What De Gea Happened?

2
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

Let me be clear. He’s a world class goalkeeper. He made several fine saves, though probably none as good as the one Lloris produced to keep us in the game in the second half. If it had been Jordan Pickford in goal we probably win 2-1 or 3-1. But the reason we lost this game was not the quality of the opposition goal keeper, or the quality of their forwards, threatening as they were including Rashford’s goal.

The reason we lost this game is that our forwards—who played hard throughout—were imprecise in their finishing. Son, Kane and particularly Dele all had superb chances—mainly in the second half when we bossed United—and proceeded to send about a half dozen or more shots directly at DeGea’s chest, feet, or legs. And the one terrific chance they got Rashford buried the ball in the far corner.

The other reason we lost is that Kieran Trippier is simply a horror show on defence and for all the positives he brings at the other end—though he too was off on a couple of crosses—his failures in possession and his poor marking may not be worth him playing in a game this big anymore. Martial worked him to death—and his decision-making was a shambles, and led to their goal. I should add one more reason—for 60 minutes, at least, the best player on the pitch was the guy Jose Mourinho refused to play for nearly a month. Pogba’s exquisite ball to Rashford rivalled anything Kane or Eriksen have produced this year, and he was impressive throughout, only fading toward the end as we kept pressing for the equaliser.

The injuries to Sissoko and, it appears, Kane, are worrying. Both are products of a failure at depth at two key positions—if we lose Sissoko for any lengthy period of time can we really afford to let Dembele walk to China? And if we lose Kane similarly—and with Son off to the Asian Games—how do we get a result at Stamford Bridge in 10 days, let alone Dortmund in a month? Poch and Levy have decisions.

One trophy is now pretty much out of sight but given the United resurgence top four is hardly guaranteed. Spurs cannot afford to have any more Wolves-like letdowns.

As for the soap opera, what did this mean really? We didn’t lose because of the managers—we lost because of the players. Theirs produced when it counted; ours did not. If they played that same game 10 times, I believe we would win most of them, or at least draw. Two very good teams clashed, and one of them prevailed. Will Ole Gunnar keep the run going, all the way to a permanent job? He might. Did this somehow expose Poch as not worthy of taking the next step? No. Did it expose Spurs as being inferior to United? Of course not. We won 3-0 at Old Trafford. We’re still ahead of them by 7 points in the table.

But the fair judgement is that we wasted both an opportunity to further distance ourselves from the three sides in the Top Six below us, and several opportunities within the game to produce a different result. One of those nights.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I agree a lot with this article, but not sure about this bit…

    “The injuries to Sissoko and, it appears, Kane, are worrying. Both are products of a failure at depth at two key positions”

    Yes in terms of an out of out striker to replace Kane. But I think we’ve really been quite unlucky in the holding/central midfield positions with injuries.

    At the start of the season most Spurs fans would have been happy enough with these options, in this typical sort of order:

    Dembele
    Dier
    Winks
    Wanyama
    Sissoko
    Skipp / Amos

    That’s a decent amount of depth in my opinion, especially as Sissoko has been so good and Winks is consistently great too.

    Assuming Dembele is actually fit to play a part, it would now be stupid to sell him for c£10m. He’s worth that just playing out the season for us.

    We also need to sign some additional cover now in this window.

  2. One more reason why we lost was we have a stubborn and stupid manager whose selection was often strange and bad. Starting with Lloris, Trippier and Davies was a big big mistake. Gazzaniga, KWP and Rose were much better options.

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