Where can I even start? I think that defeat has kind of knocked the Tottenham fanbase for six. Not only was it an awful performance, but it was also completely devoid of any desire or passion or will to run for the fans – in the biggest derby of the season.
I’ve always held my hands up and said you can’t win every game and you can’t play well every week. But when I see a distinct lack of effort, that annoys me. Players walking back after losing the ball while 3-0 down to our biggest rivals. I hate that.
Again, I have always said that every manager needs a fair period of time in the job. You can’t judge them before they have had a chance to make their mark and train the players up to their tactics etc. But the one thing I demand is to be able to see and understand the vision.
The first three games of the season, I could see it. We weren’t creating much in the way of attacking chances, but at least we were solid at the back… maybe he planned to build from there. But ever since then, I just haven’t quite understood the long-term plan.
I assumed it was going to be a matter of building up fitness so we could press more and more and more, like the early Poch years. We saw it against Chelsea for 25 mins before we ran out of energy. But where did that go today?
We started with a ball-playing midfield three of Dele, Tanguy and Hojbjerg. So surely we were going to come out and look to dominate possession, playing through the middle of the pitch… Imagine my surprise to see long ball after long ball pumped up vaguely towards Kane.
Perhaps it was the plan to isolate a weakness in the Arsenal defence, but not only were the long balls hopeless, we did not fight for the second balls or knockdowns anyway. So what was the point? We were just recycling possession for Arsenal. There you go, have it back.
Okay, so we had none of the ball and weren’t creating. At least we could remain solid at the back, surely. Nope. Not that either. The full-backs kept getting caught up field, dragging the defence around and leaving the cut-back on time and time again for Arsenal.
Within 27 minutes, we were 2-0 down to rather similar goals. The third goal came from Kane giving the ball away. At the top of the pitch. How does your striker giving the ball away immediately lead to a direct chance? Where were the defenders? The midfielders?
It didn’t feel as though the Tottenham players were willing to run through brick walls for us today. It hasn’t felt like that for a while really. I think that is the biggest cause of this recent disconnect we have seen between the club, the players and the fans.
In the peak Poch years, we understood the vision, we loved the manager, the squad felt like a family, and the players were like an extension of the fans, win or lose. These days, there is a huge void between us. They disappoint on the pitch and we watch on as customers, not fans.
While I remember, I want to hand out a few kudos. It’s not fair for some of those players to be held accountable for the errors of others. I thought Lloris did well – couldn’t do much more. Lucas tried to make things happen. Gil and Skipp were great off the bench.
Beyond that, I was disappointed by just about everyone, which isn’t something you should say after a North London Derby. I either wanted to celebrate a result or be able to say ‘well, at least they gave it everything’. I don’t feel as though many of them did, to be honest.
So, amidst all this complaining, what do I think we could have done differently? Let’s say the starting XI was fine. We needed Son, Kane and Lucas to press. We needed pressure from Dele and Tanguy on the wings, with Hojbjerg looking after the passing channels.
In possession, we needed to play through the middle, allowing Ndombele to receive it on the turn and in the pockets. Lucas the same. They are our driving force. We bypassed them again and again with the silly long balls. We needed crosses in the box for Kane and passes into Son.
Most importantly, even when pushed back and under pressure, we needed to maintain that strong line of back four. We needed to leave everything out there and actually fight for a result. The players out there were quality enough to make a difference.
The pressure is mounting on Nuno and I know many are looking for his head. For me, I don’t necessarily demand immediate wins or glory days. But I want to see or hear a clear game plan. Where is he taking us? And how? Show me! Make me feel involved. Otherwise, I fear the worst.
Let’s move past this derby defeat and see what kind of response we get. All I know is that I’m finding it harder and harder to stay positive about our current trajectory. The fans want to support the team, but Spurs have to give us a reason to get behind them again. COYS.
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