Tottenham must mature and move away from supposedly ‘pragmatic’ style of play
A late ball is sent into the box as Newcastle seek a dramatic equalizer. The ball ricocheted from Eric Dier’s arm in the box and he was penalized. Callum Wilson scores the spot. Two points fell.
Fabian Bulbuena enters, Davinson Sanchez passes in front of Hugo Lloris and Manuel Lanzini sends a scorcher in the woodwork. A 3-3 draw with West Ham. Two points fell.
Tottenham sit down and stop at Crystal Palace, which ultimately saw Jeffrey Schlupp equalize at Selhurst Park. Two points fell.
We could go on and we will.
Roberto Firmino, Romain Saiss and Ivan Cavaleiro have also all scored late goals against Tottenham over the past month or so in matches where Jose Mourinho could or should have taken points. This group and their goals took five more points from Spurs.
So that’s 11 points in total that Tottenham have blurted out in the last 15 minutes of league games this season. Do you know where they would be in the Premier League if they had resisted these matches? First, five points ahead of Manchester United, just two games before mid-season.
Spurs make their fans sick several times during every campaign, and there are always moments of “what if? ”, But this term is particularly difficult. Seeing the same performance and the same result over and over again this season is now almost maddening, as it is clear that lessons are not being learned.
After the 3-3 draw with West Ham, there was a clear shift to a stubborn and deep pattern of play. Tottenham had won Southampton and Manchester United in 5-2 and 6-1 victories respectively, highlighting the offensive strength in their ranks. We’ve all seen Harry Kane and Son Heung-min’s stats and know what they can do when they’re free.
But while there were early wins that took Spurs to the top of the Premier League, there have been times of predictable downfall since then.
In the 1-1 draw with Fulham, as Tottenham fell deeper and deeper, it was impossible to ignore that throbbing thought in the mind or the swirling sensation in the gut. This sentiment was driven by what we had seen before rather than the characteristic fanbase pessimism for which it is renowned.
The Cottagers grew up confident with the most possession they enjoyed, and a quality moment at the expense of Sanchez and Dier – one getting skinned wide and the other losing an air battle – was enough to make the sh * mille effort an opponent. without meaning.
It must be a blow to the players, as it is certainly tiring for those at home.
Since West Ham’s 3-3 draw, Tottenham have only scored three goals in a league game once – the victory over Leeds alone. They give themselves a brief period to score in the first half of games and look to close shop in the second.
The problem with this is that it bends over to the team’s weaknesses rather than its strengths.
Does it make more sense to give Kane and Son every chance to express themselves and contribute even more than they have already done this season, or to rely on Dier and Sanchez to close a 1-0 victory with tons of pressure on them belatedly? It’s not really a contest, is it?
Mourinho hinted that the loss involved issues of “individual skills, individual abilities”, and he may be right. Neither center-back would be billed as one of the Premier League’s best center-backs right now, even though there is a dearth of quality options, but they’re not given a fair chance with the style of play currently in use.
Fulham were good on Wednesday night and deserved their point – damn it, they could have attacked all three with a bit more precision on offense – but Tottenham need to win at home against sides in the relegation zone. They need to give their creative players more chances of possession and not sit and get beaten while defending. It is not their strength.
Albert Einstein once said – or may not have, depending on the nerds in the story – that “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Yet on several occasions this season we have seen Tottenham perform the same, and that continues to stop any suggestion of pushing the title.
It’s time for a change of style, before they slide further across the table. The gap with United can be further reduced to three points with a win at Sheffield United on Sunday, before the Red Devils move to Liverpool.
Fingers crossed that the Bramall Lane meeting does not end in a 1-1 draw.
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