Tottenham have conceded late goals in nine of their Premier League matches this season. Those goals have proved very costly in five of those games and has had a very negative effect on Spurs’ attempts to establish themselves as strong contenders for a top four finish with credentials for Champions League football. The two goals in added time against Everton which cost Tottenham three points is the most recent example of Spurs’ inability to close out a game. It has been happening all season and started with the opening day’s defeat at Newcastle. In total Spurs have dropped 11 points due to the late goals – they have drawn three games from winning positions and worst of all, on Saturday went from winning to losing in 88 seconds.
Late Goals have Proved Costly
Newcastle United (a) Lost 1 – 2: the 80th minute penalty proved decisive. Tottenham had just managed to claw their way back into the game only to concede the penalty four minutes after equalising. [2 points lost]
West Bromwich Albion (h) Draw 1 – 1: a 90th minute equaliser by Albion after Spurs had tried to defend their lead for the final 16 minutes after Benoit Assou-Ekotto scored. Tottenham’s defending as a team had been poor in the last half an hour. [2 points lost]
Norwich City (h) Draw 1 – 1: an 85th minute equaliser, similar to the previous week’s error against West Brom. Ahead with 22 minutes to play, Spurs again tried unsuccessfully to defend the lead. [2 points lost]
Reading (a) Won 3 – 1: a 90th minute consolation goal denied Spurs a clean sheet.
Chelsea (h) Lost 2 – 4: the 90th minute goal confirmed the defeat.
Manchester City (a) Lost 1 – 2: 88th minute goal conceded. Having led from the 21st minute, Spurs conceded two goals in final twenty five minutes. [2 points dropped]
Arsenal (a) Lost 2 – 5: a 90th minute goal but it didn’t alter the result.
West Ham United (h) Won 3 – 1: Spurs conceded in the 82 minute but were already three goals ahead. It came from a misunderstanding between Steven Caulker and Hugo Lloris. Caulker put in a poor clearance from a cross when the goalkeeper was coming to collect the ball.
Everton (a) Lost 1 – 2: conceded in the 90th and 92nd minute to turn a winning position into a very disappointing defeat. Spurs had seen out the 14 minutes after Dempsey scored comfortably. Another mix-up between Caulker and Lloris, very similar to what happened against West Ham, brought about Steven Pienaar‘s equaliser. The goals also denied Lloris the opportunity to have two successive away clean sheets. [3 points lost]
If Tottenham had held out defensively through those final minutes of a game, their record would read:
P 16 W 13 D 0 L 1 For 29 Ag 15 +14 Pts 39 Pos 2nd (on goal diff)
Not content with dropping points in the League, Spurs were knocked out of the Capital One Cup after conceding two goals in the final six minutes. Having controlled the game for 80 minutes Spurs lost out to two goals from set-pieces.
The Europa League away match in Greece against Panathinaikos also changed due to a late equaliser, thirteen minutes from time.
- Tottenham’s attempts to defend a lead have simply invited their opponents to put them under pressure and even in some of the wins, it was a close run thing with Spurs holding on at Old Trafford, Southampton and in the home win over Liverpool.
- The misunderstandings between defender and goalkeeper may be partly the result of the constant changes in central defence due to injury and the fact that Lloris has only established himself in the team. It takes time for goalkeeper and defenders to develop an understanding that sees them cope with pressurised situations.
- Tottenham’s defensive line-up is inexperienced in Premier League terms – Lloris has only played 6 Premier League games, Jan Vertonghen is in his first season and is not playing in his favoured position. It takes time for players to become accustomed to the pressure and intensity of the Premier League.
- Kyle Walker (22), Caulker (20) and Kyle Naughton (24) are young players and are only in their second season in the Premier League.
- All of the above players are new to playing together and William Gallas has been the only experienced defender in the team for most of the season.
Andre Villas-Boas expressed his frustration at the result.
“It was a disappointing result bearing in mind we were leading taking the game into the last minute.”
Gylfi Sigurdsson whose shot hit the bar with five minutes remaining was also disappointed.
“The lads battled really hard in the first half, we got the goal in the second half and then I thought we did well, we kept the ball but they put more pressure on us in the last few minutes and got the goals in the end. To go home with nothing after a performance like that was very disappointing.”
Have Tottenham turned a match with a late goals this season? – sadly, No!