Lamentable Spurs shoot themselves in the foot six times

Posted by Dan Fitch

When you face a Manchester City side that are in brilliant form at home, you really don't want to give away a silly opening goal. And you really, really don't want to give away that silly goal after 14 seconds. That's just what Spurs did, and if they thought that things couldn't get worse after such a poor start to Sunday's 6-0 loss, they were badly wrong.

- Report: Man City 6-0 Tottenham

Having kicked off, Tottenham passed the ball further and further back as City harassed them. Eventually the ball came to Hugo Lloris, whose terrible clearance went straight to Sergio Aguero, resulting in the goalkeeper having to pull off a good save. The ball came out to the right wing and Jesus Navas. The situation didn't look particularly dangerous, but Navas shocked everyone by hitting it over Lloris and into the top corner.

Spurs couldn't have gotten off to a worse start, but they responded well in the short term. They dominated possession and with Aaron Lennon on the right and Erik Lamela on the left, looked better balanced. No real chances were created, though. Sound familiar?

Tottenham were punished for their bluntness in the final third when City made it 2-0, thanks to another poor clearance from Lloris. This one, at least, nearly reached the halfway line but went straight to a City shirt. Again, Lloris saved the resulting shot, but the ball fell to Alvaro Negredo, whose shot ricocheted off Younes Kaboul and then Sandro, en route to the back of the net.

As improbable as it might seem, this calamitous opening period of the match was as good as it got for Spurs. They could at least chalk the two goals down to a rare poor day at the office from Lloris. These things happen occasionally, and what's important is how you respond.

Unfortunately, Tottenham's response was to completely fall apart. I'm not going to detail the four goals that followed, because it would merely prove to be a deeply depressing exercise for me to write and for you to read.

Instead, I'll just point out the main problems that saw a probable loss turn into a thrashing. Instead of trying to fight back, Spurs' bottle went. Who are the leaders in this side? This was a limp, cowardly performance that makes you scared for the immediate future. The team are now under pressure and the evidence suggests that they won't be able to handle it.

The defending was appalling. Kaboul, Michael Dawson and Jan Vertonghen all made individual errors which led to goals, but the problems don't stop at the back four. Both Lewis Holtby and Lamela could have prevented goals if they’d tracked back properly and not let their man slip away.

In midfield, the creativity is nonexistent. I've been a fan of Paulinho since he came to the club, but he looked really poor today. As I've mentioned previously, he's got a legitimate reason to be fatigued having featured in the Confederations Cup this summer and he has only just returned from international duty, which saw him flying to Miami and then Brazil, before returning to London.

Surely the point of having a deep squad is having the luxury to rest a player like Paulinho after such an ordeal? He looks dog-tired and would benefit from a spell on the bench.

In attack, the promise of the two wingers fizzled out once the second goal went in. Roberto Soldado again looked completely isolated and was partnered by Emmanuel Adebayor in a 4-4-2 in the second- half. Don't be surprised if that's the formation for the next home game against Manchester United.

Losing this game by a goal or even two would not have been a sign of big problems. City are a very good side, after all. Losing by six goals, however, means that some difficult questions will be asked of Andre Villas-Boas. Thankfully, this defeat won't be followed by a lengthy international break, so at least AVB and his staff can get to work straight away on trying to iron out the multiple problems in the team.

Next up is Tromso -- a match that no one cares about. It doesn't matter if Spurs lose that. The main priority is for the team to be prepared and ready to put in an infinitely better performance when they face Manchester United a week from Sunday.


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