Antonio Conte’s first match in charge offered a mixed bag, as Tottenham struggled to muster anything offensively in the scoreless draw.
Everton’s defence is good, but not that good. Tottenham’s attacking players made Everton’s rearguard look like world beaters. While the effort was clearly there, Spurs offensive trio require an injection of confidence, which wasn’t forthcoming in another difficult outing on Merseyside.
3. Another match without a shot on target
You have to go back to the 44th minute of the match against West Ham to find Spurs last shot on target, when Harry Kane’s headed attempt was saved acrobatically by Łukasz Fabiański. Spurs have played two and half matches, 226 minutes (3.75 hours), since that moment occurred. Tottenham have been kept off the scoresheet in three successive matches, last scoring on the cusp of halftime against Newcastle on Oct. 17.
Giovanni Lo Celso hit the post in the dying embers of this afternoon’s match. Unfortunately that doesn’t count as a shot on target. It’s a trend that will concern Conte, who has a couple of weeks to figure out what his side need to do to start creating more chances. Having said that, there were some promising signs against Everton. Along with Lo Celso’s near miss, Sergio Reguilon and Emerson Royal both should have at least hit the target on golden opportunities.
2. Harry Kane’s subpar doppelgänger
Will the real Harry Kane please stand up? Because I’m sick of seeing his distinctly inferior doppelgänger. With all due respect, Kane, other than a brilliant cross to the back post for Sergio Reguilon, was completely absent. Kane enjoyed a much-improved performance midweek against Vitesse, albeit against a far inferior opponent.
One would have expected Antonio Conte’s arrival to have an immediate positive impact on Spurs’ talisman. To a certain degree, his performance in the European Conference League on Thursday showed promising signs.
All of that positivity was undone by yet another listless, lumbered, cumbersome Kane performance. He is too slow on the ball, doesn’t look fit and was dominated by Michael Keane, who was Kane’s superior in every way. If Conte cannot rejuvenate Kane at Tottenham, nobody can.
Let’s not seal Kane’s fate quite yet, as Conte’s tenure is still less than a week in. In fairness to Kane, today’s match wasn’t for the faint of heart. A palpable lack of space made things more challenging. But we’ve come to expect so much more from the legend. Hopefully two weeks away from the club is enough for Kane to regain his vintage form in north London.
1. Wingbacks’ underperforming
Royal and Reguilon are not playing at the level Conte needs for his formation to be successful. Arguably the most important positions in either of Conte’s preferred formations — 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 — the Spaniard and Brazilian are struggling to elevate their respective levels.
Royal and Reguilon showed signs of promise going forward against Vitesse, but were both liable on the defensive side. Additionally, Vitesse is far inferior to pretty much every Premier League side, which was evident by the wingback’s subpar outings on Merseyside.
Reguilon conceded possession needlessly seven times and missed a sitter at the back post. Royal wasn’t much better, with the Brazilian also cowering on a golden opportunity to head home. Let’s see if Conte can elicit what is required from these two wingbacks. Otherwise, expect the Italian gaffer to find proficient alternatives. Again, it’s way too early to tell whether Reguilon and Royal have the all-round quality to prove themselves in such highly demanding roles.