Inside Lane: Have Spurs paid the price for a lack of firepower on the bench?
Tottenham blogger George Lacey feels that, while Spurs have exceeded all expectations this season, the lack of a plan B was evident in Monday’s costly draw against West Bromwich Albion.
Before our game against West Brom, I’d convinced myself Spurs would go on and snatch the title. I’d had a hunch for a while and I’d fancied this coming weekend’s fixtures would turn the tide at the top.
However, the Baggies avoided a Monday night massacre at the Lane, went back to the Midlands with a point and are now unbeaten in their last four visits to Tottenham, getting a 1-1 draw on three of those occasions.
After Spurs’ brilliant display at Stoke last week, it seemed we were on track for a thrilling end to the season. Many fans, myself included, would admit they may have looked past the West Brom match and already started to look forward to a pulsating clash at Stamford Bridge on Bank Holiday Monday.
Yet, while Mauricio Pochettino’s team have performed heroics this season, they were below par in the second half against Albion. Did we run out of ideas? Were we outfought? Was fatigue a factor maybe? Surely not, given what was at stake.
What we lacked, perhaps – and not for the first time – was game-changing quality from the bench; a substitution that could rouse the crowd and lift the efforts of the struggling first XI.
Tottenham’s plan A has consistently delivered the goods, but the absence of a plan B has been evident and was again on Monday night.
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Pochettino waited until the 85th minute to introduce our £22million signing Heung-Min Son, while Nacer Chadli only came on for the final moments.
Son has found opportunities sparse this season. Is he good enough for Spurs? The answer remains to be seen and it is probably too harsh to judge him at this stage, but his tally of six goals in 37 appearances is not particularly flattering.
Once Pochettino found his best team, the noise about our failure to sign a striker largely disappeared, and Harry Kane has borne the weight of responsibility up top.
But there have been games that have needed a different approach, another option, which is so often found on substitute benches throughout the Premier League.
What we have had is a very efficient and impressive first team but not much beyond that. Taking nothing away from the squad’s magnificent efforts this season, a little stardust from the bench could have made the title race a whole lot closer.
Follow me @GeorgeLacey_