Words fail me. Emotions take over in these situations. To see a supposedly top level side go from a winning position to an ignominious embarrassing defeat in fewer than 10 minutes—a far worse result than what happened against Italian competition last season—and to realise that in all likelihood we are doomed to the Europa League and may have to struggle to do even that much for next season—well, the conclusions aren’t hard to reach.
This is not a good team. Not a tough team. Not a team with character. Not an intelligent team. A better team would either have finished Inter off with a killing second goal or tightened up the defence so much that they couldn’t score. Or even after Icardi’s Wanyama like pile driver would have held on for the draw and know they had gained more than lost.
That isn’t this team. This team flits around for 40 minutes in the first half as if their attacking players had never played together before when the truth is they’ve been teammates for three or four years. This team has a supposedly world class striker who disappears for lengthy periods, then emerges with the ball in perfect position to score and fumbles it beyond the touch line. This team has a holding midfield that can barely hold and can’t advance without (that means you, Eric Dier) threatening to give the ball away. And when it counts—on free kicks—this team cannot defend.
Eriksen made a brilliant play for a somewhat fortunate goal. Lucas pressed hard for the clincher, but one man can’t do it alone. I can’t point to one defender—or Vorm—and blame them for the goals—it was a collective failure by a team that is bereft of confidence. And why should they be confident? they’ve blown games like this before. They are missing their drunkard of a captain—thigh injury or whatever—who took the best moment of glory any of them will ever reach and deposited it amidst his vomit on a London street. They have a stadium fast becoming a laughing stock—can’t wait for those Qarabag fixtures, mate. They have a transfer policy whose virtues were always forced and faults have been laid bare for all to see.
Harry Winks is a nice lad. But with the game level and with the ball in open space approaching Inter’s box he had no more clue about what to do than I would have—and not a lot more ability to make something happen. For forty minutes they pressed us better than we pressed them. For 20 minutes we actually played like the team that got two results against the best team in the world a year ago. But that was a mirage—for this team isn’t that team. With more away fixtures and home games in the next five weeks against Barcelona and Manchester City, it is not hard to imagine a season whit ambition basically shot before Thanksgiving. Can we run with Chelsea or what Mourinho will make of United, let alone Liverpool or City?
Poch said “be brave”. Who has been since? Levy? Lloris? Kane? Poch himself? This team is a shambles. Whether he is fully or partly responsible, Levy will soon do what all bosses do—cut his losses. I’m not sure Pochettino will make it to the new ground, let alone the holidays. It is a sad situation. It won’t get better anytime soon. I fear for the worst.
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