Man United 1 Spurs 0
We are not a one-man team. Far from it.
But without that one man, our ‘main man’, we are diminished. This isn’t to rubbish Janssen last season, or Llorente in the final half-hour on Saturday, or Son as a false-9 option. It’s to state inevitable fact.
With Kane we draw that game at worst. We may well have won it. Two chances; the De Gea mix up that fell to Sissoko in the first half, and the Dele miss from Eriksen’s through ball in the second half. Had they fallen to Kane, he’d have taken at least one, probably both.
Ifs and buts. The end result is all that matters. Momentum lost.
Yet we remain level at this stage with last season. We are on 20 points after 10 games. An average of 2 points per game. Enough for Top 4. But not the title. We have to step it up during the next quarter of this Season.
Last year we were undefeated after 10 games, with a W5-D5-L0 record. This Season we’re at W6-D2-L2 for the same net result. As I wrote in Post 31 (“Slow Starts and Hard Work”), Spurs have consistently been slow out of the blocks under Pochettino. But as a season progresses we gain momentum. We took 27 out of 30 points in the final 10-game ‘quarter’ of last season (in fact we took 36 out of 39 points from our final 13 games). In sum, there’s still a PL title to play for this year. Just.
Bad things happen in threes. My gut tells me we’ll lose to Madrid on Wednesday. I’d love to be wrong but after a Carabao exit and a PL setback, it feels to me as if we’re due a CL disappointment too. Equally, I can see us then going on a run of determination-fuelled victories that will return us to good shape at Christmas.
In terms of the performance against Man United, it’s hard not to be prejudiced by the result. Most of our team played kinda ok. But nobody really excelled. Toby and Jan looked solid apart from the United goal. I thought Winks looked tired, as if the last few weeks have finally caught up with him (despite being rested against West Ham). It’s more mental than physical fatigue. Sissoko stepped back again. His touch was poor and his partnership with Aurier was uninspired.
We began slowly, losing the midfield battle. But as the first half progressed, we gradually won parity then a degree of control. Eriksen, Son and Dele matched Herrera, Mkhitaryan and Rashford for pace and creativity. It was high skilled chess between two good teams rather than an exciting feast of football for the fans.
In the end, Spurs ‘won’ the stats; 55% possession, 13 shots with 4 on target (versus United’s 11 and 3), plus 4 blocked shots (v 3) and 44% shot accuracy (v 37%). But we lost the only measurement that matters. Goals scored.
Spurs remain 3rd after 10 matches, but lost ground to all our competition. Man City have 28 points, Man United 23, Spurs 20, Chelsea and Arsenal 19 and Liverpool 16. The ‘Top 6’ are now breaking away from the field. Big spenders Everton are nowhere.