I won’t waste many words on the better side. They pressed hard and effectively. They were much better with the ball. In the end, the goals were bound to come That’s why they’re unbeaten and cruising to the title.
The disappointment tonight was not the shape, the selection of the effort. Spurs fought hard the entire game. They simply played like crap—and more specifically, everybody in midfield and beyond were awful. The defence was as effective as one could hope while it was still a game—but for Kieran Trippier lacking the pace to stay with Leroy Sane and the impact of the press. Lloris had a particularly unimpressive time trying to clear the ball. But neither of the first two goals—the decisive ones– was their fault, except for poor clearances that contributed to the buildup for the first. The final goals were simply a product of a spent side though once again Sane bested Tripper and Dier made a needless and comic error to gift the last.
The real culprits were up front. If you are going to play against City, you have to be able to counter. That is the opportunity their style will give you. Time and time again one of our forwards—Eriksen, who had a particularly poor game, Kane, who surrendered the ball several times and was thwarted by City’s defence, Son or Dele, who also failed to link up well with their teammates, Winks, who was simply outclassed over and over again—wasted opportunities. Poor shots, poor passes, failure to control the ball, etc, etc. We were a mid-table side playing an elite team, and the result could not have gone any other way. Kane finally had a couple of chances, with Ederson saving the best, but it was too little and too late. And finally Eriksen made the type of effort missing all game when it didn’t matter.
So now we’re in a fight to save next season and perhaps to aim for the silverware that’s left. But City probably await any substantial progress we would make in Europe or the FA Cup, and off of today’s performance, the result is probably a foregone conclusion. For the first time Poch has expressed concern that players will leave “the project” without rewards—whether that’s simply a statement of fact of a plea for Daniel Levy to bolster the squad next month is unknowable. We’ll find out soon enough what this team thinks they have to play for. The Nashville preseason game turned out to be pretty darn accurate as to the gulf between these two teams—the two best over the past two plus seasons. Pep has reached a level the other competitors can only dream of. Can Poch take the lesser ambition and still make this season a success?
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