Tottenham Hotspur fell to their third defeat in a row in all competitions after losing to Wolves 3 – 2 at home. Tottenham went ahead twice in the game through Bergwijn and Aurier, but was pulled back level by Doherty and Jota before Jimenez won all three points for the visitors. Spurs looked the better side for much of the game but couldn’t capitalize on their chances and were a victim of their own individual defensive mistakes in the end. The entire back 5 and the goalkeeper were shambles defensively today, and only Aurier and Sanchez could say they had a decent enough performance.
Tottenham started the match brightly with a lot of intensity and urgency on the ball, and dominated the early proceedings. The goal came in the 13th minute through Bergwijn after the Dutchman followed up Alli’s miss from close range. The lead didn’t last too long though as Spurs’ complacency crept in and Wolves increased their pressure. After Vinagre caught Aurier napping on the left, he caused havoc in the box with a low cross with both Dier and Tanganga failing to clear. The ball then fell kindly to Doherty who was able to finish under a helpless Gazzaniga. The equalizer was a wake up call for the hosts, who were back on top shortly after as they started to progress into promising areas and create chances. Lo Celso, Winks, Bergwijn and Lucas were all impressive in this period and the former pair started the move for the second goal right before half time. Winks found Dele in between the lines and his pass to Aurier opened up a half chance from the corner of the box. The right back then unleashed a beauty with his weaker left foot to give Spurs the advantage a minute before the break.
The impressive play continued early in the second half as Spurs kept possession and probed for a third goal. Alli had the best chance in the 54th minute as his headed effort came close to creeping in the corner. But just minutes after that the defensive frailties of Tottenham showed up again as the entire team was caught napping from a quick free kick in the middle of the pitch. Left wing back Davies was nowhere to be seen as Jimenez calmly played in Doherty who had no trouble finding Jota at the back post for the goal. It was an extremely sloppy goal to concede as Tottenham had almost the whole team behind the ball and Jota was still free for a tap in.
After the goal, Spurs didn’t have the same intensity as after last time they conceded and Wolves found it much easier to stay in the game. The increased confidence then proved fatal for the hosts as Jota carried the ball all the way from inside his own half to the attacking third where he found Jimenez, who calmly slotted the ball in the top corner to give his team their first lead of the day. The backline again had another nightmare in the buildup as Aurier was not able to stop Jota and Tanganga went to the ground way too easily against Jimenez.
Mourinho finally decided to change things after the goal with Ndombele and Gedson changes but they proved ineffective as Wolves saw the game out. Tottenham’s season is now most likely over considering the results and performances as they slip to 7th place behind Chelsea, Manchester United and Wolves. The couple positives to take from the game were the first half attacking performance and the introduction of Parrott in the end, who could be the striker this team so desperately needs.
Paulo Gazzaniga – 4 – When Lloris got injured against Brighton, I was not that scared as the Frenchman’s form was not that impressive and the back up Gazzaniga was superb whenever he had the chance. But Lloris’ performances every since he’s back have been world class and the difference in quality between the two keepers was so evident today. The Argentine is not really a good shot stopper and the first two goals could have been a different story if Lloris was between the sticks. He can’t be faulted for the third goal to be fair to him, but the damage was done by then.
Serge Aurier – 7 – The Serge Aurier experience continued today as the man who can produce no middle of the road performances had one extreme moment after another. His first half was superb in attack and a disaster at the back as he created the first Tottenham goal and scored the second with a brilliant striker but was at fault for the Wolves one. Second half got much worse as he lost Jota at the back for the second Wolves equalizer and got outclassed by the same man for the third. The moment he picked up the ball that was still in play thinking it was out and giving away a free kick was quintessentially Aurier.
Eric Dier – 5 – It’s safe to say he was terrible at the back replacing Alderweireld today but the stats actually favor him a little bit. He finished the game with 5 tackles, more than anyone on the pitch, finished the game with 90% pass accuracy, and won 3 aerial duels. But he was the big problem in the big moments today as he was the main man at fault for both the first and second goals, reacting extremely slowly to clear the danger. His best days seem to be behind him as his athleticism has vanished, and he really should only be playing against lower quality opponents.
Davinson Sanchez – 5 – He was the best centre back for Spurs today but that doesn’t say much. He really needed the calm and collectiveness of Alderweireld behind him as his aggression could put him in trouble sometimes. He was nowhere to be seen in the first goal and was slow to react for the second but the rest of his match was somewhat decent.
Japhet Tanganga – 3 – His worst match ever since he broke into the first team and you have to feel for the youngster. His touch in the box for the first Wolves goal was inexplicable and he had a real test against Adama Traore which he mostly failed. He was dribbled past as many times as he had tackles today with 3 and he literally ripped Adama’s shoulder in the end to finally stop him.
Ben Davies – 4 – I think his attacking performance should get a mention and increase his rating today as he completed 2 key passes and created 1 big chance but his defensive performance was as shocking as Tanganga today as Adama got whatever he wanted on the right side. He was constantly caught out of position and barely completed a tackle the entire game. The most egregious mistake came for the second Wolves goal where his entire side was left free for Jimenez and Doherty to exploit. For a player who Mourinho praised as a key part of his system, the Welshman is showing very little to prove him right and it’s becoming concerning.
Harry Winks – 6 – It was no surprise that in a game where Tottenham dominated possession and pass statistics, Winks shined the brightest. He had a great first half as his passing, both controlled and vertically probing, helped Tottenham immensely – but unfortunately he disappeared in the second half. His lack of defensive presence appeared more after the break as Wolves upped their pressure, and he was less effective as a result. He completed the game with a combined 1 tackle and interception and that cannot be the case when he’s the deepest midfielder.
Giovani Lo Celso – 7 – This is really a case of an amazing player being surrounded by a team of underperformers for Lo Celso. Everything Tottenham creates comes through him, and his composure and intelligence with the ball is really impressive. He also puts a shift defensively as he was involved in 18 ground duals of which he won 8. He’s the man to carry this side forward but he needs more help around him.
Steven Bergwijn – 6 – He scored his second goal for the team and was involved in creating a huge chance in the first half but that’s where the highlights end for the Dutchman today. He was surprisingly reactive today as his movement left a lot to be desired, especially in the second half. He’s a quality player that’s for sure, but I expected a lot from him, given that Wolves looked a bit tired after playing in the Europa League on Thursday.
Lucas Moura – 6 – Good first half, shocking second half – just like a number of other Tottenham players. He again showed where his best position on the pitch is, playing narrow behind a striker, and he really impressed me with his progressive dribbling and hunger in the press. Not sure what to make of that second half though as he looked to go back to his old self, running into challenges and losing possession time after time.
Dele Alli – 6 – Most Tottenham fans, including myself, were calling for him to be the striker and we got our wish – and it was a promising outing. WIth him at the top, the front three looked so much more fluid and the team was able to keep possession a lot better. He took a great position between the lines before feeding Aurier for the second goal and he almost doubled Spurs’ lead early in the second half all by himself. He was less effective after that but this experiment should continue in my opinion.
Tanguy Ndombele – 5 – He has all the ability in the world but unless he gets fit, it will mean nothing. Spurs cannot play their record signing 15 minutes a game and expect to compete.
Gedson Fernandes – N/R
Troy Parrott – N/R
Jose Mourinho – 6 – I was impressed with a lot of things Tottenham did today until the 57th minute and that’s down mostly to the decisions of Mourinho. Dele up top, Bergwijn and Lucas completing a narrow front three, Aurier and Davies providing good width, Winks and Lo Celso controlling the tempo all looked great. But everything fell apart at the back with the Dier, Tanganga, and Sanchez back three and undid all the good work from his attackers.
He then waited too long to change anything once the energy levels of his team dropped. Yes that could be blamed on the lack of depth Spurs have on the bench but he is not in a position to not trust his youth players Skipp and Parrott when the rest of his team is playing this badly. I have seen good things from this match to be optimistic but I still haven’t watched a Tottenham match under Mourinho where I was impressed from start to finish.
Just when we think the defence has improved it falls apart, and just when we think the attack is finally firing like today, they create nothing like against Chelsea. This season is getting more frustrating as it goes and I cannot wait for the summer to finally arrive.
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