A routine, not uncomfortable, mid-week, mid-season three pointer; there should be a sense of satisfaction. Unfortunately, the principle emotion was one of frustration, which seems unreasonable but there it is.
It came to pass, with a degree of inevitability: Dele was dropped. It appeared, from the week-end showing, the more conventional work rate and threat of Lamela might make a difference. Sadly, not so much.
When you’re trying to open up a thoroughly defensive side you need incisive work. A fine pass comes forty percent from the vision and technique of the passer and 60 percent from the movement and availability of his team mates. Too often there just doesn’t seem enough on offer from this Spurs side currently.
A freak goal rescued a fairly turgid first half. At least Brighton would have to come out and offer something in the second. Spurs played for ten minutes like they still had Pochettino’s rocket up their collective arse – there was movement and urgency. But then the old routine reasserted itself and the crowd grew restless. In this half it was Sonny who came to the rescue. A mid week, mid season three pointer.
Lloris – 6
Did all that was required of him. They didn’t offer a lot but still had chances to equalise.
Aurier – 7
If anyone’s ever read ratings from me, they’ll know I’ve been unconvinced by Aurier, not to say down right scathing. Well, fair play to him; he was disciplined and tidy in defence and offered himself in attack, providing some penetrating crosses. His goal was a cross but … if you don’t buy a ticket … First, he beat his man (unheard of round here) and then drove on to make his cross, under duress. Something about him in this moment was the difference between the two teams in the first half.
Rose – 5
It was Rose who led the brief revival from his flank at the beginning of the second half. It was Rose who had the space so often and was rarely sought out. But, he still doesn’t look half the player he was a year ago.
Dier – 6
A calm and efficient presence. His penchant for the raking, cross field ball he can’t actually play is a minus point.
Vertonghen – 7
Did his job, as ever
Winks – 6
It wasn’t Winksie’s fault exactly that he ultimately disappointed and was hooked. Eriksen should have taken responsibility for running the show. When he didn’t and the weight of responsibility fell on the youngster’s shoulders, he was found wanting.
Sissoko – 6
Showed for the ball but he’s a bit of an ornament still. I’m still asking rotten questions like … What’s he for? What’s his role? What’s he do? What’s he good at?
Lamela – 6
He’s coming back from injury, let’s cut him some slack.
Eriksen – 6
Another assist – though one that required a contortionist to turn into an opportunity. As per the earlier comment, with no Dele, and Son and Lamela coming from wide positions, he should have taken responsibility – he should have run the show. He didn’t and it’s that that puts him one notch down from the very best midfielders in Europe.
Son – 7
Was bright and scored. When he has the ball, you sense the other team getting anxious. Not all the Spurs players have that effect.
Kane – 6
On the plus side, great free kick that struck a post. On the down side never actually challenges for a header in open play.
Dele came on and, as can happen when the game opens up at the end, looked as threatening as anyone.
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