Let’s put things into perspective. Mourinho has only overseen one Premier League win in the last 5. Watford on the other hand have won 4 out of the last 5. Simply put, Watford are favourites to get all 3 points. Any away points taken by Spurs at this moment would be an achievement. Not expected much.
Yet another opportunity to pick up points in this hectic Xmas season.
Whilst Norwich lie at the bottom of the league, Spurs would do well not to under-estimate the Canaries. After all, they have already beaten the champions, Man City, on home turf, so anything is still possible.
Once more, this is an away win on paper but Spurs have to consider the cost of the victory over Brighton on Boxing Day as yellow cards shown to Sissoko and Winks resulted in suspensions for this crucial game.
Which makes Mourinho’s selection quite tricky especially as apart from Dier, neither Ndombele and Wanyama have really started under the new head coach in the last month. I expect Mourinho to keep most of his favoured line-up intact save for the enforced absences.
A narrow win for Spurs wouid be the perfect end to 2019!
Possible line-up : Gazzaniga, Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Dier, Ndombele, Lo Celso, Alli, Moura, Kane.
As pretty as Dele Alli’s goal was to win this tight encounter, it did not reflect Spurs’ overall performance in this hard-fought Boxing Day fixture against a feisty Brighton side.
In the first half, the old habits of early season Spurs were on full display. Ponderous toothless attack, nervous defending and general apathy amongst the players about how to get the better of (admittedly) inferior opposition.
Kudos to head coach Jose Mourinho for changing things around in the second half. The introduction of Giovani Lo Celso brought greater urgency to Spurs’ offensive approach. Lucas Moura’s endeavour was rewarded with a huge slice of fortune which gave Harry Kane two bites of the cherry before burying Spurs’ equaliser emphatically.
Then, Christian Eriksen was brought on and suddenly gaps were opening up in Brighton’s middle third for Spurs to exploit. Eriksen acquitted himself well with a lovely ball that found Serge Aurier in the penalty box and the wing back’s flick found Dele Alli in space to instinctively lift the ball over Brighton’s Matt Ryan for a brilliant team goal that proved to be the winner.
That was the 72nd minute and Mourinho took immediate action to secure the three points with a defensive substitution that more or less brought Spurs home. This victory was absolutely vital as it returned Spurs to winning ways and with Chelsea losing to Southampton, narrowed the gap to the top 4 back to three points.
All that mattered were the three points and that was achieved. Kudos.
Spurs and Jose Mourinho were brought crashing down to earth in that lacklustre defeat to Chelsea, casting doubts on the sustainability of the mini-revival that the new head coach had engineered in his first month in the job.
That dire performance was compared to another – the awful 0-3 reverse on the South Coast that summed up Spurs’ woes this season. Fact is, these poor displays have typified the dilemma that Spurs find themselves in this season – too many matches in which our vaunted players do not bother to turn up!
Today’s Boxing Day fixture gives these same players the perfect opportunity to get revenge over Brighton and to get back on track for the Top 4 battle. However, problems with our defensive formation, central midfield, AND the absence of Son Heung-Min through suspension stand in the way of success.
Which is where Mourinho needs to come up with solutions to decisively handle these clear-cut problems. Son’s absence hopefully will lead to the return of Giovani Lo Celso to the starting lineup.
I say “hopefully” because there is every chance that Mourinho will start the wantaway Christian Eriksen, even though the Dane has done nothing to warrant inclusion. There is a certain perverse logic in Mourinho (and Pochettino before him) continuing to place faith in a player who clearly does not give a fuck about the club anymore.
But that’s the main issue with this Spurs squad – they are certainly good enough to beat any team but the winning mentality is sometimes not evident at all. Formation and tactics play their part as well and this is supposed to be areas in which Mourinho is the expert. Well, he demonstrated none of that in the Chelsea game which was particularly worrying.
On paper, this should be an easy win for Spurs but Spurs are notorious for making things difficult for themselves – Son getting red carded is the prime example of that – and so your guess is as good as mine.
Possible line-up : Gazzaniga, Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Winks, Ndombele, Dele, Lo Celso, Moura, Kane.
Putting aside the fact that this was a crucial home game against Top 4 challengers, this was a London derby and yet the Spurs players never turned up! Not only that but Jose Mourinho got his tactics and selection WRONG and was outwitted by a newbie. So much for the Special One!
To compound matters, horrendous individual errors from Paulo Gazzaniga and Son Heung-Min made things easy for Chelsea. Not that any of the other players will be able to escape blame for this disaster of a performance.
Now we Spurs fans love Sonny but seriously, he cannot be so naive & indisciplined as to be sent off already three times this year – yes I know the Everton red was rescinded but it made no difference to the final result – Mourinho has to sort Sonny out! No excuses for such careless behaviour!
We saw in the Wolves game that the central midfield combination of Eric Dier and Moussa Sissoko just does not work and that Jan Vertonghen is exposed and vulnerable when played in this full back/centre back role. Without any other player covering, it gave Chelsea acres of space in that area of the pitch and its was exploited to the hilt.
Surely, Tanguy Ndombele should have started instead of Dier and once more we lost the midfield battle and could not get going offensively. Again, perhaps Lo Celso should have come on instead of the ultimately ineffective Eriksen. Baffling!
Why does Mourinho insist on employing this strategy when it has not worked against the top teams. Yes we should be encouraged by most of the results so far but the performances against Man Utd and Chelsea are very worrying. Mourinho has only been in the job for a month, so it’s still a learning process for him and the players but some of these key issues need sorting out and soon!
Brighton at home coming up on Boxing day to get things back on track!!!
Mourinho vs Lampard. Fourth vs Fifth. London rivalry.
Expect a cracker as points and pride are at stake with a few side narratives to consider as well.
Not much to say except that Mourinho has had another training week with the squad and they will be ready to have a go at Chelsea. Do not believe that Mourinho will make too many changes but would like to see Ndombele coming in for Dier. We will see! Spurs to edge the match!
Probably the most significant win of Jose Mourinho’s short reign at Spurs so far. While it was not the dominant, freewheeling performance we witnessed last week against Burnley, this gritty, gutsy display demonstrated a winning mentality from Spurs rarely seen this year.
No argument that Wolves were probably the better team and deserved to win but it’s the result that matters. Spurs dug in deep to defend in numbers and when that failed, Paulo Gazzaniga did an admirable job in fending away the Wolves attempts.
Perhaps Spurs played deep because of their early lead, earned by an exquisite individual effort from Lucas Moura. Apart from a gild-edged chance which Eric Dier planted onto the post, Spurs were rarely an attacking threat for the rest of the game.
Until the very end in fact. When Mourinho sent Christian Eriksen on in the 89 minute, Spurs fans were mostly upset and incredulous at the decision. But the canny Mourinho saw that perhaps in the final minutes, Eriksen’s ability at set pieces might pay dividends.
But surely even Mourinho could not have predicted that winner from Jan Vertonghen. Eriksen’s superb corner found the unmarked Belgian who guided the ball firmly into the Wolves net. This was Spurs turning a well-earned point into an excellent three! A rarity certainly in recent times but welcomed!
This result presents Spurs with the perfect opportunity to get back into the top four at the expense of Chelsea, when the London rivals clash at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium next week! Who would have thought that when Mourinho was appointed? Exciting times!!
With Chelsea and Leicester both dropping points yesterday, the need for points to cut the gap to a Top 4 place arises in a tough fixture away to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Wolves are a point ahead of Spurs and a win today will go a long way towards Jose Mourinho’s rehabilitation plan. Apart from the narrow victory at West Ham in Mourinho’s first game, there have been tepid performances in Munich and Manchester to take into account when assessing Spurs’ chances.
At this stage, I believe that a minimum of a point from Wolves would be fair but three points must be the target. By this time, Mourinho’s selection will be predictable – expect the same lineup as against Burnley, last Saturday.
Precisely the tonic we needed after the tepid defeat at Old Trafford.
Right from the kick-off, Spurs looked like a team with an overwhelming desire to win. Poor Burnley had no answer to the potent attacking play of Kane, Moura, Dele and Son.
And Son provided the highlight of the match with a world class individual effort, picking the ball just outside his own penalty box and then racing down the length of the field, evading Burnley defenders’ desperate tackles before calmly slotting home.
Kane opened the scoring with an early goal, putting a rocket past the helpless Pope, an indication of the day the Burnley goalkeeper was going to have. This was quickly followed up by a dynamic team move with ended up with Moura prodding home from close range.
In the second half, Spurs took their foot off the pedal somewhat but still managed engineer a brace of goals – from Kane and Sissoko (!) to complete an excellent day out.
Jose Mourinho would have been especially pleased with the clean sheet though to be honest, Aurier did nothing to enhance his reputation as a defender as he allowed Burnley winger McNeill too much time and space to deliver decent crosses throughout the game. Luckily for Spurs, nothing worked for the visiting strikers but certainly a problem to take note.
Still work to be done BUT Spurs still heading in the right direction under Mourinho.