A for Effort; F for Dele

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Be honest, now—it’s not so bad. No Thursday distraction. No more injury risk in a competition we were never going to win. And they sure entertained us, didn’t they?

A simple game to analyze. Spurs were rampant from the beginning—an early goal was coming and sure enough Eriksen converted a nice long ball from Alderweireld and it looked bright. But Eric Dier is an abomination in the back—and he got spun around, put Toby in trouble and then the referees bottled the call. Harry’s head was in the wrong place at the wrong time and thus the task grew much more difficult.

Dele saw the red mist, the referee appropriately saw red also, and the entire nature of the game changed. He knows the price his team paid for his rashness better than anyone—now the question is whether Poch punishes him Sunday by placing him on the bench or not.

The second half for 35 minutes was some of the most glorious Spurs football I’ve seen in years. yes, it was Gent—but could anyone have ever divined without knowing that Spurs were the side a man down? Everyone played extremely hard—Wanyama was a deserved goal scorer—Walker threatened throughout and I just wish Kyle could finish more or better. Eriksen, Kane and then Son had chance after chance—too many to list. Even Vertonghen almost got into the scoring column yet his finishing was that of a central defender.

And then Eric Dier showed his overrated face yet again. By my count he made three errors on the clinching goal—getting beat through the middle as he has done several times in the past month and a half—then as he tried to recover it was his arm or midsection the ball struck without being cleared and then, unlucky I guess, the goal itself deflected off of him and past a helpless Lloris. And that was that.

Now Stoke. Pochettino has a gutted side. And exhausted. Hopefully he has a 70 million pound Real Madrid target eager to make amends and appropriately humble about his role in this mess. I would play him and Janssen with Sissoko—rest Kane and Eriksen—play Dembele but not Wanyama—move Dier to holding midfield and tell him he had better make up for his monstrosities. Play Trippier over Walker because Kyle probably ran 20 miles today.. Play Davies because he was subbed out early. And tell the team when they look at Eriksen and Kane—“these lads gave everything Thursday night. Let’s see you do the same so I can give them a day off—they deserve it”

And this is one of those times when I truly believe we’ll be the better for this.

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Paul is a respected U.S. political pollster (Democrat) based in Madison, Wisconsin and Los Angeles. His love for Spurs began when the Premier League games started appearing regularly in the U.S. and an American lover of football had to choose a side. Bale, Rushdie, Adele, Shakespeare, the Spurs faithful, The Lane, etc. were all irresistible attractions and have made Maslin a Spur for life.

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