Nacer Chadli opened the scoring against his former club in the 82nd minute as he fired a rebound into the roof of the net. Dele Alli then salvaged a point for the Lilywhites as he met Christian Eriksen’s pass, poking the ball home seven minutes later.
Tottenham started the game with a 4-1-4-1 formation, with the hope that an extra attacking midfielder would help break down a defensive and well organised West Brom side. Before the game manager Mauricio Pochettino commented that his team were struggling with fitness issues after the international break, which is why two changes were made to the team. This included Ben Davies coming in for Danny Rose and Vincent Janssen for the on form Heung-Min Son. The change of striker also meant that Spurs could match the physicality of Tony Pulis’s men as Janssen’s strength and ability to hold up the ball helped Spurs break down WBA’s defence.
Tottenham dominated the first half with an excellent performance from Foster denying Spurs an entrance. In the first half the ‘keeper made four match changing saves, including a one-on-one with Dele Alli. However that is not to dismiss Spurs’s poor finishing throughout. Tottenham finished that game with 70% possession and 20 shots at goal compared to West Brom’s eight, suggesting that the result left Tottenham with two points dropped, but with Alli’s goal arriving in the later stages of the game, should Tottenham be relieved?
Spurs' set pieces dilemma
Nacer Chadli’s goal was the first goal Spurs have conceded from open play this season, but even so the chance started from a set piece. Chris Brunt’s corner was met by James McClean, who’s shot was saved by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris. However, the rebound was met by Chadli who was unmarked and fired the ball into the back of the net. While it was an excellent finish, poor defending led to WBA’s goal.
McClean’s marker was unaware of his positioning and so did little to stop the ball falling to his feet while a quick run from Chadli allowed him to pounce onto the end of Lloris’s save. Last season Spurs had some trouble in defending set pieces and the problem seems to have worsened over the summer. With the height and physicality of the Tottenham squad it is surprising that this is a problem.
Toby Alderweireld’s injury
The game also saw a turn for the worse for defender Toby Alderweireld. The Belgian was stretchered off the pitch after his partner Jan Vertonghen caught his knee. Alderweireld has missed just four minutes of Premier League action for Tottenham since his move from Atletico Madrid last summer and was vital in their title challenge last year. His partnership with Vertonghen has had an impressive impact on Spur’s defences as they conceded the least amount of goals last season and have carried this title into the beginning of this one.
Pochettino has already confirmed that Alderweireld will not feature in their midweek Champions League clash against Bayer Leverkusen as they are still to identify the cause, before adding that the player is in a considerably large amount of pain. With Tottenham having to face West Ham, Arsenal and Chelsea in November, fans can only hope that their star defender is back by then.