I guess title pretender is as good a definition as any. Or at least until “Harry we’ve REALLY missed ye” returns. What was not surprising was Bournemouth’s energy and our early sluggishness. That’s what playing in multiple competitions will do. But by the 30 minute mark Spurs were in control of the situation, and then for the better part of an hour we witnessed one failed attempt to mount a decent attack after another. The sad truth is that a wild Lamela attempt that froze Boruc in the first half ended up being the best chance—the two dozen or more other seemingly better possibilities produced, from my count, one wrong-footed Danny Rose shot on goal, one Dele Alli 20 yard blast, and little else.
The major culprit, I’m afraid, was Mauricio Pochettino. He learned the hard way that against physical defending—pretty common in these parts—Son Heung-Min has virtually no chance to affect a game. He was bullied off the ball time and time again—the type that Vincent Janssen would control and feed to another attacker and actually create something. But close behind was the troika of Eriksen (such a far cry from Modric), Alli (there are always moments. But at some point he has to make the right move at the right time and actually score or set someone else up. Walker was clearly barking at him in the second half after Dele lollygagged and couldn’t reach a cross with some promise. The fact that soon thereafter he took a strong shot from outside the box just underscores the frustration. He should do better) and, of course Erik Lamela. I would like to call for a return to the inverted wing because I am so tired of him trotting perpendicular to goal on his off foot side and generally just passing back to a center back and achieving nothing. And while he made a few incisive long passes, in traffic he as bad as a London lorry—no ability to move in and out and make something happen.
Hugo made the save of the match in the opening minutes or we would be bemoaning a loss that would almost certainly remove Spurs from the top four. As it is we had better play much better against Leicester next weekend for at some point the holders are going to stop punting away the league competition and show their quality and win some games. And the stretch that follows—the Leverkusen return and then a month of away games against the cream—Arsenal, Chelsea and Man Utd—will send us hurtling toward the Europa League—perhaps this year and next– if things don’t get better.
Dier made mistakes, but that’s alright—rest Toby for Liverpool and bring him back in a week. Kyle played quite well if he doesn’t quite have Kieran Trippier’s aptitude for crossing. Wanyama was typically solid. Janssen couldn’t quite get into this game—I only wish he had played from the start. And Sissoko will probably be suspended for that wayward elbow though I’ll simply say that on this side of the pond Arter is the one who would get public ridicule for his whining and playacting.
We didn’t lose. Can one say anything more about this game? Not really. Play the kids at Anfield and hopefully things get back on track next weekend. One goal in the past 300+ minutes. That’s not good enough.
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