When you have players like Harry Kane, Son Heung-min, Steven Bergwijn, Sergio Reguilon, Lucas Moura and Tanguy Ndombele at your disposal, it would be sensible to expect to see a side play with attacking intent, creativity goalscoring prowess. But, that has not been the case with Tottenham’s talent on too many occasions this season. With new manager Antonio Conte appointed to replace Nuno Espírito Santo, that talent will be given little time to find form and the Italian will expect a change of attitude.
Tottenham’s Talent is Struggling
From Record Breakers to Shot Shy Tottenham Hotspur
March 8, 2021. Harry Kane and Son combined for their 14th goal of the 2020/21 Premier League season, making them record breakers as the partnership who had combined for more goals in a single single season than any other partnership. This was all under then manager Jose Mourinho, who was sacked just before a League Cup final with fans unhappy with his negative tactics. Kane went on to win the Golden Boot once again but his goals were not enough to save Mourinho from the Daniel Levy trigger finger.
Fast forward to October 30, 2021 and Spurs were brushed aside by an under fire Manchester United team, but the concerns were all around the players not doing their jobs. Talent is one thing but application is everything and the application that was apparent under Mourinho, despite protestations to the contrary, had all but vanished under Nuno Espírito Santo, leading to his sacking. Conte will not tolerate such capitulations.
Shots on Target a Thing of the Past for Tottenham Hotspur
In 150 minutes of Premier League football, the once clinical Tottenham have failed to have one shot on target. In the Carabao Cup win over Burnley, it was only one shot on target that saw them through to the quarter-finals of the competition they reached the final of last season. 1-0 victories were the staple of Espírito Santo’s first games in charge and when you are winning by that margin the questions are often left to one side. It has been clear for some time that all is not well, however.
Three wins were followed by three defeats leaving Spurs with three goals scored and nine conceded. They now have scored nine but conceded seven more than that. With Espírito Santo now gone, just how will the talent that Spurs have available to them respond?
Harry Kane Stayed but Only in Body
Kane wanted to leave Spurs in the summer but Daniel Levy was in no mood to seek his star player at any cost. Despite claims of a ‘gentleman’s agreement’ Kane had three years left on his contract and whatever was or was not said behind closed doors, Levy was not going to budge. Kane then allegedly returned late for pre-season training before missing the opening day win over Manchester City.
When he did return to the fold, he looked a shadow of his former self. Despite scoring in the Europa Conference League, his efforts in the league have been well below par with just one goal in nine games and and one assist. Usually a player who is involved in everything, he is becoming a player for Spurs who is involved in nothing. Levy was not willing to sell at any price but that decision, that was lauded by many, is starting to look like one that has backfired.
During the loss to Manchester United, Kane was booed by his own fans as he lost the ball and fans felt the effort was not there. Kane looked like a rabbit in the headlights and his love affair with Spurs is starting to turn sour. The striker is said to be excited at the prospect of working with Conte and sees the appointment as one that finally shows the ambition he has felt the club has avoided since the departure of Mauricio Pochettino, however.
The statistics for Spurs so far this season are damning and show that for all of the talent they have, they are falling short in nearly every area of play.
In 10 games played, they have created just 12 big chances. The shooting accuracy is just 39% and crossing accuracy sits at 19%. When it comes to the defensive side of the game the tackle success rate is 56% and it doesn’t make good reading.
Why Tottenham’s Talent is Falling Short
Players didn’t enjoy Mourinho’s style at Spurs, but he got the best out of Kane and Son and it can be argued that he made Kane an even stronger player with his all round play catching the eye.
Tanguy Ndombele is inconsistent despite his obvious talent; Giovani Lo Celso has struggled to show the form he shows for Argentina; Dele Alli looks like his Spurs career is heading toward its end and players such as Sergio Reguilon and Steven Bergwijn have had injuries and not hit the levels that were expected of them when they signed.
There is no doubt that Tottenham have some superb talent, but that talent currently looks devoid of confidence, devoid of creativity and devoid of ideas. If players with that talent cannot perform on a consistent basis, it is going be a long season for the North London club who only three seasons ago were heading toward to a Champions League final. Right now, Tottenham look a team who might struggle to qualify for Europe let alone the Champions League and questions have to be asked as to why they have been allowed to slide so alarmingly backwards.
Antonio Conte Will Change Attitudes
Tottenham’s talent may be struggling so far this season, but now Conte has arrived they will need to pull up their socks and work hard to get a deteriorating season back on track. Conte is not one to suffer bad attitudes and he will demand hard work, commitment and passion be shown on the pitch in every game.
Tottenham’s talent has struggled but now they need to step up or they will be shipped out.
Embed from Getty Images