This is by far the hardest ‘five things we learned’ article I have ever written, due to the sheer number of talking points from that utterly barmy game of football. But, here it goes…
The five things we learned from Spurs vs Chelsea:
What can you say about Cristian Romero? Just when you think he has turned a corner and really taken his role as a vice-captain seriously, he has a game like that. He lost his head when he kicked out on the ground, and it remained lost for the minutes that followed as he dived into a silly challenge. Spurs were purring at the time and seemed favourites to score a second, and perhaps a third. Romero took the game and flipped it on its head out of nowhere.
I hope he doesn’t just shrug this one off and instead looks at the 4-1 result and thinks to himself, ‘that was my fault’. As soon as you get a reputation as a centre-back who cannot be trusted to stay on the pitch, or a teammate who cannot be trusted to stay cool under pressure, you may find that you have a very short shelf life as a top Premier League player.
As if the result alone wasn’t bad enough, Tottenham also picked up multiple injuries throughout the game. Going into any match this season, Spurs fans would likely highlight Son, Maddison, Romero and Van de Ven as players who simply cannot get injured without the standard dropping considerably. Two of those core four picked up problems last night.
Van de Ven will surely be out for months after his hamstring appeared to go when chasing back towards his own goal, while Maddison appeared to injure his ankle/heel off the ball in the Chelsea box. With any luck, the latter will not be serious, but Postecoglou has some selection nightmares to contend with now.
The Super Subs
Problems created by Romero and Udogie also fashioned chances for certain fringe players to impress, and impress they did. It takes some doing to have 60,000 fans stay until the final whistle and give you a standing ovation when you just lost 4-1. However, the likes of Emerson Royal, Eric Dier, Oliver Skipp, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Rodrigo Bentancur showed bravery beyond belief against a two-man deficit last night. If some Spurs players let us down, others certainly showed they can be counted on in times of trouble.
Moving forward, while I previously would have suggested just putting Ashley Phillips and Alfie Dorrington into the centre of defence, seeing as they have a lot of minutes together this season, perhaps the fringe players have earned the right to fight for Postecoglou next week against Wolves.
The Marvelous Vicario
In the midst of a frustrating defeat, Guglielmo Vicario somehow managed to put on a genuinely world-class display of modern goalkeeping. Some outrageous saves when the game was still a normal 11v11 affair, but he became a one-man sweeping brick wall when Spurs were down to ten. If Chelsea were going to exploit the space in behind that Vicario was going to patrol it, and patrol it he did. He must have come off his line and cleared or smothered at least five or six times in the last 30 minutes alone. I think Spurs have a really special goalkeeper on their hands here.
The Fans Were Incredible
12th man, 11th man, 10th man… whatever the fans were last night, they were amazing. Singing their hearts out until the final whistle and staying firmly behind the team no matter how tough it got. In previous years, there would have been boos and mass exits come 4-1, but yesterday there were claps, cheers, and chants of appreciation. We are in this together, and the players definitely know that.
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