It was a familiar story on Saturday evening, as Spurs failed to break down a packed defence.
Swansea have conceded the second most shots in the division so far this season, and have recorded the lowest shot count themselves, so here was a real opportunity for Tottenham.
As expected the home side dominated the match, with a total of 75% possession and 26 shots to 4. Swansea came to defend and their plan was effective.
Pochettino’s side looked lacking in energy and ideas – was this a hangover from the famous victory against Dortmund? They made a total of 43 crosses, only 8 of which found their man, and 62% of their shots came from distance, a sign of the creative malaise.
It’s well known that Pochettino likes to rotate his fullbacks after a European game, but it was a little surprising that Ben Davies – who has been on excellent form – was left out against his former club. Maybe even more surprising, was Son reprising his role at left back, after his disastrous performance in the cup semi-final.
Against a compact defence the width afforded by Davies and the dangerous Aurier would have made sense.
Son had a good game from an attacking perspective, at least statistically speaking, creating the best chances and getting into some good shooting positions but he isn’t a left back. We were crying out for someone to overlap him, which is maybe why Trippier switched sides in the second half.
Pochettino’s side still should have taken the three points. Kane hit the bar when well placed, Alli missed a header from close range, chances came and went. Spurs finished with 1.6 expected goals.
And that is before mentioning the three penalty appeals that fell on deaf ears. At least one of them looked like a definite handball, while the trip on Aurier was the most egregious of the three. The Ivorian fullback did well when he came on, begging the question why was a change not made earlier, and why stick with three centre backs against such cautious opposition?
Other teams will struggle to score against Paul Clement’s well organised side and Spurs traditionally start slowly under Pochettino. Add in Europe, the missed chances, the refereeing mistakes and there are plenty of reasons for this setback. It’s just very frustrating to have dropped points in such a winnable match, so early in the campaign.