It was a case of the same old song at Stamford Bridge, as Tottenham were thoroughly outplayed in their lacklustre 2-1 defeat to Chelsea.
Negative from the outset, Jose Mourinho piled men behind the ball, content to sit back, absorb and hope. Lucas Moura had a few glimpses of goal, but the match was otherwise dominated by the home side.
I can’t quite come to terms with how defensive Spurs were, particularly in knowing of Chelsea’s home struggles. The Blues before this afternoon’s match had the 12th best home record. Yet Spurs again didn’t test a vulnerable, fragile Chelsea back line. Steven Bergwijn was mostly isolated while Tanguy Ndombele and Harry Winks took too long on the ball.
There’s no point of playing five at the back when you lose completely the midfield battle. Comprehensively beaten, Spurs are in danger of having their season completely unravel in less than a week. We all knew losing Son Heung-Min wasn’t going to be easy, but few expected Jose to cope with it this poorly.
Admittedly Lady Luck hasn’t been on Spurs side lately. Every Premier League side would feel the effects of losing their top two attacking players. But Jose has shown no faith in the lads who are fit and raring to go. Chelsea were also without some of their best players, but showed purpose.
While Dele Alli had a woeful outing against RB Leipzig, I cannot understand why he didn’t get the start in a tie he’s enjoyed great success in. He’s had some of his best performances against Chelsea and needed the opportunity to redeem himself after a disappointing Champions League affair.
And then there’s Erik Lamela, whose performance midweek spurred his side on to a late revival against Leipzig. He was confident, aggressive and dynamic. Yet he sat on the bench at the Bridge until it was too late.
Usually I’m quite forgiving and reflective in the face of defeat, but today’s performance simply wasn’t good enough. Parking the bus and hoping for a wonder strike is not a viable game plan. And if Jose doesn’t realize that by now, we’re all lost.