Tottenham Hotspur’s long wait for silverware seems likely to go on after they were well-beaten in the first leg of their Carabao Cup semi-final clash against Antonio Conte’s former club, Chelsea, on Wednesday evening.
The north Londoners were dominated from the first minute and looked a world away from truly competing against the Champions of Europe at Stamford Bridge.
Conte named a largely full-strength side with just two changes from the New Year’s Day triumph over fellow capital city rivals Watford – Japhet Tanganga replaced Eric Dier, who was not even in the matchday squad, whilst Matt Doherty made a rare appearance at left wing-back over Sergio Reguilon.
After being the goalscoring hero on Saturday, Davinson Sanchez endured a nightmare down in west London, proving to be at fault for Kai Havertz’s opener before conceding a comedy own goal after the returning Tanganga headed the ball off Ben Davies’ shoulder and it flew past a helpless Hugo Lloris.
However, it was the £10.8m-rated Ireland international that was hooked at the break after another shocking outing in the Lilywhites colours. A rather damning move from Conte as the 29-year-old has been linked with a move away from Spurs this transfer window.
Perhaps that ought to be his final game for the club.
Across his 45 minutes on the pitch, he registered the fewest touches of any starter (20), which was even fewer than goalkeeper Lloris (34) and his replacement Tanguy Ndombele (24). Meanwhile, he also made only nine accurate passes, as per SofaScore.
As a wing-back, he would be expected to contribute in the final third, too, but it seems as if he struggled to have an influence there, failing to register a single dribble or cross.
Tanganga and Sanchez received quite the criticism from reporters after the game but it was Doherty who was consistently rated as Conte’s worst performer on the night.
‘Out of position on the left and often looked out of his depth. Struggled to make any inroads down his flank, and frequently lost the ball,’ wrote the Evening Standard’s Dan Kilpatrick, whilst Alasdair Gold at football.london graded him a dismal three out of ten.
On the evidence above, the defender – who earns a reported £74k-per-week in N17 – must never play for Tottenham again. Fabio Paratici and co must look to sell him as soon as possible, there is surely no way back now.
AND in other news, Fabrizio Romano drops major Hugo Lloris update at Spurs…