Tottenham Hotspur’s unbeaten start to the 2021/22 Premier League season came to an abrupt end on Saturday afternoon as Nuno Santo’s ten-men were well beaten by Crystal Palace.
It was a nightmare from start to finish for the 47-year-old Portuguese. Already missing several key stars, including Heung-min Son, Steven Bergwijn and Davinson Sanchez, Spurs then lost Eric Dier to injury early in the first half before his central defensive partner Japhet Tanganga received his marching orders later in the second.
Much of the blame could lie with the young 22-year-old after his battle with Wilfried Zaha turned sour but in reality, the north Londoners were poor right across the pitch and plenty of other – more experienced – players needed to step up and be counted.
Zaha netted Palaces’ opener from the penalty spot 14 minutes from time before super-sub and debutant Odsonne Edouard, who was linked with a move to Spurs in the summer, came on and scored a late brace.
One of the biggest problems facing Nuno in recent weeks has been their creative struggles and throughout the 90 minutes, his side registered just two attempts on goal, compared to the Eagles’ 18, as per WhoScored.
Before kick-off, Tottenham had only scored three goals across their opening three games, so clearly they have struggled to create enough chances.
Dele Alli, who became a forgotten man under Jose Mourinho last season, has started all four of the Lilywhites’ league outings under the new boss but he has struggled to make much of an impact at all and that was very much the case at Selhurst Park, letting his manager down once again.
As someone who’s supposed to be the provider of the team, the £27m-rated England international recorded fewer touches (37) than goalkeeper Hugo Lloris (38), which goes to show that he either couldn’t influence the game, or Palace were just too dominant in possession.
Furthermore, as per SofaScore, the 25-year-old midfielder committed a game-high four fouls, gifting the ball back to the opposition, whilst he won just eight of his 17 duels (47%) and was dribbled past on two occasions, clearly struggling against the likes of Conor Gallagher and Cheikhou Kouyate.
football.london’s Alasdair Gold was less than impressed with Alli, too, grading him a 4/10 for his performance in his post-match ratings column.
All in all, the vastly experienced Alli needed to do a lot more to help out his side, as he could’ve done before Tanganga’s red. He badly let Nuno down after his continued faith in selecting him despite their creative woes.
AND in other news, Alasdair Gold drops fresh claim on Harry Kane’s future at Spurs…