The empty seats had it right. This was an unceasing snoozer which would have been better missed altogether. The only saving grace is it at least it ends the fiction in the Premier League Table that still saw Spurs in Top Four contention. Our eyes have not lied to us for months in saying we are nowhere near in quality to the four sides that now seem to have a stranglehold on Champions League qualification. Whether Spurs finish 5th, 6th or 7th—and any seem possible—the gulf between them and their ambition is as wide as it has been in the last several years.
Illness and injury forced a bizarre back four culminating with youngsters Dier and Davies playing center half. Thank goodness it were Burnley—the mistakes came early and were not seized upon, particularly by Ings. Against a proper side the clean sheet would have been soiled early and often. The entry of Paulinho—presumably as a bandage in the middle with Vertonghen missing—produced effort but no quality. His wasted kick—whatever Brazilian maneuver it was intended to be—on the one threatening run he generated summed up the day. He never looks more comfortable as when he is able to pass the ball back and away from his responsibility.
The real problem was up front, of course. Walker bottled chances in the first half, Rose was consistently ignored marauding down the left wing. In the middle there was little quality and not much more effort. Eriksen in particular had an awful day, making nothing out of several runs, failing to link up with Kane, who was shadowed tightly by the Clarets. Chadli offered little of quality; Lamela made one nice pass to Eriksen in the second half, Townsend was invisible. Mason and Bentaleb may have shored up the middle, but questions remain about each’s long term ability to help fuel an offense that still lacks the type of consistent dynamism shown at the Emirates or Old Trafford.
As for Kane—he was not a factor—finally. After all the hubbub surrounding his first two appearances for England, can anyone really blame him? It has been a long season for Four-O (One Of Our Own)—now is the time to worry over just what the under 21 campaign this summer may cost in terms of next year. Because next year is now all we have to hope for—this one pretty much ground to a halt on a sunny day in Lancashire.
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