In a must-win game, Ryan Mason chooses his desires to appease Tottenham fans over making decisions that could have helped Spurs to win. The strategy, tactics, and substitutions all showed a man well out of his depth as Tottenham looks to be giving away any shot at a real European competition next season.
Mason chooses posterity over progress
Before we completely throw Ryan Mason under the bus, we have to admit that we too had Harry Winks – inexplicably – in our matchday starting XI. Giving the academy product one last run out in front of the fans seemed like a nice idea. However, the reality of that was much different.
WInks is a shell of his former self who now struggles even with his touch under the slightest of pressure. As for completing a forward pass while on the run, forget it. So we may have said, start Winks – and even Bale for that matter – but we would have yanked Winks at halftime for a player who is no longer afraid of the ball.
As for Bale, if he cannot play two matches in four days, maybe he should no longer be a professional footballer. Good luck with that this summer Wales.
When Bale came on, Mason again got it all wrong
Tottenham had ONE good player in the first half and really only ONE good player in the second half, that was Steven Bergwijn. The Dutchman was a willing runner, a responsible defender, and happened to be the goalscorer on the day.
This was clearly a pre-planned substitution that had nothing to do with the situation. If it did, Bergwijn would have gone to the left, Bale would have come in on the right and Heung-Min Son would have walked off the pitch.
Sonny certainly disappointed on the day as he had zero key passes, zero dribbles, and zero shots. Alternatively, Bergwijn had 3 shots (all on target), 2 key passes (most on the team), and 3 dribbles (again most on the team). One has to wonder what match Mason was watching that Steven Bergwijn came off, as he was not struggling physically and was clearly Spur’s best player.
Tanguy still plays for Tottenham
It was a further two minutes after Bale came on, in the 74th minutes that Harry Winks was finally replaced by Tanguy Ndombele. Whether it was working on defense or making forward passes – Tanguy was 9 of 10, Ndombele moved the ball better and more confidently than did Winks. With any chance at Europe on the line, not making a change sooner in the engine room is really inexplicable.
The worst part of the entire match was how Harry Kane was used, which was not at all. If Kane did not drop deep to pick up the ball, he rarely saw it. The soon-to-be ex-Spurs talisman had a few touches in the second half in the box, but they were hurried and at rough angles.
As for service, well Kane got none. If you take away the four corners Son took, the South Korean managed only 1 cross the entire match. Harry Kane actually led the team with 4 crosses. When the teams’ striker is not in the box on the receiving end of crosses, something is wrong and it starts with the coaching.
With everything on the line, including Harry Kane’s future with the team, the inability to get the man service is just inexcusable. On a day when Tottenham needed more and needed leadership on the sidelines, they got a friend of the club instead and the results were what we have come to expect.