Tottenham Hotspur defender Matt Doherty is fast-becoming a major issue following yet another shocking performance on Sunday evening.
Jose Mourinho’s side were beaten 2-1 by arch-rivals Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium to put their hopes of breaching the top four in tatters, and it was a massive surprise to see the 29-year-old play the entire duration of the game.
Only two other starters from the visiting side received worse than his 6.4 rating as per SofaScore, and this was the worst of Spurs’ backline – even despite Davinson Sanchez reverting back to his old calamitous self in conceding the match-winning penalty.
Doherty was absolutely dominated from minute one, struggling to combat the threat of Emile Smith Rowe and Kieran Tierney, whose 7.4 ratings utterly eclipsed the Irishman.
The £26m-rated defender was a busy man on the right-flank as he notched a whopping 78 touches, third to Sanchez (86) and Toby Aldweiereld (79) but he struggled to do much despite being so frequently involved.
He lost possession 15 times, the second-most of any Spurs star, which meant that he handed the ball back to his bullies once every five touches, and once every six minutes, as per SofaScore.
It was that bad, Mourinho had to sacrifice Gareth Bale in the second half so that he could get Moussa Sissoko on to help Doherty defend, though the damage was already done by that point.
The Evening Standard’s Dan Kilpatrick dubbed the right-back a ‘weak link’ after grading his abysmal showing a 3/10. He wrote:
‘Easily beaten by Tierney for Arsenal’s opening goal in a dismal performance. The hosts had the run of his flank and he looked nervy and was positionally poor throughout.’
Whilst fans were quick to lambast his performance, as seen in this reaction piece where the overriding consensus is that Doherty was a liability throughout.
Last month, worrying reports emerged that put Doherty’s long-term future in north London in serious doubt – according to ESPN, Mourinho is unconvinced by the former Wolves man and could be willing to offload him in the summer.
Well, going by that display alone, it’s easy to see why such claims could be true.
Everyone at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will now be worried after Heung-min Son came off with a hamstring injury early in the first half, but solving this problem at right-back is now the biggest issue for Mourinho.
If Doherty isn’t the answer, then it puts major question marks over his arrival and it would leave the Portuguese back at square one in looking for that long-term option at right-back.
The fact that he lasted the full 90 with Serge Aurier on the bench speaks a lot. This is an issue that Mourinho now has to solve before it’s too late.