Tottenham Hotspur’s Players Failing to Plug Injury Gaps as Chelsea Take Top Four Advantage

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Tottenham Hotspur’s Players
Ross Barkley of Chelsea FC battles for possession with Davinson Sanchez of Tottenham during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur at Stamford Bridge, London on Saturday 22nd February 2020. (Photo by Ivan Yordanov/MI News/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Tottenham Hotspur’s players are simply not doing enough to cope without Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min. Whilst any team would be hit hard with two high profile players missing, the rest of the squad is, in general, failing to do enough on the pitch.

Tottenham Hotspur’s Players Not Doing Enough as Chelsea Take Top Four Advantage

High Pressing Has Gone

A main feature of Mauricio Pochettino’s reign at Tottenham Hotspur and indeed his time at Southampton was the high press. Never giving defenders any peace and hounding opposition players all over the pitch. That has long gone. Whilst all eyes are on Spurs’ attacking nightmares, it is in midfield and defence where even bigger concerns lurk.

Chelsea barely got past second gear at Stamford Bridge in this match between two sides vying for the top four. Tanguy N’Dombele was signed and seen as showing the intent Tottenham would have going into this season. Against Chelsea, he showed one piece of skill just before being hooked off by Jose Mourinho. That aside he looks nowhere near match fit. His fitness and injury-prone start to his Tottenham career raises questions about his fitness test when he first signed for the club. £65 million looks like very poor value for money.

Harry Winks is yards slower than he was two seasons ago and his passing is either sideways or to an opposing player. The Chelsea backline had so much freedom. As did their midfield.

Defensive Woes

A Jose Mourinho team parking the bus is nothing new. Tottenham Hotspur’s players are currently incapable of defending as a unit. It makes the tactic seem naive from such an experienced manager. Japhet Tanganga and Davinson Sanchez both played well and are surely the future for Tottenham. Toby Alderweireld was woefully out of position for Olivier Giroud’s opener. Even worse was the fact that Tottenham allowed Chelsea three shots before the ball finally went in at Hugo Lloris’ near post. Not the first time the World Cup-winning keeper has been guilty of that.

The second goal came from a good Chelsea move. When the ball came to Marco Alonso who provided a fine finish, he had no one around him. No midfielder or defender. The space he was afforded so early into the second half was unbelievable. Jan Vertonghen looks to be finished at this level. Slow and losing the ball too often. A great servant to Spurs but surely he will be moved on in the summer.

Players Need to do Their Jobs

Jose Mourinho’s tactics against Chelsea and in the Champions League against RB Leipzig in midweek were negative. He set up his side to try and not lose rather than to try and win the games and lost both.

That said, when professional football players cross that white line, they still have jobs to do. Tottenham Hotspur’s players are not doing that right now. Players can adapt to any formation. They have this job because they are professionals. Against Chelsea and RB Leipzig, too many have gone missing.

Injuries are Hurting but Tottenham Hotspur’s Troubles Run Deeper

Getting through this period without two top strikers was ways going to be tough for Jose Mourinho and Spurs. The issues run deeper than that. Failing to buy a striker in January was another mistake in the transfer window by Spurs and Daniel Levy.

Failing to shore up a creaking defence was a mistake by Spurs and Daniel Levy. Mauricio Pochettino seemed to toe the line when it came to transfers. Jose Mourinho is a totally different beast. His comments after the defeat to Chelsea were surely pointed in one direction and for the attention of one man in particular;

“Look at Chelsea they played a World Cup-winning striker upfront, England’s second striker on the bench, and Belgium’s second striker in the stands. We had no strikers on the pitch, no strikers on the bench and two in the hospital.”

The injury to Son was bad timing. Harry Kane, Moussa Sissoko have been out for some time.

Daniel Levy likes to keep out of the limelight and rarely puts himself in front of the camera. Jose Mourinho thrives on the limelight. If Daniel Levy thinks he will get a quiet summer he is in for a rude awakening. Jose Mourinho and the watching football world can see Tottenham Hotspur’s players need re-energising, refocusing and re-motivating. Some also need moving on. With or without Kane and Son, Performances like those at Chelsea and at home to Leipzig are not acceptable.
Next up is Wolverhampton Wanderers at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium before an FA Cup tie against Norwich, again at home. If Tottenham Hotspur’s players do not buck up, their season will be over before Spring has had chance to blossom.
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