Match Reports

Takeaways: Leicester 4-1 Spurs


Well, well, well…after a turgid defensive campaign so far, it had looked as though Tottenham Hotspur had turned a corner in recent weeks as far as their blotchy rearguard action was concerned.

Indeed, three consecutive clean sheets against Fulham, Preston, and, most impressively, Manchester City, now seem like a distant memory. The most immaculate of these three performances against the champions came less than a week ago, but the team could hardly be any less recognisable.

It does not take a genius to attribute today’s failings first and foremost to the tosh we served at the back. As Danny Murphy superbly pointed out on Match of the Day tonight, Spurs’ wing-backs did not know whether to stick or twist, go forward or drop deep, and every decision they made was generally the wrong one. Pedro Porro had a debut to forget, and for the hosts’ second and third goals was caught ridiculously high up the pitch and was out of the picture (along with our entire midfield!) within one turnover from a blue shirt.

My sympathy goes out to him, however – in an ideal world, he would have had Cristian Romero rather than Japhet Tanganga behind him on the right centre-back slot. But then again, in an ideal world, I’d be spending my Saturday night with Margot Robbie rather than writing this, and he should have done better with his positioning. Let’s hope he learns his lessons, as the transition from the Primeira Division to the Premiership is a brutal one.

Furthermore, problems in midfield arose once more. Indeed, if one casts one’s mind back to the reverse fixture back in September, the 6-2 scoreline ultimately flattered our lot, and at 2-2 and 3-2, Leicester were causing umpteen problems by playing through our midfield two on the day prior to Yves Bissouma’s introduction near the hour. The Malian’s presence stemmed the flow of the Foxes’ passing in midfield and the extra man in midfield nullified the visitors.

Today, our two was consistently outplayed and outnumbered by Leicester’s three. At least, prior to the hour-mark, Rodrigo Bentancur was getting us up the pitch, but after his departure, the game was set and match. I’m sorry, but neither Pape Sarr nor Oliver Skipp are adequate alternatives for him, and the prospect of those two pairing up in Milan on Tuesday night in the middle of the park feels me with an ungodly quantity of apprehension.

Even with Bentancur on the pitch, every time the halfway line was bypassed by the hosts, Leicester were practically in on goal, and Eric Dier was hardly a dependable figure as last man standing, doing his best impression of the third Magi greeting Christ upon his birth by practically gifting Kelechi Iheanacho the freedom of Spurs’ penalty area for the hosts’ third.

Imbalances in midfield and defence, combined with a stale attack and dangerous opponents who thrive on the break, equals a recipe for disaster. No doubt many fans will blame Antonio Conte (it was great to see him back today too), for what went down, but the players have to hold their hand up and hang their heads in shame. Let’s hope they get it out of their system by Tuesday!

Have your say on today’s match (if you’re brave enough) by visiting the Vital Spurs fan forum here.

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