It has been a strange week for Tottenham.
It’s been just over a week since their 1-1 draw with Wolves, this game is the perfect example of how the style of play currently being used can lead to points lost from winning positions.
The next game with Fulham was postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak in their squad, and then news emerged about Spurs stars Sergio Reguilon, Giovani Lo Celso and Erik Lamela breaking current guidelines in place to spend Christmas together.
Every Reguilon bar has since apologized, but it’s a sweet reminder that footballers, whether you like them to play for your club or not, are capable of moments of silliness. At a time when the UK’s R-rate is quickly spiraling out of control, news of footballers sweeping it to one side to stage a big, festive reunion hasn’t gone well.
None of the featured lines against Leeds – Lo Celso is not expected to be available at all in January due to a hamstring injury, Lamela will be out for the Carabao Cup semi-final against Brentford for an unspecified reason, while that Reguilon was benched by Jose Mourinho. in favor of Ben Davies.
But while Leeds have shown how dangerous they can be on offense so far this season, their game plan fell straight into Tottenham’s knees on Saturday.
Leaving space all over the pitch eventually came back to bite the visitors, even though they dug a number of openings, especially during the first half.
But all it took was a lack of focus as Ezgjan Alioski brought his own Steven Bergwijn, allowing Harry Kane to score on the spot. Son Heung-min doubled the lead 14 minutes later by sweeping through Kane’s cross, before Toby Alderweireld went 3-0 from a corner kick, helped by a suspicious goalkeeper from Illan Meslier.
The rather comfortable victory saw Tottenham take fourth place in the Premier League, although the table remains ridiculously crowded and they could slide further when they face Aston Villa on January 13.
Before that, however, there will be two cup matches – the aforementioned Carabao Cup match with Brentford on Tuesday, followed by an FA Cup trip to Marine on Sunday.
The game against the Bees is certainly fraught with pitfalls – the second-tier side haven’t lost since late October and have knocked out Southampton, West Brom, Fulham and Newcastle to reach this stadium. Spurs undoubtedly remain the favorites, but with a final against either Manchester City or Manchester United – sides they have already beaten in different styles but still adamant this season – on the line, it’s not the game of the wholesale changes.
The usual core of Kane, Son and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg will be needed and hopefully Bergwijn will have another opportunity to improve on his recent, brilliant but less than clinical performances.
Then, if all goes well, bring the younger guns for Marine. Give Joe Rodon and Carlos Vinicius opportunities there ahead of that crucial trip to Villa, which remains firmly in the race for Champions League qualifying, one of billions of teams currently with 26 points.
Anyone can agree that the progress has been a long period of attrition under Mourinho since his appointment at the end of 2019. The patience with his methods could have lasted a bit longer in some corners of Tottenham’s fan base. ‘they hadn’t been faced with the same long and attritional. the pandemic has invaded the world.
But the former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager proved before the end justifies the means. He has Tottenham one game away from a cup final and just four points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool.
Spurs have had a tough time. Now it’s all about progressing in cup competitions and getting ahead of those around them in the league.
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