Tottenham Hotspur couldn’t find a way past Crystal Palace on Sunday afternoon but their shortcomings didn’t stop them from relinquishing top spot in the Premier League.
Jose Mourinho’s side seemed content to sit on their slender lead after Harry Kane opened the scoring with a 30-yard strike, but they were made to pay for doing so nine minutes from regular time.
A cross from Eberechi Eze was spilled by Hugo Lloris into the path of Jeffrey Schlupp, who couldn’t miss from close range, meaning Spurs returned to the north-side of London with just one point.
The ‘Special One’ made wholesale changes from Thursday night’s table-topping victory over Royal Antwerp in the Europa League and also handed a surprise inclusion to Dele Alli, who had only made two of their previous 11 top-flight matchday squads prior to kick-off.
And despite making a solid case earlier in the week, Argentine playmaker Giovani Lo Celso, signed for just £27m, was snubbed for the return of Tanguy Ndombele and Moussa Sissoko – a decision from Mourinho that soon turned sour.
The 24-year-old has every right to feel aggrieved and perhaps even infuriated as he literally ran the show against the Belgian outfit – the only team that has defeated Spurs since the opening day of the Premier League season.
He didn’t do himself any harm last weekend either as the side ran out victorious against arch-rivals Arsenal too.
In his absence, Spurs lacked a real creative and energetic spark in the transition between midfield and attack – that much was seen when the £64m-rated maestro replaced the struggling Frenchman in the 67th minute.
Ndombele managed just one key pass from 27 accurate attempts, lost possession nine times and committed two fouls, per SofaScore.
In the Europa League, no Spurs player is averaging more key passes per game (1.8) then Lo Celso whilst in the English top-flight, the Argentine ranks ahead of the Frenchman, via WhoScored.
The “extraordinary” attacking midfielder very much deserved to start at Selhurst Park, and just maybe if he did, the north London outfit would’ve found that added spark in front of goal.
It was criminal to only bring the £70k-per-week dynamo on with a little over 20 minutes remaining.
AND in other news, Forget Lloris: £120k-per-week calamity badly let Mourinho down vs Palace…