Start with the manager—by electing to rest both Danny Rose and Kyle Walker he allowed Fiorentina to pack in the middle so tight with no fear of being overrun down the wing and effectively killing Spurs’ attack for much of the game.
Now to the back four, and it was uglier than ugly. Vlad Chiriches made a few strong tackles but again demonstrated a penchant for a poor pass and a needless giveaway—though he was blameless for the killer goals. Ben Davies can’t run fast—not his fault—but, like Chiriches, had several chances to deliver an effective cross to someone in the box who might create some type of scoring chance, and failed repeatedly.
The less said about Federico Fazio, the better. A horrendous giveaway leading directly to Gomez’ opener—and then an even worse slip allowing Salah to pounce whereupon Jan Vertonghen simply failed to get the ball out of danger, an inexplicable lapse excepting the fact that the Dutchman hasn’t had a day off since the FA Cup ouster to Leicester—and tonight Spurs paid the price.
Neither Stambouli nor Bentaleb offered much in the middle though they bear no direct responsibility for the goals. Chadli was mainly quiet on the left—Eriksen subdued in the middle facing 7 or 8 blue-clad defenders all night—and Lamela predictably frustrating on the right though he was hardly our weak link up front.
And then there was Soldado. The game was right there on a wonderful and seemingly simple 2 v 0 break by him and Chadli—of all the options he could consider in the second or so (or was it a minute?) he had to gather the ball and his thoughts—he chose the worst, of course. A slow motion straightforward move at the keeper followed by a laughably predictable attempt to square the ball to Chadli—the keeper saw it coming all night and there went our one and only chance until Harry Kane once again forgot the offside rule. Nothing more need be said—the sooner the Spaniard departs London the better.
As for Sunday, we can only hope against hope– but in the bitter dawn of tomorrow morning all Spurs fans fear the worst— no Europe, no League Cup trophy, no Top Four but instead yet another year in Europa purgatory watching painful nights like this one.. I almost wish the Hammers had won Sunday and we could see clear to 8th place and a break from the Thursday madness.
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