Is this the end of the beginning, or the beginning of the end for Spurs?
The manager, the fans, supporters and the players alike were on a high entering the Liverpool match. We had won four straight matches (including the Europa league games). Liverpool came into the match suffering their first defeat at the hands of Manchester City, so they should have been more anxious than Spurs. They should have been, however, they hadn’t read the script. After allowing the first goal in I thought we played reasonably well (that is in the first half). We contained them and my hopes were high. Then the second half came and things changed drastically. After 3 minutes Gerrard scored from the penalty spot. It does not really matter whether it was a soft penalty (as Pochettino had claimed) or not, it was awarded to them. Eleven minutes after that another goal slipped in (the scorer this time was Moreno). By then it was virtually all over.
We did have a few chances. Adebayor had lobbed over the Liverpool goal. Lamela also had a shot, but was blocked by Mamadou Sakho. Spurs best opportunity came when Liverpool allowed a high ball to slice them open. Unmarked Chadli pounced to force a team mate of his (Belgium) to react quickly. But it all changed and went downhill when Erick Dier pulled the shirt of Joe Allen and the referee quickly pointed to the spot.
Mauricio Pochettino said afterwards: “We need to learn and improve – today was a very tough game for us. I think the first 45 minutes we competed very well and had some good chances. But the key moment came in the second half – it was a very soft penalty. When you are 2-0 down against Liverpool it is very difficult.”
What is interesting is that we had 60% of the possession. However, what is telling is that we had one shot on target, to their eight. It is those sorts of shots that decide the outcome. Adebayor was stranded up front with nobody able to get to the ball to him. This is the same problem we had last year. I also believe, and have believed for ages, that we need another striker desperately. Adebayor will be playing in the African cup when January comes around (providing he is selected), which will take him away from Spurs for a couple of weeks. This leaves Soldado and Kane. Kane is inexperienced and Soldado is having the same problem as Adebayor had/ has up front. And then what happens when we have injuries? Anyway, the transfer deadline is now over and we never bought a striker. Our signings were concentrated in the defensive department. This leaves me with grave concerns. For the last couple of years we have had poor service up front. We have also struggled against top four teams. In fact all the top four teams beat us last year (with the best we could do was a draw at White Hart Lane against Chelsea). Now we have started a fresh season. As we stand presently and if we are lucky, we will struggle to get into the top four. However, and saying that anything can happen in a season and if we do have problems with players or need more cover we will have the next transfer window to make amends. Nevertheless, I am jumping the gun a bit based on one bad result, which is unfair. We have strengthened our defence and that could make the world of difference. Liverpool and Manchester City both have been beaten and Arsenal has only managed one win out of three. So let us hope that what we saw was just a blip and Pochettino can turn his magic on Spurs. Remember Pochettino had a poorer squad (compared to Spurs) at Southampton and he did a good job on them. One down is not the end of the road, just an obstacle that hopefully can be overcome.
Our next match will be against Sunderland at the Stadium of light. We won there last year (granted O’Shea scored in his own goal to get us that victory, but everyone helps, wherever it comes from). Sunderland have not won a match this season (drawing 2 and losing one) so let us hope that their losing streak continues. Pochettino has two weeks to get that defeat out of the players system and ready for our travels up north. COYS
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