Another Spurs loss, another Spurs loss from a winning position, another Spurs loss where they rued missed chances, another Spurs loss where Pochettino got it wrong.
My biggest fear after the Tuesday Champions League victory was that the team Poch put out, the one that performed so well and looked like Spurs, wasn’t going to be the one he put out for the following Premier League outing away to Liverpool. That those missing from Tuesday were being rested for Sunday.
As Spurs ended up 11th in the league.
Yup, in came the weak links. Winks back. Rose back. Eriksen back. Out went Ndombele, Davies and Lamela. The latter was injured so you do wonder if he would have played. Would Eriksen have featured in the starting XI if Lamela had been available? Well, he was picked ahead of Ndombele so maybe he would.
It actually looked like it worked for Spurs and Poch… for a minute at least.
Though it started with Liverpool attacking from the off, Henderson lost the ball and Sissoko went off on a run up the pitch. I got lost for a second and forgot that Ndombele wasn’t playing, slaloming past flailing Liverpool players he played the ball out to Son, who cut inside and fired off a shot, taking a deflection it hit the woodwork and bounced out perfectly for Kane to stoop and nod it in.
47 seconds… too early?
From that moment the rest of the half was basically Liverpool attacking, Gazzaniga making saves and Spurs just kicking the ball anywhere. They had one decent chance to extend the lead in the half but Harry’s ball was just to far for Dele and Eriksen’s shot was just out of the reach of Harry’s stretching leg. This was the extent of Eriksen’s involvement. He pulled a Jeremy Corbyn, was present but not involved.
Stationed on the right, he barely made an effort stop a cross going into the Spurs box, certainly didn’t stop any. You didn’t really need the contrast on the opposite side to see how uninterested and piss weak Eriksen was being but Son chasing back and defending the the Spurs left just highlighted it more what a waste of space the Dane currently is.
The Sky pundits talking about clubs wanting him. They might but no one is willing to pay for him. Who would want Rose either? A first half that saw him successfully complete one of the six passes he attempted. At the end of the half Spurs as a team were barely over a 50% success rate. Every pass was a fifty fifty.
The Liverpool midfield isn’t much really. All it takes is someone who can put there foot on the ball and hold players off. But he was sat on the bench. No we had Winks passing the ball sideways, sometimes even to a Spurs players. The “he’s one of our own” nonces didn’t even have a pass percentage to hold onto to justify him. They’ve still to explain how passing the ball three yards sideways to a player three yards in front of the defence is “linking defence and attack”.
Pochettino stood and watched this all going on and did nothing at half-time. Yet again the same XI came out to play exactly the same in the second half.
The sliding doors moment came shortly into the half. A long hump up the park from Gazzaniga and Son was off, around Lovren he rounded the keeper and smacked his shot off the crossbar. He needed to score, it was a tight angle but why hit it so high? Moments later the inevitable happened.
Henderson had moved wide right, put a cross in that was partially cleared to the other side, played back into the box from the middle of the park, Danny Rose was too busy trying to give away a penalty by pushing over a Liverpool player he completely lost Henderson who came in at the back post and shinned in the equalizer.
I mean it’s Henderson. Hobgob Jordan Henderson a player who hasn’t scored a home goal in four years. But Rose is defensively inept, clueless. You can’t trust fullbacks who just rely on their pace getting themselves out of trouble. He’d got so much better but then started his gobbing off about the club and everything else and has regressed to being even worse than before. He’s also thick. As a needless challenge later on that could quite easily have seen a red showed. Shame though. A straight red would have seen him suspended for three games, while the yellow he did get means he misses just one for his fifth of the season.
Pochettino stood and watched it unfold and waited… waited for the hour to pass.
63 minutes before a change was made and finally one of the ones everyone else could see needed done some time previous. Off came Winks on came Ndombele. In his post match press conference Poch didn’t like being questioned about Ndombele’s introduction and how he looked som much better than the rest, as he stuck up for teacher’s pet, Winks.
The question now was why was Eriksen still on the pitch. For 87 minutes Pochettino watched Eriksen do nothing and then decided that with three minutes of normal time he’d seen enough and brought Lo Celso on to obviously work a three minute miracle.
Of course by this time Spurs were behind and had been for nearly a quarter of an hour. 75 minutes in and something you probably expected to happen, happened. Aurier gave away a penalty. Plenty of discussion but he caught Mane across the back of the leg. He might not have meant it, he might have been unlucky, Mane might have gone down easy but he did it and you know the ref is gonna give that all day long.
Aurier wasn’t as bad as some made after this incident but he just seems so prone to doing this kind of thing. KWP is out of favour and did look a bit too much deer in the headlights this season, to often found facing and passing backwards, deferring to others than going himself, which is when he’s better. Foyth didn’t make the bench, while his international coach has lauded his new right-back.
Look at the fullbacks Liverpool have as first choice. Contrast, compare. If only. Imagine Harry Kane if he had that pair swinging crosses in.
Spurs left-back had a chance to level it up but in the end just again highlighted the deficiencies in the team. He charged forward, cut inside the box and with his right foot ballooned the ball high… higher… over the bar. Rose at first couldn’t defend but did reasonably going forward. Then he could defend and attack. Now he can’t do either.
Poch you blew this. Own it Yes Spurs could have won this with the team you put out but that would have just been luck. Look at the times Spurs have been good this season and see who is involved and who is missing. Don’t keep picking players that hinder the team. Don’t play players who want away. Don’t play players who show no interest and no fight, while those that’ll run through brick walls for the team sit on the bench for 84 minutes (Moura). Stop chopping and changing it’s doing no one any good not being able to form and understanding. When something works, don’t drop it.