Opinion: Playing out the string

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

If there was still something to play for, I’d be concerned about Harry Kane’s ankle. But seriously, can anyone truly expect a result closer than, say, 3-1 in the Carabao Cup final, even with Kane?

 If City want the trophy—and I suspect with the prospect of a quadruple very much alive they do—they will take the trophy. But as for this game, we learned nothing we didn’t know already. Our back three/four/five in whatever configuration involving whatever players is poor. The Toffees got two, and could easily have been four. Aurier gave up the ball and was sucked out of position—Sissoko didn’t cover well despite that being part of Mourinho’s plan. Reguilon made a bad mistake for what was a soft penalty but not egregious by Michael Oliver. And the three centre backs were slow, slower and slowest on Gylfi’s second goal—a trifecta of Spurs 2020-21 miserable defending on display for the world to see.  But for Lloris, we lose.

And of course that one man team. Pep turned out to be prescient—Kane is all this team has left. He was given two opportunities and was never going to miss either. Son meanwhile continued his miserable play of late. 

Neither fullback did much to create a chance. Lucas and Lamela did their usual running once subbed in but to little good effect. And for the life of me I can’t figure out just what Hojbjerg and Sissoko were accomplishing last night—so poor was their play. They don’t defend. They don’t possess. They don’t pass well. They rarely look upfield (an affliction which also plagued Dier several times when he seemed to be like a surfer on top of a wave but just didn’t want to really go down it—and so the pass doesn’t happen, the ball stands still, and then back it goes and we start again. 

Anyway, a loss probably would have been preferable, because I for one am sick of Europa League Thursday nights and Everton and Villa or Arsenal could still deny us a place there. I don’t care about the revenue. Just once I’d like to see a team that is playing for one thing—and one thing only—and can focus its efforts on the highest league performance possible. Whether or not we still have You-Know-Who. 

Will Jose get the sack the day after the final if it goes as we expect? I don’t know how the contract reads—but surely Levy would like to make that move if he’s able and maximize the time necessary to get the next choice right and see if he can’t beg Kane to stay as he does. 

Do me one favor. Premier League champions. Just for a second dream it could be us, as we thought it might be in November. How many of the players you watched in our shirt last night would be on that starting XI?  One. I don’t think Lloris because I think by the time we might be ready again to challenge he will be elsewhere. But none of the others are of sufficient quality to play on such a side. Not even Ndombele, who was frankly pretty average and one wonders just how fragile his psyche truly is. And that one title worthy player may fast be approaching the end of his time here, no matter what assurances we are given about how Levy’s price tag can’t/won’t be met.


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