A comeback but still a poor result. Superficially this was similar to Tottenham’s excellent fight back against Southampton, in reality it was a world away. Southampton are a good team, West Bromwich Albion clearly aren’t.
In some ways Sherwood’s team selection made sense – the first time in his tenure he has named an unchanged side. Spurs had won 5-1 in our previous game, so why change a winning formula? Still, 4-4-2 away from home, with a central midfield of Paulinho and Chadli, seemed risky. In addition, I still don’t understand why Eriksen is being played out wide, or why Rose is being played at all.
In the first half, all Spurs’ weaknesses were on show. Firstly the slow starts. Tottenham’s aggregate score for the first 15 minutes in games in this years Premier League, stands at 0-9. Here, the beginning of the game was appalling, even by those standards. One down after 27 seconds, two down in the first four minutes, to the team currently lying 16th in the league.
The first goal came from poor defending on the left by – surprise, surprise – Danny Rose. Amalfitano beat him with ease on the byline, sending in a cross that Lloris could only palm out to Albion’s young Czech striker, Matej Vydra, who volleyed home.
The second was also created on Spurs’ defensively weak left hand side, another individual error leading to a goal. This time it was Eriksen, who never looks comfortable defending out wide, who slipped gifting West Brom possession in a dangerous area. Steven Reid put in a cross that was headed on to Brunt, arriving on the right, somehow unmarked. Another smart finish and it was 2-0.
Why is it, that every other person who has watched Spurs this season can see that our left is a weakness, but Sherwood can’t? Or is he just too stubborn to do anything about it?
Then came a chance at redemption. Tottenham won a penalty after Rose was felled in the area. Adebayor wasted the opportunity with one of the tamest penalties you will ever see. For once, we could have done with a fit Soldado.
The third was another defensive nightmare. Tottenham were pushed up high. Kaboul flicked a dangerous header back towards goal, leading to a foot race between Chiriches and Sessegnon. The Albion midfielder won the battle, perhaps with the aid of a pull of Chiriches’ shirt, and put the ball past Lloris for a 3-0 lead. Just over half an hour gone and we were looking at another disaster.
If the teams had gone in at half time like that, West Brom would probably have held on to win, but then came the piece of luck that sparked the comeback. Jonas Olsson put the ball into his own net, after good work from Kane and Lennon. Kane was having another bright game, getting into good positions, playing some clever passes and going close to scoring on a couple of occasions. He was pretty much the only good thing about Tottenham in the first 45 minutes.
At half time, Sherwood reacted belatedly, taking off Chiriches and bringing on Fryers. I would have liked to see the young defender replace Rose but at least it was an attempt to fix the problems. I like Chiriches, he seems to have all the tools to become a great defender, but at present he is a raw talent. He was certainly having a bad game, but the same could be said of any of our defenders.
To be fair, they weren’t getting much support from midfield. We could have done with more of a defensive presence there. With Sandro, Capoue and Dembele injured, we are short in this area. I would have liked to have seen the young Veljkovic given an opportunity.
In the second half Spurs were much better and created enough chances to merit the draw. Kane and Eriksen were the pick of our attacking players, which gives us something to build on next season. Kane scored Spurs’ second with a header, after some nice work on the wing by Lennon. Then it was left to our usual saviour, Christian Eriksen, to seal the comeback with the equaliser in time added on. The ball came to him in the penalty area. He made room for himself, then fired a fierce volley into the corner of the net.
It was a little harsh on West Brom, conceding a late equaliser, in injury time, to draw 3-3, for the second home game running. However, they missed a trick by settling back to defend their lead in the second half, when Spurs were clearly there for the taking.
Do you agree with my analysis? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.