By 90Min
August 25, 2019

"Here's Davinson Sanchez. Sideways it goes to Harry Winks. Moussa Sissoko. Forward it goes looking for Lucas Moura, Jamaal Lascelles gets his head to it and it goes out for a throw-in."


Yep, that's pretty much how Tottenham's defeat to Newcastle played out.

No creativity through the middle, a lack of quality delivery from out wide, and four forwards standing in a line waiting for something to happen instead of proactively trying to make opportunities for themselves.

Catherine Ivill/GettyImages

Sure, they tried, but seriously: what on earth did we just witness?

You don't need to be a genius to see things are a little confused at Tottenham at the moment.

On a player by player basis, a few poor performances can be excused. It was Son Heung-min's first game back following his ban from last season and he was certainly lacking a bit of confidence. He beat a few players out wide, but couldn't work any room for shots against a packed Newcastle defence and midfield and, like most of his teammates, was pretty stationary throughout.

The Danny Rose-Davinson Sanchez can now be viewed as a disaster waiting to happen. They missed up for John McGinn's opener for Aston Villa a few weeks ago and both were at it again on Sunday, Sanchez deciding to give Newcastle's Joelinton the freedom of Enfield and Rose failing to realise the danger until it was too late.

Julian Finney/GettyImages

Lucas Moura has a right to be a bit peeved. He buzzes around with plenty of energy and the ball looks glued to his feet at times, but again the Brazilian is an attacker who needs a creative player alongside him to get things going - not Erik Lamela, who, while he has his evident strengths, didn't contribute anything on Sunday other than passing the ball backwards and drifting infield, making everything nice and stodgy.

No! That's all terrible! Why was that the game plan on Sunday? Surely Mauricio Pochettino didn't send his players out with the idea of playing it safe at every opportunity and hoping things eventually fall into place? WHY OH WHY?!

Sure, Newcastle did what most bottom half Premier League sides do at top six sides: sit deep, try to frustrate the opposition, and attempt to make the most of the opportunities that come their way. So yes, well done the Toon.

Julian Finney/GettyImages

But it's simply not acceptable for a team like Tottenham to come unstuck against this particular game plan time and time again.

In games that Tottenham need to win in order to assert themselves at the top of the table, Christian Eriksen has to feature for more than half an hour. It can't be a case of leaving him on the bench until it's too late. Regardless of whether he wants to leave, if the Dane is at the club, he has to start in games like this.

One day the moment will come when the Dane gets an offer and is happily on his way, and it looks like that moment will be a dark, dark moment, but until that time comes, don't try to paper over cracks that can be avoided by simply playing your best team. Use the players best suited to each game. Play Eriksen, play Jan Vertonghen, who remains one of the best defenders in the top flight. Don't play their games by benching them and hoping worse alternatives will bail you out; it just doesn't make any sense.

After a tense summer, Spurs are already five and three points adrift of Liverpool and Manchester City respectively, and that gap is only going to get bigger.

Julian Finney/GettyImages

What's that? Next up is a north London derby at Arsenal

Oh great, that'll be fun. 

The Emirates has famously been a happy stomping ground for Spurs. We can't wait to see how that 2-0 loss unfolds.

Onwards and upwards, I guess.

You May Like