Inside Lane: A Spurs fan’s views on the defeat at Everton
Spurs blogger Daniel Grigg gives his verdict on Sunday’s painful 2-1 defeat to Everton.
It’s happened four times this season - Tottenham score first against genuine top four contenders only to end up pointless and defeated.
The result leaves us frustrated and questioning why the defence still can’t manage to hold it together for a full 90 minutes, and on this occasion stoppage time.
Two clean sheets in 16 in the Premier League came only minutes away from becoming three. But goals from former Spurs man Steven Pienaar and then Nikica Jelavic, turned a very commendable and steadfast away performance into just another stick for those critics of Tottenham and their manager to beat them with.
Defensive injuries haven’t exactly helped Andre Villas-Boas’ cause though. No Benoit Assou-Ekotto since very early September and Kyle Naughton’s poor form at left back have left Jan Vertonghen as really the only option.
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The most dominating centre back at the club, Younes Kaboul, after spending last season on almost a one-man mission to head clear as many crosses and balls into the box as physically possible, hasn’t played since the opening day of the season.
He was needed after a week in which Panathanaikos’ Zeca and Pienaar, two natural wingers of barely 6 foot and 5 foot 7 respectively, both scored past Spurs with headed equalisers.
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It’s really been the ball into the box and not the one played in behind that high-line defence which has caught Tottenham out most often this season.
However, there were some positives even in defeat, notably the performances of Mousa Dembele, Sandro and Clint Dempsey. That is some powerhouse central midfield trio Spurs will have once Gareth Bale returns and they inevitably switch back to 4-5-1.
Hugo Lloris and Kyle Walker somewhat resurgent in their own form as well, both facing heavy scrutiny and high expectations each and every time they start.
Tottenham’s season has been one of victories or defeats, three points or nothing each week, without a Premier League draw since September 1 - a 1-1 with Norwich at White Hart Lane.
It’s left a big number in the defeat’s column, but also it’s what’s kept Spurs right up there with the likes of Everton and West Brom, regardless of not having found their full fluency.
8 wins and 5 defeats in 13 since Norwich. Actually doing what fans so often complain about when it isn’t happening - putting away the weaker sides and winning when you’re expected to, particularly away from home.
If the trend continues through December, with Swansea, Stoke, Aston Villa and Sunderland the next opponents, losing to Everton could very soon feel a much more distant memory.
But at the moment it’s a particularly horrible and bitter-tasting one.