With apologies to Linda Ronstadt and Neil Young. It could have been “The Son Don’t Shine on Spurs and the Cups” or “Tottenham Stuck in Llorente-District” or “Team Has Forty Winks, Barely Wake Up for Draw” or “Poch’s Team Far From Pitch Perfect”.
Rochdale make a bunch of money, and we don’t need this game a week before Juve. But at least this second XI have a game under their belts, because surely Poch will play the exact same group at Wembley two or three days after the Palace league match.
As for the positives, until the equaliser Danny Rose was MOTM for me—and I want to look at replays to see if he was caught out of position or Toby’s poor header just fell in the wrong place. But he revived the entire team in the second half, and the penalty was nearly all his doing. Lucas was our best player in our first 20 minutes, and he deserved the goal from a neat combination including a nice though-ball from Sissoko. Other than those two it was ordinary at best.
The obvious weaknesses were in the spine. Vorm had little chance at either goal, but he doesn’t look particularly quick back there. We’ve now learned that Poch was correct in his assessment of Toby’s fitness—aside from the slippery conditions, he seems tentative and far from his peak. It was a mediocre performance from beginning to end. Foyth was marginally better, and Rochdale correctly determined that without Dembele and Vertonghen Spurs play it out tactic would make them vulnerable to a press. Wanyama ain’t Dembele and had two or three poor giveaways in the first half. As for Harry Winks, where have you gone, man? He was directly at fault on the opener, and his one decent run in the second half ended with a poor decision to try a left footed shot from twenty yards when he had at least three teammates in position for a deft pass. Llorente could be something. The flicks and the openings his hold up play creates are present—but this team seems unable to properly exploit it. He increasingly appears like a decision gone wrong—almost makes me want Janssen back and maybe next year we’ll see that. And Son simply had a rare bad game, but he’s been off for a few weeks now—maybe the Olympics are distracting him from 5,500 miles away. Sissoko was probably, other than Moura, the best forward of the starters.
So this uninspired cup campaign marches on. One would expect a 2-0 or 3-1 win in ten days, and then something better will be required at either Swansea or Hillsborough or there will be no more Wembley dates in this competition. Rochdale played well enough the deserve this outcome; Spurs played poorly enough to deserve it, too.
Have something to tell us about this article?