This one’s on the manager—both for the lineup and for failing to do what he supposedy does best the last four months. And it’s on a group of players where it seems that no combination, no formation will ever produce the type of solid defending we were accustomed to just a couple of years ago. And so Champions League hopes are shot, Europa League (thank goodness) chances may be disappearing as well. Two cups and let’s face it—this team is not good enough to make a serious play for either trophy.
Let’s do the positives first. But for a stretch in the first half when everyone on the side it seemed wanted to give the ball away to Wolves, and the frustration at the end when the visitors showed us what a compact defence can achieve, the offensive effort was present today.
Bergwijn, Lucas and Dele worked as a trio, creating chances and responsible for the build-up for both goals. Davies and particularly Aurier were threats on the flank. Winks and Lo Celso on the whole played well in the middle, although just once before I die I’d like to see the former with the ball rushing toward the box and creating something. But scoring two goals at home—and it could easily have been three or four—should be enough to get a result against all but the very best sides in this country or Europe. (Bayern Munich an obvious example of the latter)
And it’s not. Because our defence is putrid. Erik Dier cannot be hidden anywhere on the field. Eventually his slowness and poor decision-making will be found out. Japhet Tanganga is a kid—maybe with an Alderweireld or Vertonghen next to him, the mistakes can be papered over though neither of the Belgians have been much to shout about lately. But not with Dier on one side and Aurier on the other. And Davinson Sanchez was simply MIA at crucial times this day. So in a game that was more even than anything else—but where generally Spurs had the edge in both possession and chances, it became a defeat.
Three in the back with these three against the likes of Traore, Jota and Jiminez was simply never going to cut it. For whatever reason Mourinho has not installed any defensive discipline or strength to this squad. It is highly doubtful it will ever happen, meaning there will be more defeats such as this one.
Who stays or goes? Vertonghen is gone, of course. Aldeweireld, Tanganga and Sanchez stay, I guess, but which are really dependable going forward? I think Aurier is worth the downside because of the threat he poses on the right wing—is Davies? He seems to give you less in both directions. We need at least two new defenders, if not three. And a mentality change.
Wolves are a good, not great team. They were playing on only two days’ rest after a trip to Spain. We had a lead at the half. And couldn’t hold it. It’s the worst defence since AVB days of Dawson, Chiriches, a shaky Walker, Assou-Ekotto, Kaboul and Naughton. It has to be fixed or any notion of trophies under this manager is a pipe dream.
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