A Dithering Mess, We Are

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Mauricio Pochettino

“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.

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  • Ped

    I thought Winks was probably one of our better players tonight.. n’koudou is exactly what it says on the tin.. very fast but no technical ability… eriksen looks like he’s reverting back to early season form… utter tripe.. sissoko should never go near a Spurs shirt again.. ever.!!
    I still can’t believe we sold Tom Carroll & kept some of the boys we have..!!?? At least he had technical skill & create play… as seen in the valleys over the past few weeks… good move Poch..!!😳

    • paul black

      We don’t create anything no pace and Kane looks terrible a box player and nothing else,
      and Dier is not a centre half makes too many mistakes,we play at a slow tempo and
      nothing happens quick.We have been sussed for we are didn’t have a good player tonight not as bad as Liverpool but it happens too often if the f/backs don’t perform
      we are in trouble

  • Jacko

    Another disgraceful performance – but completely unexpected? Don’t think so – take your pick (think Liverpool, Wycombe Wanderers, Sunderland, Boro etc etc). Is there any team that doesn’t fancy their chances against us by now? Take a bow Poch – you gave new meaning to “we don’t need any new players, we have a very strong squad” – idiot.

  • shamrock coy

    lets face it , our £300 mill + squad falls very much short of the marbles when it comes to the crunch end of last season showed that, only humiliation that’s not acceptable is defeat to wollage, I have long held that when we are behind…danny rose is the heart beat of that team and the marbles to drive directly in to the oppositions box , no mamby pamby passes all around it ,usually getting broke up by tackles

  • c b waters

    Yep. It looks like we ARE in trouble. Within a few weeks at this rate we could be out of the FA Cup, the Europa and heading south out of the top four. Is it really being without the Rose and Verts (and even Lamela) pieces that have ruined our entire jigsaw, and therefore season?! One pass in the first half summed it up for me. A good pass from Walker for Sissoko to run onto. The latter failed miserably to outpace his defender (not even a hint of a sprint early in the game) and you can bet wherever there’s a 50-50 ball (or even 55-45 ball) Sissoko won’t win it! But it’s not just him. There’s a general malaise ..and Poch’s tactics have to bear some of the brunt (eg Alli out wide on the left???). Without Eriksen we have no creativity ..and yet with him we’re suffering too (particularly his awful free kicks and open-play attempts on goal). I’m getting fed up with Son running around like a headless chicken, and to be honest I’m fed up too with Dembele beating only himself in the middle (he’s getting caught on the ball far too often, and holds play up in such a way it denies us getting forward, rather than allowing us to). It’s Dembele’s strength and possession control that keeps him in the team as he certainly isn’t a midfield creator with vision, rarely spotting the best pass. However, at his best, he allows those in front of him to play and fights off brilliantly opposing players. He, tho, like Eriksen, is not at his best and looks more like a wounded buffalo in the middle of the park holding his ground in trying to fight off an attack from lions. Additionally, with Wanyama looking more like Palacios and Sandro, this team is falling apart. After Liverpool I mentioned, in other blogs, the lack of a leader on the pitch, and also the lack of a serious ‘game-changer’ if the system or tactics aren’t working well. We don’t have those types of players anymore …while Chelsea, City, Liverpool, Man U and even Arsenal, do. Our players only look first class when the system or tactics work well ..when our fitness exposes other teams ..when our ability to sustain ‘press’ is better than theirs ..and when the balance of the team is ‘right’. Poch’s partly to blame for removing some of that balance, with his cockeyed tactical changes and playing our best players out of position. But true, he hasn’t got a lot of cover. I thought he had but they have come up short recently, apart from Winks, Trippier and one or two others. I would not play Sissoko ever again ..and I would pray that we have no injuries or suspensions for the rest of the season. There is little we can do now except pray and hope that our ‘team’ comes back to life and finishes the final third of the season with a flourish.

  • Angliaspur

    Congratulations Gent. They must have attended the Liverpool game and sussed us out!

  • Bhaskar Chaturvedi

    I agree with the summary but diagree with what the team is capable of. The key was the lack of desire that they showed in all the matches. Their was an air of complacency in the way we started and we only for about 10 minutes did we actually pass the ball with any real purpose in the whole match and those 10 minutes we dominated the game. (Albeit defence let us down and they scored.) I think the team needs to learn to bring the same passion that they had against chelsea and Man city and they are definitely one of the best. Unfortunately they seem incapable of showing that for more than a few games in a row…