Tottenham Hotspur suffered a third successive defeat in the Premier League on Thursday evening, and much of the blame may lie in the hands of returning defender Eric Dier.
But it shouldn’t.
The 27-year-old was left out of the lineup down at Brighton, and after being introduced by Jose Mourinho for their London derby against Chelsea, he conceded the penalty for the only goal of the game in the 24th minute.
However, had that not happened, it’s unlikely that Dier would be spoken about in such negative light. If anything, besides that momentary lapse in concentration, he was one of the rare shining lights.
Indeed, SofaScore graded him as Spurs’ best player with a rating of 7.4, which was a whole 0.5 higher than any other player. Dier put his body on the line time and time again to deny the Blues any chance of capitalising on that one-goal lead.
He recorded five more clearances (eight) and five more blocks (six) than any other player, home or away. He also made a match-tied best of three tackles and was only outrated by Chelsea’s Reece James, via SofaScore.
His busy output was indicative of just how well he performed considering Thomas Tuchel’s side only scored from the spot and managed two shots on target all night.
Instead, the blame must lie elsewhere, perhaps in the direction of Ben Davies at left-back as he recorded the worst rating (6.1) in the Spurs starting XI.
Given that James received the Man of the Match rating on SofaScore, it’s fair to suggest that the Welshman struggled on the left flank. He was the most dribbled past Spurs player (four times) whilst he was weak in the battle against the England international as he won only one of six duels (16%), via SofaScore.
He was also above and beyond the most wasteful home star on the pitch, which will have Mourinho raging as he lost possession a whopping 20 times, eight more times than any man playing in white.
It meant he handed the ball back to Chelsea once every 3.6 touches, or once every 4.5 minutes. Wasteful and careless are merely two words that spring to mind.
Dier cost them the match-winning goal, yes, but there was nothing more disappointing than Davies massively letting down his manager with such an abject display.
As mentioned above, but for the penalty, it could be Dier being lauded as a point-earner.
The 27-year-old, valued at €20m (£18m) by CIES, barely made it past the halfway line as per his SofaScore heatmap, so it’s no wonder Heung-min Son’s influence was neutralised substantially.
Davies was absolutely shocking on the night.
AND in other news, Mourinho dealt cruel double injury blow to key Spurs duo…