5 talking points from Tottenham’s 1-1 draw at West Bromwich Albion
Nacer Chadli and Dele Alli both struck inside the final 10 minutes as Tottenham drew 1-1 against West Bromwich Albion for the third time in a row. Here are five talking points.
1. The Baggies continue to be a bogey team.
Tottenham proved again before the international break that they can beat the top teams, having ended Manchester City’s perfect start to the season.
However, today’s trip to West Brom was an equally important test of their title credentials – examining their consistency and ability to break down defensive sides away from home – and they were unable to secure the three points.
Albion held Tottenham to 1-1 draws in both of last season’s encounters, delivering a hammer blow to the north Londoners’ title bid at White Hart Lane in April, and it was the same story again this time. Spurs have only won one of their last seven games against the Baggies.
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Missed chances proved costly in the first half as Ben Foster performed heroics in the Albion goal and, in the end, Spurs had to come from behind to grab a point late on.
2. …So the unbeaten run continues, at least.
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While Tottenham certainly wanted more than a point at The Hawthorns, they were on the verge of their first Premier League defeat of the season in the final minutes as Chadli struck against his former club in the 82nd minute.
But Spurs refused to lose and Alli’s 89th-minute equaliser ensured the Lilywhites remain the only unbeaten team in the top flight. Like the 1-1 draw against Liverpool at the Lane earlier in the season, they showed character to fight back and get a result.
3. Toby Alderweireld’s injury.
Spurs have had to contend with a number of injuries to key players already this season, losing Hugo Lloris, Danny Rose, Harry Kane, Mousa Dembele and Eric Dier for various periods.
Now Alderweireld is also in the treatment room after suffering what appeared to be a knee injury around the hour-mark.
The Belgian centre-back, who is such a key figure in the centre of defence, beat the ground in pain and frustration before being stretchered off.
It is a big blow for Spurs at the start of a very busy period. This was the first of seven games in the space of 23 days, including two Champions League group games and a north London derby against Arsenal.
Tottenham fans will be anxiously waiting for news after Alderweireld’s first scan, and will be crossing their fingers for a positive prognosis.
4. Vincent Janssen leads the line well but fails to score - again.
The Dutchman was recalled to the starting line-up and held the ball up effectively while creating chances for others.
He was a handful for Albion’s defenders, retained or won possession on a few occasions when it seemed difficult to do so, and created chances for others – notably when he sent Alli clean through on goal.
However, Spurs’ striker drew a blank again and that penalty against Gillingham remains his only goal for the club.
Will Pochettino recognise his value to Tottenham’s build-up play or replace him with someone who looks more likely to hit the net as he awaits Kane’s return? Will Son start up front against his old club Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League on Tuesday night?
5. Moussa Sissoko struggles to make an impact.
The £30million summer signing gave Spurs some extra power and height against a physical Albion outfit, but the aim of the game was to pass and move in tight spaces and break down a defensive home side, and Sissoko offered very little in that respect.
There were very few opportunities for the France international to move through the gears and open up his legs down the right flank, and there were some loose touches, while he failed to make the most of his opportunities to cross the ball from wide areas.
A switch to the left flank did little to improve Sissoko’s performance. He looks better suited to more open matches where there he is able to make driving runs with the ball and attack the space behind a full-back.
There was precious little of that today and it took just over an hour for him to make a meaningful contribution as a deflected shot went just wide of goal. It was no surprise when he was substituted soon after.
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs