“Foket” was the perfect name to be opposing Spurs tonight. Because that seemed to be the attitude of our arrogant, overrated Premier League team. And it might just become the attitude of the fan base in a few weeks if this type of performance continues.
Let’s tally the damage. No goals in open play for four consecutive games. Six wins in 21 games away from WHL. A defeat at the hands of a rather mediocre team from the Belgian League. So Spurs basically have been run aground in Europe this year not by Barcelona, Bayern or Juventus—but instead by Monaco, Leverkusen and Gent. And to be brutally honest, if this doesn’t improve soon, Paul Scholes and every pother doubter will be correct and Spurs are headed back to the Europa League—a League we are nowhere near good enough to compete for a trophy. And don’t even get me started about what is likely to happen with our B Team at Craven Cottage Sunday.
As to the goal—which I did not believe Gent could produce but silly me—it was a nice effort (their first of the second half) aided by (let’s count ‘em up) Dier being nutmegged, Winks being out of position, and Davies being slow to react. And they should have had a second but for Lloris when Spurs were profligate in possession again and defended equally badly.
But of course defending was not the story tonight. It was the impostors who claim to be a top flight English side at the other end. We saw a team hopelessly futile in possession with no imagination, not much effort, barely enough desire, and zero technical ability. It was as depressing a Spurs performance as I’ve seen in years—not a humiliating away defeat to City or Liverpool or what Arsenal suffered yesterday in Germany—just a mind-numbingly poor effort.
And the sad thing is that Poch actually tried. Only SIssoko and Winks changed the lineup from the Anfield defeat. Let’s start with the tactics—Gent swarmed us, knowing that our players would be either too weak to escape, too slow to pounce on the space that would open as a result, or too bereft of ideas to swing the ball to the right player to advance on goal. Guilty on all counts. Makes me wonder just how valuable Danny Rose really is or that this has become a side that can only play with three in back (which I think they will do vs Fulham)
As to the individuals, I’m sorry, Harry Winks is small and slow—and those two things are never going to change. He was overmatched. (Nacer and Gylfi, where are you?) Dembele was the Anfield Wanyama tonight—he huffed and puffed but too often produced nothing in possession, and was unable when double or triple teamed to spot a teammate to help. Wanyama was meh. Sissoko the same. Eriksen came on and must have spotted some bird sitting ten rows up because that’s who got his shots. Nkoudou was almost laughably bad in his cameo—Son not much better. Dele looked lost, unable to produce anything despite being gifted several balls in good position. And Kane? Well he isn’t injured is he? He was simply unable to do what Costa and Zlatan and Aguero routinely do—burst past defenders, strong arm his way through them, bully them, control the pitch. He was, frankly, a shadow of the player we’ve celebrated the past two years.
Crossroads time– in a week we might have nothing to play for except Top Four. Ordinarily I’d say that might be a good thing, but to be honest, I’m not sure this team is good enough to succeed at that. They need some success—somewhere—to build on. Wins at Craven Cottage and Wembley would seem to be musts— I’m just not that certain they’ll make good on the promise. Something is very wrong here.