Tottenham Hotspur clearly haven’t learned their lesson.
Once again, they sat back in the second half and invited pressure to the point of the opposition scoring.
It wasn’t too long ago that Spurs sat top of the table with both Heung-min Son and Harry Kane scoring goals for fun, now they have slipped to sixth place having also dropped points to Crystal Palace and Wolverhampton Wanderers in the very same manner.
Indeed, Fulham had more shots (eight) than the home side (five) in the second half and also dominated possession, notching a total of 55% – a total contrast to the opening period as Jose Mourinho’s side were in complete control with 58% possession, via SofaScore.
After Harry Kane opened the scoring by ending a fine move which saw Sergio Reguilon whip a delightful ball in for him to nod home, Spurs were pegged back in the 74th minute when Eric Dier was caught napping from a cross himself. The diminutive 5 foot 9 Ivan Cavaleiro beat him to a header.
Though, the Englishman’s game overall, aside from that one momentary lapse in concentration, was actually pretty decent – he managed three clearances, two tackles and enjoyed more touches than any other Spurs player (94), per SofaScore.
This shows that he had a major influence in starting Spurs’ counter-attacks as not even the playmaking Tanguy Ndombele could get near such numbers (69) having only played nine fewer minutes.
He also proved to be a strong presence at the back, thwarting Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who endured the match’s second-lowest rating of 6.2 after completing just one of five dribbles as well as losing the ball 15 times, per SofaScore.
Other culprits let Mourinho down far worse at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last night, perhaps surprisingly, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was one huge disappointment.
The great Dane, often a powerhouse in the middle of the pitch, averaging 2.8 tackles, 2.2 fouls and 1.2 interceptions per game on the season via WhoScored, was instead wasteful and lightweight against the Cottagers.
Only one other Spurs player graded worse than his 6.3 rating as he won only 35% of his 14 duels, he won 12 out of 17 in the 3-0 victory against Leeds United last time out as a comparison, and committed four fouls, which is nearly double his usual mean as above. He was even dribbled past four times, which was more than anyone else on the pitch, per SofaScore.
The £27m-rated summer arrival was completely dominated by his opposite numbers Harrison Reed, who made six tackles, and Andre Zambo Anguissa, who successfully pulled off six dribbles, thus the pair ran rings around Hojbjerg all night.
“He’s a captain without needing to wear the armband,” Mourinho said in October (via The Athletic) – well if that’s the case, then the ‘Special One’ has every right to feel aggrieved and let down by Hojbjerg’s outing on Wednesday night.
Someone with that acclaim, on over £100k-per-week too, should be doing so, so much better.
AND in other news, Spurs can find next Jan Vertonghen in “phenomenal talent” lauded by Messi…