filling the stadium.
It’s only a game into the season and there are excuses but the performance from the players and manager in the defeat at home to Everton doesn’t bode well for fans wanting to attend games.
I imagine Amazon have been knocking on Levy’s door wanting another series of “All Or Nothing” after watching season opener against Everton, expecting dressing room bust ups and Jose maybe making an early exit.
Jose keeps on breaking records at Spurs. Wasn’t there something in the last season about losing streak and not scoring. Well, now he’s added his first season opening loss and the first Spurs manager to lose to Everton since 2012.
A clueless performance all-round. Players and management. Yes there was things during the break that didn’t help, Covid infections apparently, and lack of pre-season but it looked like the beginning of last season when there wasn’t these excuses. Were they playing for Poch then?
Don’t know what Jose was thinking with his starting XI and then his subs. The two players signed during the break, Doherty and Hojbjerg, were two players that Spurs needed – they of course need far more than just the two but that’s another kettle of Levy. A stopper in the middle and a “fullback” that can provide more consistently and with fewer gaffs.
The problem is Doherty has spent the last couple of seasons shining in the Premier League at Wolves as a wing-back with a back three. Not as a right-back in a four. He’s used to being wide and up the park, which yes Spurs right-backs have generally done of late, but it leaves a hell of a lot of space to the right of your central defenders. Highlighted excellently when Davies’ long cross-field back-pass missed its target – did it have one? – for Richarlison to latch onto, round Hugo and blaze over the bar.
Hojbjerg is a stopper. He blocks, intercepts, he wins the ball back. He’s not there to put in the killer pass. So to team him alongside Mr Cowardly Sideways-Pass means there’s nothing coming from midfield, while pair in midfield are overrun a bit. Almost like watching England.
So yes the front four didn’t exactly set the world on fire but they weren’t helped.
Not helped again when Jose made his half-time sub. Nobody but nobody was looking to bring on Sissoko, not even Sissoko. Well, Jose was. Why? Why when you’re creating nothing from midfield do you bring on someone who doesn’t create anything from midfield?
It took Jose an hour to figure that winks was doing nothing, yet again, but passing the ball sideways. My god the commentator kept screaming “NOW WINKS!!” only to go quiet when the ball went sideways. What was he expecting?
It took another quarter of an hour before Jose introduced an actual playing midfielder, when Ndombele came on for Doherty. It’s not just strange substitutions it’s changes in formation. It just creates uncertainty and chaos. How many times do you see other sides that are in the top four or just off the top four changing their formation from game to game or during a game? Pick on system. Stick with it. If you’re using Doherty play him as a wing-back, with a back three, Hojbjerg as your one holding player behind two playmakers – Lo Celso and Ndombele – and Harry up front with Son or whoever.
So Richarlison had that chance which he really Sissokoed. Spurs had their chances in the first half. Harry almost scored a similar one to one he had chalked off for England against Iceland. Then from a breakaway Son should have fed the ball to the charging Harry but instead squared it to Dele, whose rising shot was parried over the bar by Pickford.
The best chance came from the new boy Doherty, doing what he did for Wolves. Charging forward, a one two with Harry – they don’t do enough of that – saw Kane scoop the ball over the defence but Doherty’s attempt was weak, straight at Pickford.
Jose wasn’t happy about the position Everton took the free-kick from that led to the only goal of the game. It’s funny Spurs had one almost exactly the same spot on the other side of the pitch which Son planted straight onto the head of the first defender… Eriksenesque.
Everton’s free-kick taker missed all the Spurs defenders, with the help of the Spurs defenders. Dier outfought, was taking all the blame, while Toby didn’t get off the ground and was let off because people don’t like Dier.
Ndombele played two of Spurs best passes all game when he came on but they never really looked like doing anything to get level. Someone said it would take a bit of magic, more likely it would have taken a moment of Pickford being Pickford but of course he chose this game to not do something stupid.
Lazy and clueless… it’s not a good combination. They let Everton play while didn’t look like they new what they were doing. Someone said to me that they don’t show any of the tactical stuff in the Amazon “All or Nothing” doc, just show the half-time rah-rah-rah speeches. When you look at this performance and the stuff that went on last season, you wonder if that’s because there isn’t any tactical talks going on. You couldn’t map out this mess on a blackboard.
More of this and when fans are eventually allowed back into stadiums, Spurs won’t have to worry about them keeping a distance, there’ll be plenty of empty spaces.