After two negative results against sides who have struggled so far this season, it’s probably fair to say that Tottenham Hotspur can start to think about cup competitions as their best chance of success this season.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side could drop 16 points behind Manchester City tonight if the league leaders beat Southampton, but more importantly, they could drop as low as seventh, four points adrift of fourth place.
There probably aren’t too many positives to take from a night when things fell apart early for Spurs, though two misses from close range – one from Christian Eriksen and one from Fernando Llorente – should have allowed Pochettino’s side to level things, and they were denied a penalty late on which could well have rescued a point.
That incident seemed to sum up a night when nothing went right for Spurs, but it occurred when Danny Rose wandered into the box in the dying minutes.
The stats show that Rose, just back from injury, was one of the stand-out performers. There are mixed messages from Tottenham, Rose and Pochettino about the left-back’s future, but he could well have an important role to play in his side’s ability to finally win a trophy this season.
Playing at wing-back, his job is to be an all-rounder, which he managed to do, winning all of his tackles, making two key passes, and keeping an 82% pass accuracy rate, which isn’t too bad when your job is to make things happen on the wing. Indeed, his accuracy is just one percentage point lower than his team’s average.
The rest of this season won’t be easy for Spurs. They are out of the title race and will have to prioritise other areas if they’re to have a successful season as well as making sure they finish in the top four. That means they still have to fight on many fronts. But with Danny Rose – valued at £25.2m by transfermarkt.com – coming back to fitness and hitting form, Tottenham once again have four full-backs – two on either side – that they can call upon for the rest of the campaign.
And even if this is to be the England left-back’s final season at the club, they’ll need to make the most of having him around.