After another defeat in the Premier League, to a relegation fodder team in Southampton, Spurs could finish as low as sixth in a three horse race.
It was not that long ago that Spurs were talked about as being in the title challenge, though heavy outsiders, now after taking one point from their last four league games they’re standing third in the table just four points ahead of sixth place Chelsea in a four way battle for those remaining top four places.
Four games which Spurs have blown all by themselves – yes a little help from officialdom – but four games they quite easily should have won. Ahead against Burnley at home, you should win. Chelsea were there for the taking after the crowd and players had turned the manager, Arsenal haven’t beaten a big side away from home in years.
And then Southampton, one up and cruising, completely outplaying them, not taking the chances, plenty of them then not turning up for the second half.
Again Pochettino is calling the players out…
I am so, so, so disappointed… I am a little bit worried about this change from the first half to the second half – it’s only one thing, it’s mental.
It’s about complacency, it’s about arrogance in a bad way. You can use the first half as an example of [positive] arrogance, playing with intention, focus, concentration – we matched them in everything and we were much better.
And in the second half it’s the arrogance in a bad way. We need to blame all of us, the club. Mauricio Pochettino
It didn’t work last time, will it this time? It’s got longer to sink in this time around, with Spurs not playing until the last day of March. But much of that time they’ll all be away on international duty.
As with his last outburst at the players, he’s not wrong. They were cruising and they thought they could just carry on doing so. While the Southampton manager made changes at the break and brought his team back to life. Spurs only had the rested Son and Lamela available to change things. And well, neither have been firing on all cylinders in the last couple of league games.
That first was the good arrogance. The swagger was there. It helped having Dele back. Harry Kane especially was benefiting that link up was back between the pair. Dele had played Kane the ball from the Spurs half, Harry after a run played it back, then Dele chipped the ball over the defence back to the just onside Kane, who controlled the ball, then got it out from under his feet steadied himself and fired home the opener.
There was a calmness in this goal there hadn’t been earlier from Kane when he had numerous chances but seemed to snatch at them all.
Dele’s return also seemed to have a positive effect on Eriksen in that first half. He looked more interested than he has of late. He came close with that free-kick but it’s October 2015 since he last scored directly from one.
Southampton just started to run at Spurs in the second half. In the first it was the other way round, causing their back three all sorts of problems. Southampton shouldn’t have caused these problems. They introduced Shane Long. Now he can run, well up until he went of injured but he doesn’t score. One league goal this season, in a career that started in English football in 2005 he’s got into double figures just twice and one of them was in a 44 game Championship season.
You should be able to manage to defend that and it’s not bad arrogance to think so. But you have to put in some sort of effort and has been the case of late, effort has been in short supply. He’d gone off before Southampton equalised a goal where everyone in the defence just decided the ball was their probable and that the buck could be passed. No effort shown to stop the ball crossing across the face of the Spurs’ goal before inexplicably stepped over it to give the Southampton player a free shot. Hugo may have saved it if Valery had made clean contact. Scuffing it into the ground it bounced over the keeper.
It had been coming. As Southampton got lucky in the first half, Spurs were being lucky in the second as Redmond kept hitting the side netting.
Spurs luck held up then it turned. On a Southampton breakaway Walker-Peters clipped the home player. Clear foul and Walker-Peters is lucky probably to get only a yellow card. Ward-Prowse steps up and does what Eriksen couldn’t, scores direct from the free kick. But then you see in all the argument over what colour of card it should be the ball has been moved somewhat. Yeah not the usual roll it a foot or two, no. The foul takes place halfway in one strip of grass, the free-kick halfway inside the next strip. Ten yards…
Was everyone too busy arguing over whether KWP’s card should’ve been red to ask why the free kick was spotted where it was? pic.twitter.com/Ex2Pstf5R6
— Detroit Spurs (@DetroitSpurs) March 9, 2019
And no this isn’t the same as taking a throw-in from the wrong place. Ward-Prowse isn’t going direct for goal another ten yards back.
They got lucky later when Sissoko should have been sent off for going in with the head on Redmond – you do wonder what the Southampton player said to him though to make him follow up after the push. It was all over by then though.
It really was a game of two halves, it’s just Southampton took two of their chances, Spurs only one – in a game where they had two thirds of the ball, more attempts on and off target – and going from a team that didn’t lose to relegation strugglers to one that’s lost twice now within four games. All this while managing to see off the German league leaders.
Pochettino, sat in the stand due to his touchline ban – two games for a first offence, never been sent from the touchline as far as I can remember, yet other managers are regularly banished mid-game, pushing and shoving other managers and officials or gobbing off about officials and get a fine – was alongside what I believe is his wife. She did not look happy. Quite frankly Poch should have got her to rip into the players.
Poch left the Southampton in tears when he left to join Spurs. Tears of anger this time.
The new stadium doesn’t want to put on this rubbish…