Over the past week or so, we’ve seen two Tottenham Hotspurs. The cockerels were flying high on the weekend, but then had their wings unceremoniously clipped at Wembley.
I was unfortunate enough to be at the Stoke game (I changed my mind and went last minute), and really the only positive I found from a Stokie perspective was that, firstly, my preview article was proved more or less correct, and secondly, we left so early we didn’t have to queue off the car park.
Now, I’m not saying this in a bitter loser way, but Tottenham were not that good in the Potteries. Stoke were just that bad.
Son had a great game, his first goal was tidily finished and credit to him but, if you give a professional footballer 10+ yards of all around space in the 18 yard box, he should be tucking it away. His second goal was also a phenomenal finish, and again credit to him, but if you give a professional footballer a free shot on the edge of the box against a 40 year old veteran keeper, with no defensive pressure on him whatsoever, he should also be tucking it away. Dele Alli’s goal was fairly simple, and Harry Kane’s end to his goal draught was unmissable, two balls perfectly weighted through an entire defence and right in front of goal and, the second time, he managed.
So, although this 4-0 thumping gave many spurs fans a lot of hope, namely a Mr Freddie Stuart and approximately 85,000 others who went to Wembley. But as I said to my Tottenham friends on Monday night, it shouldn’t inspire any confidence.
When they were faced with a proper football team like Monaco, their inadequacies were exploited. A certain impotence returned for Kane, who’s only real open chance was blasted straight at the keeper, and Eric Lamela’s poor decision making, lead to a fair result.
Tottenham’s star striker is still very far from his best.
Some, notably not the manager or players, have blamed the “Wembley Effect” for their poor performance.
85,000 spurs fans fill a stadium with noise and lily-white shirts, you can’t possibly blame a lack of a ‘home atmosphere’. A main problem I saw in the Spurs performance was in defence. Fortunately on the weekend prior Stoke didn’t seem to have any form of attack, so this wasn’t exposed. Honestly I don’t even think we put the ball in the box, I might be wrong though I had my eyes shut for most of the second half. Anyway, I’ve digressed. The point is Monaco did put balls into the box, and Spurs could have stopped them.
Bernardo Silva’s opener, whilst it was a great strike, was born from two missed spurs tackles and Lamela giving the ball away. Similarly, the second goal, nobody challenged Sidibe or attempted to stop the cross, and following an aerial battle in the 6 yard box Monaco dropped a bit lucky and tucked it away, but that wouldn’t happen if Sidibe had been under any kind of pressure when whipping the cross in.
At the other end, as I’ve mentioned, aside from Alderweireld’s thumper of a header, and despite playing much of the second half in Monaco’s end of the pitch, it came to nothing.
Tottenham showed their strength in what was essentially a beginner’s level game on Saturday, but against real opposition, the desperately need to tighten up.
That been said at least it wasn’t four bloody nil.
By James Doherty