Five things we learned from the Tottenham defeat

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

After blissful highs at Old Trafford on Monday, Spurs have experienced their first major low of the season in a 2-1 defeat away to Watford.

The loss sees Spurs fall three points behind the 100% record leaders, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Watford themselves.

We take a look at five things we learned from the defeat.

Defending set pieces is a problem

The clear reason for Tottenham’s loss this evening was a complete inability to handle Watford’s physical presence in set piece situations. The were out-muscled, out-gunned and out-scored. Both of Watford’s goal scorers were left relatively unmarked, and were able to nudge easy and simple headers into the back of the net.

If Spurs had been able to get their defensive shape right from dead ball situations today, they would surely have walked away with three points.

Check out our In Focus article for more detail on the frailty.

We miss the likes of Lamela and Son on the bench

2-1 down, away from home, 15 minutes to go…

Tottenham had little to no options on the bench to turn things around today. Yes Llorente offered as some extra height in the box, but he never looked like providing that finishing touch. What Tottenham needed was a Son getting to the by line and causing problems, or a Lamela driving at the back line, threading through a killer pass.

Spurs simply didn’t have the attacking threats on their bench to change a game.

Dembele isn’t up to running the centre of the park on his own anymore

From pretty much the first minute, Dembele looked completely overrun in the middle of the park, as Eriksen drifted further forward as the game progressed. The Belgian’s passing was sloppy, he didn’t look comfortable or fluid on the ball, and he certainly wasn’t at his gliding best.

It would appear that Mousa doesn’t quite have the legs to martial the centre of the pitch alone anymore, and thrives far more when sat in with a partner such as Winks or Dier.

The lone CM role is an extremely gruelling one to play, and it may be wise to give the man some backup next time out.

Winks needs to be starting games as soon as possible

When Winks was subbed on, albeit only for the briefest of cameos, he looked like he could provide exactly what Tottenham had been lacking all game. A bit of pace, a bit of urgency, a desire to shift the ball forward as quickly as possible.

Too often Spurs were left switching play via the feet of three or four players, each taking three of four touches. It slowed the game down immediately, and never gave the Lilywhites much chance to get up to their free flowing best.

Perhaps Winks could be an ideal player to slot in next to a Dier or a Dembele to provide this positivity, and to ensure that Eriksen isn’t wasted in a deep lying role.

Spurs need to learn to start games far quicker

Tottenham never seem to get off to a blistering start, and instead usually find themselves going into half time at 0-0 with a job to do in the second 45.

In fact, it was still been 0-0 in the opening 40 minutes of Tottenham’s last three league games.

Spurs are at their best when they’re putting defences under pressure, with Trippier and Davies pushing up down the wings, Eriksen spraying one-touch passes, and the likes of Kane, Alli and Moura interlinking and popping shots away at every opportunity.

This current crop seem to be fans of playing their way into a game, which may not always be the best way to play, especially against a side who are likely to sit in behind the ball all game.

Look at City and Liverpool, at times they start their matches so fast that the game is done and dusted within the first 20 minutes.

Spurs need to find their own way of upping the pace a tad without leaving themselves open at the back.

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