Tottenham siege mentality and reluctance to free Harry Kane and Son Heung-min are costing them points
Maybe we shouldn’t be too tough.
It perhaps makes sense to recognize that Wolves were the last game in a particularly grueling fixture list for Tottenham, which includes league games against Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool and Leicester.
Perhaps we should mention that the League Cup and Europa League commitments have also been kicked off, creating a ridiculously busy schedule that has seen Spurs play 26 appearances already this season.
But despite all the congestion and the build-up of material, Sunday night was dark. In terms of cinema, it was a difficult watch. And not in a gritty, Oscar nominated sense. It was bad for Prometheus.
If you’ve seen this weird Alien prequel, you’ll know she actually has a pretty solid first act. There are a bunch of bald, hairless men out there, which naturally pique your interest.
Likewise, Tottenham got off to a perfect start at Wolves, with Tanguy Ndombele catching Rui Patricio off guard with a long-range strike straight down the middle to give the visitors the lead.
But then, just like Prometheus, it all came down. No alien baby may have been extracted from a human abdomen, but the 1-1 draw was still an equally garish watch. Screaming and frustrating.
It’s strange. Harry Kane’s partnership with Son Heung-min has been one of the stories of the season, particularly early in the campaign when the pair frequently combined as Spurs racked up 15 Premier League goals in their first five games.
But after West Ham’s 3-3 draw, the focus was clearly on defensive stability before attacking flair, which is now starting to cost Jose Mourinho points.
They have scored 11 goals in ten league games since, never scoring more than twice in a game during that span. The chains are well and truly locked to Kane and Son’s ankles, and without any particularly spectacular form at the moment, Tottenham’s overly defensive approach means they are denying any opportunity for the pair to get back into shape.
While they possessed a threat during the first half, Spurs retreated more and more into their shells during the second period, inviting wave after wave of wolf attacks. What would ultimately happen was blindingly obvious and resistance was finally broken unsurprisingly as Romain Saiss passed through slow Ben Davies to give an equalizer in a corner.
Of course, another goal conceded from a set piece.
It was a chance to close the gap to leaders Liverpool to four points, but the overly negative outlook saw them dismiss this opportunity currently so cleanly by Sam Allardyce and West Brom.
Son and Kane are clearly Tottenham’s two best players, and Ndombele has also given another timely reminder after some lukewarm displays of how he can step up attacks and put his side on the front foot.
Tottenham have the players for fast and expansive football. We’ve seen it before in the big wins against Southampton and Manchester United this season. But instead of leveraging their strengths, Spurs instead defy opposition attacks to break them down.
It would be nice if the center-backs were John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho, or Sergio Ramos and Pepe. But they are not. Sunday was Davinson Sanchez, Eric Dier and Ben Davies. All good players, but hardly the clean sheet fans that Mourinho has coached before.
This too scary series of games is now over for Spurs. Of those seven games, they have collected nine points. It could have been worse, but it could also have been a lot better.
Now Tottenham have a series of matches that will see them having great amounts of possession in every game. It will be up to Mourinho to break the teams, rather than the shoe being on the other foot.
If Kane and Son continue to be ignored, Spurs will lose ground on those around them. Fortunately, West Brom’s draw at Anfield means the gap to Liverpool remains only six points, but the chances of winning over the current champions won’t come too often.
For a team with two of the best forwards in the league, 11 goals in ten league games are not enough. Spurs can outclass most opponents, but their best players need to be taken care of for that to happen.
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