Europa League, Here We Come

7

To say that this was the nadir of the Poch era would be misleading for two reasons: 1) because it could clearly get worse and b) because it’s giving Spurs a bit too much credit.

The first half was a first-class train wreck. Give two class players full credit for how they scored—but the simple fact is Davinson Sanchez gave Jamie Vardy far too much space on the opener, and the second by Mahrez was a collective defensive breakdown that should shame the entire squad. Meanwhile first Sissoko then Dele were thwarted on much better chances the ones Leicester converted—again credit Schmeichel but Sissoko should/could have found another six inches of air and Dele was a bit unfortunate he was on his weaker foot and couldn’t place the ball better.

Christian Eriksen appears to have left his game somewhere in Copenhagen or Dublin—the disturbing pattern of poor touches, poor decisions and poor passes continued tonight. Nowhere did the Dane’s shortcomings rear their head more than in the buildup to the Mahrez goal—a buildup that appeared to be giving Spurs the chance to equalize. First Eriksen got the ball in space and in the box and rather than challenge Schmeichel he elected to try a touch pass to Kane that was a yard off direction. Then a matter of ten or fifteen second later he got the ball again, with the clock counting down, and rather than bulling his way toward goal he sent an ineffectual chip toward Rose on the left—Leicester easily intercepted and off went Mahrez with Spurs akimbo just watching the three points disappear. In the second half twice in 30 seconds he had the ball in the box, easily surrendering it the first time, then kicking well wide alone in front of goal on the second. Take a three week holiday, man. Or something. And of course within a minute of his removal Erik Lamela found Kane to give Spurs hope.

On the same pitch where Spurs could do no wrong just six months ago, they were outclassed tonight. Serge Aurier appeared to be afraid of pressing down the right flank, perhaps for fear of being caught up. When the storm finally came the passes didn’t quite connect, and when they did, Fernando Llorente missed an absolute gimme on a tap-in for the equalizer. They fought hard but from two goals down and to no result.

So now the damage (pretty much all after Alderweireld’s injury—the repeat of last season’s slump with him gone but this absence will last for at least eight more league games) reads like this: since the rout at Wembley over Liverpool, Spurs have, in domestic competitions:

  • Blown a 2-0 halftime lead and lost a Cup game to West Ham;
  • Been held scoreless and pointless at both Old Trafford and the Emirates;
  • Barely edged bottom dwellers Crystal Palace at home and drew there v lowly West Brom;
  • And now this…

The victories over Madrid and Dortmund will only matter in three more months when the Champions League resumes—in the meantime Spurs appear to be fully capable of falling out of serious Top Four competition or, at the best, being consigned to a three team death match with Arsenal and Liverpool for the final place. The implications of losing that competition, particularly if it is not accompanied by silverware from either the FA Cup or the dream of a Champions League miracle, are harsh, new stadium or not. Brave new world, indeed. Meet the new boss, Poch. You had better start caring about a domestic cup trophy—it may be all you have to play for come spring.

 

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Paul is a respected U.S. political pollster (Democrat) based in Madison, Wisconsin and Los Angeles. His love for Spurs began when the Premier League games started appearing regularly in the U.S. and an American lover of football had to choose a side. Bale, Rushdie, Adele, Shakespeare, the Spurs faithful, The Lane, etc. were all irresistible attractions and have made Maslin a Spur for life.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Spurs have increasingly resembled the pre-Pochettino Spurs: confused defensively, spineless and toothless. Not just the team, even the manager seems to have been caught in the hype of a white North London.

    There is a lot of work to rediscover what Spurs had last season. Once again players who are too complacent may need to be removed. The situation needs to be addressed urgently.

    • You are wrong. . Spurs are NOT complacent. There are putting the effort in. It's just that a lot of the players are NOT showing any composure. They are just NOT good enough. Without Kane's goals Spurs would be near the bottom of the league.

  2. I don’t like to single players out, but for me Eriksen and Alli need to be dropped. They’ve both been really poor lately but always seem to get picked. Give them a chance to warm the bench for a bit. Rose looked like his head was in another place, or club. We’ve lost that killer instinct. It’s nice having lots of possession, but most of that is in midfield without hurting other teams. On a plus side, it was great to see Lamela back. For the short time he was on the pitch, looked like he wants to make up for lost time.

  3. We have to stop playing Sissoko, he hasn't got a clue, absolute waste of money, he can't even pass the ball. As for Aurier, we have to play Trippier on the right, we had no service what so ever from him, he created nothing. Dier has to be kept away from defence, if Pochettino insists on playing three at the back, I'd play Davies along side Vertonghen and Sanchez. The one thing we could probably take as a positive is that when Lamela came on I thought we looked a lot better, Lamela being there would give the likes of Eriksen and Alli more space. One last observation was the speed we played at, we are playing the game way too slow, when Leicester got the ball their passing was one touch and quick, exactly the way we should be playing. Not too confident of going to Watford at the weekend, the team needs to take a long hard look at themselves and start putting in a shift. Levy needs to get Alderweirelds contract sorted we miss him badly. COYS !!

  4. Far to many Spurs players think that all they have to do is walk on the pitch and we are going to win, because of our success in the last 2 years in the league other clubs are raising there game even more. Tonight for instance did our players not think that the Leicester players would want revenge for the drubbing we gave them last time – tonight was the answer and it was their first win in the last 6 games. Every team that comes to Wembley will be up for it and so should we. Sis solo far to clumsy and greedy, Dele Ali drop him for a couple of games. to try and improve his game (not the same player as last year).

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