Tottenham Hotspur were having their week of the season just seven days back. With an impressive draw against Real Madrid at Santiago Bernabeu and thrashing Liverpool at Wembley, people were talking about a team who can compete with Manchester City for the title.
But as they say in football, things can turn around quickly and so it proved to be as Mauricio Pochettino’s men suffered back-to-back loses against West Ham and Manchester United, all in the space of four days.
As we analyze their performance in those two defeats, we identify the key areas points which led to Spurs’ loss in both games.
Kane’s absence felt
Few weeks back, City manager Pep Guardiola, in a typically jovial manner called Spurs a ‘Harry Kane team’. A comment, which did not go well with Spurs manager however, recent showings suggest that Guardiola was not entirely wrong.
The 24-year-old is in the form of his life for the Lilywhites this year, and has already scored eight in nine outings which shows his worth is unmatched in the Spurs squad.
With Kane still not back to full fitness, Pochettino has some serious thinking to do as to what they should do in order to avoid any more slip ups.
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Lack of confidence in Llorente
Spurs signed Fernando Llorente from Swansea for £15 million, a fee which looked on the higher side considering he is 32-year-old and not having an outstanding record for his previous club.
By the look of things, he was largely recruited because he is a proven striker and has the understanding that he can’t replace Kane, thus will have to settle for a second-fiddle role.
Even though the Spanish international played a crucial part in the first goal on Wednesday night against West Ham in the League Cup, it seems that the Spurs boss still does not have enough confidence to give him a start in the absence of his star striker.
With Spurs competing on three fronts, Pochettino needs to give more support to his back-up options or else things could go awry for his side in the coming weeks.
Missing Dembele-Wanyama combo
Spurs' success last season was down to two soldiers who did not receive as much credit as they deserved, namely Moussa Dembele and Victor Wanyama.
The duo were one of the most stable pairings in central midfield and gave great protection to the defensive line.
Their absence was severely felt by Spurs in the midfield areas where Nemanja Matic and Ander Herrera, as a pair, were far superior to their counterparts.
Pochettino tried young Harry Winks and Christian Eriksen as the midfield duo, a move which was failed miserably. Winks clearly looked short on experience, while Eriksen in that role looked limited and his attacking threat was also reduced, which proved to be a huge blow for Spurs as they looked short while going forward on Saturday.