In an entertaining late-notice game in North London tonight, Fulham captured a valuable point by claiming a draw with Tottenham Hotspur.
Once again, Tottenham took an early lead, this time through a Harry Kane header. However, a poor second-half performance allowed Fulham to find their equalizer.
Tottenham looked excellent early in the match, with Tanguy Ndombele’s driving runs giving Fulham’s defense plenty to think about. Jose Mourinho’s men could’ve been 3-0 up at half time had it not been for Fulham goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, who made two fantastic saves from Son Heung-min.
However, the second half was a case of déjà vu for Tottenham fans, as their side dropped deeper and deeper until something had to give. Substitute Ademola Lookman then found space to fire in a beautiful cross, and Ivan Cavaleiro was on hand to head home.
Tottenham thought they’d won the game late on – only for Sergio Reguilon’s goal to be rightly disallowed for offside.
Here are five talking points from Tottenham’s draw with Fulham.
#1 Tottenham continue to throw away points needlessly
Fulham looked decent when they were on the ball in the first half of tonight’s game, but there was no disputing that Tottenham were the better side overall.
Goalkeeper Alphonse Areola’s saves from Son Heung-min’s headers kept Scott Parker’s side in the game. However, Harry Kane’s diving header gave Tottenham a deserved lead. It seemed like only a matter of time before Tottenham wrapped the game up with another goal or two, but the second half changed things entirely.
Tottenham looked like a completely different team in the second 45, suddenly deciding not to really attack and dropping far too deep. Kane and Son were left largely competing for long balls from defenders Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez. And suddenly, Fulham found far more confidence.
And so when the visitors’ equalizer came, it felt sickeningly inevitable from a Tottenham point of view. Essentially, this game was a carbon copy of Spurs’ earlier games against Crystal Palace and Wolves. The exact same thing happened in those matches, too.
The 2020-21 Premier League season is perhaps the most open title race we’ve ever seen. On paper, Tottenham have the capability of pushing for the title. But they’ve now dropped 10 points from winning positions. On current form, they’ll be lucky to make the top four.
#2 So is Mourinho to blame or is it down to his players?
The usual train of thought in the media would suggest that Tottenham’s penchant for throwing points away from a winning position is largely down to the pragmatic nature of their boss, Jose Mourinho.
After all, the Portuguese is renowned for having his team “park the bus” and drop deep in an attempt to soak up pressure before hitting opponents on the break.
However, Mourinho stated after Tottenham’s earlier draws with Crystal Palace and Wolves that he hadn’t instructed his side to drop so deep. He claimed that Palace simply stopped their gameplan, while his players were not capable of breaking Wolves down.
So is this issue down to Mourinho’s instructions, or is it down to Tottenham’s players? Well, the truth is probably somewhere in the middle. Mourinho may well want his side to kill games off – he’s stated before that 2-0 is his favorite scoreline.
However, after seeing him pillory Dele Alli for attempting some creativity that didn’t come off in Tottenham’s win over Stoke, is it any wonder that his side are looking more bereft of attacking thought than they probably should?
Regardless of the cause, it’s an issue Mourinho needs to deal with sooner rather than later if he wants this project to work.
Published 14 Jan 2021, 04:54 IST
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