’t even have to try when Spurs are like this and Olympiacos showed that when they decided a draw was good enough for them. Their best players were withdrawn and they sat back and yet it looked more like Spurs would gift them the winner than Spurs score it themselves.
Yes Spurs had chances, which they duly spurned. While no one wanted to pass to Harry when he was in a better position to score, they preferred to bugger up the shot. One classic piece of Spurs play in the second half saw Winks do that scamper forward of his, look to his left, see nobody there, realise he couldn’t pass the ball sideways so just aimlessly kick it into the box to no one but a home defender.
It was all round just a god awful game from Poch’s men, who… well, obviously aren’t listening to him if they aren’t doing what he told them to do. Which isn’t a good sign…