I really am having a hard time determining what was funnier. First up is our lineup and how anyone thought we could score with that collection of midfielders and forwards is beyond me. Second is our silly ineptitude—starting with Davinson Sanchez’ feeble attempt to defend Jeffrey Schlupp and then Kyle Walker-Peters joke of a hand ball and then Kieran Trippier’s horrific penalty attempt. But the winner I think is commentator Jonathan Pearce, who within ten minutes of kickoff was opining not only about Man United and Real Madrid as destinations for our manager but how this game combined with the loss to Chelsea was evidence that the “wheels are coming off” and Spurs “season is crumbling”.
I haven’t had that good a laugh in quite a while. Truth is, while the performance was miserable, particularly in the opening 45 minutes, the outcome is just fine, thank you. Getting a tease of another round or two in a cup competition a) Poch doesn’t value and b) we were never going to win would have threatened the real tests of this season, both of which are hanging in the balance. Can we hold on to Top Four status, particularly given our injury plight and the onrushing train at Old Trafford, and can we take down Dortmund and continue the trend of advancing further in European competition each of the past three seasons? A FA Cup “run”, however brief, with Dele and Kane out and Son just returning to action after a draining couple of weeks in the Middle East, is simply an unwanted distraction.
In the second half a pretty decent game broke out, and Spurs certainly played hard and well at times but this particular group of players were never going to find the back of the net. Maybe with Eriksen and hopefully Son on Wednesday v Watford things will change. It became a scouting exercise, especially for the players who because of injury or their place in the pecking order have not featured a lot this year.
Oliver Skipp is awfully young, there were some good moments for him, but some bad passes and weak efforts in the Palace end so don’t count on him to become Harry Winks 2.0 all that soon. Georges-Kevin N’koudou doesn’t play for good reason—he’s not very good. His companion on the left flank had a pretty sad night—Walker Peters stupidly handled a ball (and is he big enough to deal with the average forward anywhere near the box?) and too often failed to make a quick and accurate cross at the other end, preferring to dilly-dally around with some ineffective dribbling.
Wanyama, Sanchez and Lucas can all explain their less-than-stellar performances as products of rust—Sanchez’ horrific defending created the opening goal so he may get the lowest marks. Lamela came on and was typical Lamela—he was active, turned the ball back toward their goal, and essentially spearheaded the best period of play for our squad all night. But as a finisher he is dismal—too dependent on his left foot—all sound and fury signifying nothing.
Llorente got little service in the first half, more in the second, and was also an “almost man” (not gonna say “nearly”—not tonight) – failing to produce that one shot or one pass that could produce a goal. Kieran Trippier will rue the day Poch picked him to take a penalty—so poor was his effort and predictable—Speroni would have saved all but a perfect shot to the left corner,
The most interesting player tonight was Juan Foyth—a rash challenge or two early on per usual, but he was dynamic going forward in a way no other central defender of ours has been recently; he should have won a goal with the penalty, and he made me want to see more.
Just forget about this one. Leave the Spurs-bashing alone and take care of business in at least two of the next three home games without Harry or Dele– still much to play for, including the competitions that truly matter.
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