Being stuffed by one of the big names in Europe is one thing, being taken apart by a team that usually takes a couple of months to score three league goals is another.
The Twelve Days of Spurs.
Lose to fourth division Colchester. Lose to Leicester after being ahead. Completely annihilated by Bayern, after taking the lead. Lose to perineal relegation fodder, Brighton, who haven’t won since the first game of the season. Just manage to hang onto a top half place in the league.
After the midweek destruction the old cliches came flying. You want a good start. You want the players to show they mean it. You want a performance. Well, I’d rather like those things even if they weren’t humiliated a few days earlier. Of course what you want and what you get can and duly were two different things.
Poch made changes. Well, he had to in defence, what with Aurier being banned. So the back four that faced Munich, you know the back four that either wanted away or have shown no commitment to stay, the four that nobody showed any interest in during the transfer window, had the fullbacks removed for Sissoko and Davies. A central pair that looked slow and lumbering against Bayern were augmented by a slow left-back and yet another square peg at right-back.
Sissoko might be a stop gap during a game he’s probably even behind Sanchez as the go to starter, after this game.
It was no coincidence that Brighton targeted that side, from the off. The off, where three minutes in you knew what was coming. No one stopped a cross going over, Lamela mincing along, Sissoko hanging off nowhere near anyone. Ball comes over, Hugo is panicking grabs the ball, realises he’s falling into the goal and will take it over the line so drops it for a tap in.
Hugo is done for a while. It looked nasty when you see the way his arm went in the back of the goal, as it gave away when he tried to cushion his fall with it. Another error of judgement. Someone said Hugo can be either a 9/10 keeper or a 2/10 keeper. Yea, with the ball over his head or at his feet he’s 2 in between he’s a 9.
The whole thing was just so Spurs.
Poch had made other changes. One being the surprise dropping of the teacher’s pet, Winks, with Dier coming in. Said before the midweek game that Spurs were better when they had that defensive shield in front of the back four, that Dier provided during those seasons they had their best goals against record in the PL. Many were calling for his inclusion after Bayern’s seven. Many who probably slagged him off before and were slagging him off during the game. The problem is this isn’t the same Dier. This was only his fourth 90 minutes in any competition since the beginning of December, last year. Only his ninth appearance of any type in 2019. He looked like a player who just hasn’t played.
Just after the half hour and the next goal came from the same route. A cross from the Brighton left that Lamela and or Sissoko didn’t stop, a flick on and another keeper mistake as Gazzaniga palmed the ball back into the danger area for another tap in.
Brighton were playing like Spurs should be. Spurs used to. They were the ones pressing. The ones going forward. The ones winning every second ball. The ones creating chances. The ones that looked more likely to score the next goal in the game.
That it came 20 minutes into the second half was the only surprise, really. Things were so bad that Poch even made a substitution at half-time. I know a sub before the hour, it’s amazing. With the introduction of the teacher’s pet, Ndombele was withdrawn and Dier was shifted into a back three.
It didn’t work. One of the first things Winks did was a no look back pass that went straight to a Brighton player just outside the Spurs’ box. He offered nothing but of course was wanked over. Christ a commentator said “he’d looked bright, since coming on” right after he’d launched a forward ball that flew over all the Spurs players to a Brighton defender. Comedy… it’s all about timing.
Their third was a case of deja vu all over again. It really looked like one of Gnabry’s goals for Bayern midweek. Connolly running at Toby, Toby backing off and Connolly cutting in and curling the ball inside the far post.
Not a good look for Toby. Twice in a week. Jan did get his head in the way a an effort in the first half about the only fight shown through the game but the lack of pace between the pair is a concern. It was pointed out how Spurs have dropped their pressing. It starts with Harry, he’s to bulked up in his upper body, probably a result of needing to do something while injured. It carries on with the defence not being able to push up because any pace will beat this pair now.
Toby wanted away, nobody came in for him, even at a reasonably cheap price nobody was interested. Why? Jan has run his contract down, has talked about signing an extension but with the season almost done and dusted, why not move on. Neither have any great future, why not rebuild now. Sanchez is flighty but he hasn’t been getting a run, why not try him. Tanganga as well, why not try him and see if the pair can build a relationship. Hopefully Sessegnon will be fit after the international break. Bring him in. Rose was another available during the summer that nobody really showed any interest. While Madrid couldn’t wait to snap Levy’s hand off for Trippier the England international on the other side was ignored.
The only player who really came out of the game with much credit was Moura. It was in 73rd minute he came on for Son – which wasn’t met with wild celebration – in the next 10 minutes he had more attempts on goal than the rest of them had in the previous 70. I don’t know what has happened between him and Poch but ever since Moura got us through to the CL final he’s almost been banished.
I know he’s not the same type of player as Eriksen. But one wants away has barely turned up since he put Ireland out of the World Cup and in this game didn’t play a single pass into the Brighton box. Call time. If Lo Celso is also fit after the break it’s the ideal time.
Some have written LC off as well as some seeming doing the same with Ndombele. Expecting the latter to be some sort of tackling machine. Are they the same ones that wrote Son off after his first season in a new country, a new league?
Losing to Bayern is one thing. Even being thumped by Bayern is one thing. Losing to Brighton for the first time in something like 36 years is completely different. But it’s not just losing it’s being thoroughly outplayed and having next to no fight after what happened midweek.
Poch wanted a clear out after the CL final, he wasn’t given it by Levy, maybe he should be brave and do himself, I know you can’t bring any new signings in but he could shake it up…