Tottenham Hotspur’s Lack of Quality Plain to See as Top Four Hopes All But Vanish

Tottenham Hotspur's Lack of Quality
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Tottenham Hotspur’s lack of quality was plain to see on Sunday as they were brushed aside by Bruno Lage’s Wolverhampton Wanderers. Following a demoralising defeat on Wednesday to Southampton, Antonio Conte rang the changes bringing in Matt Doherty and Rodrigo Bentancur, the latter for his full debut, but it was not enough to stop a worrying spell of form for Spurs.

Wolverhampton Wanderers Profit From Tottenham Hotspur’s Lack of Quality

Calamitous Start From Hugo Lloris

If Conte wanted a positive reaction from his players after throwing away a 2-1 lead against Southampton, he was quickly disappointed as Spurs, and in particular Hugo Lloris, hit the self destruct button, leaving Wolves hardly able to believe their luck. The Frenchman wasn’t the only one to blame though as the defending was more like keystone cops than what is expected from elite level footballers.

For the first goal, Lloris had two chances to catch the ball but inexplicably chose to punch the ball on both occasions and neither was effective. The second punch fell to Raul Jimenez who scored on the half volley.

The second time the ball was in the Spurs net, the situation was equally farcical. Lloris passed the ball to Ben Davies but pushed him wide and Davies hit a horrendous clearance. Davinson Sanchez had a chance to get rid of it after this but no one in a Tottenham shirt did their jobs they found themselves on the wrong side of an entirely avoidable two-goal defecit.

Despite his error-strewn start, Lloris was the reason that the score remained at 2-0 through to the final whistle making at least three saves as those in front of him left gaps in midfield and in defence. Whilst Spurs did improve in the second half, they were still nowhere near a side that deserves a place in the top four of the Premier League.

Conte Running on Empty

Tottenham left it late in the transfer window to bring in Bentancur and his teammate from Juventus in Dejan Kulusevski and it is clear that Spurs’ transfer dealings in the last three years have left Conte dealing with a depleted squad and one that is lacking quality in all areas. Harry Kane and Son Heung-min are arguably the only two players that could be considered to be world-class now, Lloris was but makes too many errors to be called so now, and the squad looks to be running on empty.

Matt Doherty has never settled at Tottenham since leaving this game’s opponents and was anonymous at right-back, a position Tottenham have failed to properly fill since Kyle Walker left to win trophies at Manchester City and Kieran Trippier departed for Spain before his recent return to the Premier League with Newcastle United. Serge Aurier, Emerson Royal and Japhet Tanganga, along with Doherty, have all played in the position but none have truly impressed.

Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld have also never been fully replaced. Eric Dier was a mainstay at centre back until injury kept him out of recent games but the person to play alongside him has been even less predictable, with both Cristian Romero and Sanchez filling that role at times. Romero has been unlucky with injuries since joining the North London club whilst Sanchez has proven to be inconsistent and unreliable at the back, as perfectly demonstrated against Wolves.

In midfield, it is a similar story for Conte. Harry Winks has enjoyed something of a renaissance under the Italian but against Wolves was guilty of dwelling on the ball for too long and his passing was often leaving much to be desired. Alongside the cultured Bentancur, there was a clear difference in quality.

Tottenham’s other signing from Juventus was brought on after just 28 minutes to replace Ryan Sessegnon who has also struggled to impress at Spurs during an injury-plagued spell in North London. He looked a defeated man as he trudged around the pitch with Conte waiting for him to put an arm around him and explain why he was being removed. His replacement fared little better. Kulusevski had one decent chance but dragged his shot wide and further to this, his all-around play was far from impressive. For a winger, he was often caught on his heels, looked less than match fit and his control was off the pace. It may take time for him to adjust to life in the Premier League but he will need to do much better than he did against Wolves.

Top Four Hopes Fading as Tottenham Hotspur’s Lack of Quality Costs Points

Tottenham are still in with a shout of the top four but the reality is that they are not going to get there based on the last three league games, all of which have ended with defeat. With only 2 goals scored and of seven against, five have been the fault of their own players.

Conte has a real dilemma on his hands as to how he manages this team through to the end of the season. Does he aim for a trophy in the FA Cup or does he try and push them to get that top-four spot. After the defeat to Wolves, Spurs sit in eighth place and if they don’t improve soon could find themselves looking at a mid-table finish rather than looking forward to Champions League football next season.

Spurs are steadily drifting away from the upper reaches of the table and are falling behind West Ham United, ChelseaArsenal, and even Manchester United despite Ralf Rangnick’s side’s inability to win games on the regular. The unrest from Tottenham faithful was clear to hear at halftime and after the full-time whistle was blown as boos echoed around the stadium.

There is no way to gloss over the issues at Spurs and the main one is a lack of quality. The summer transfer window is going to be a huge moment in the future of the club, assuming that Conte waits around long enough to take on a full rebuild of the squad. Tottenham have made too many poor decisions in the transfer market and those choices are still costing them now.

Things have to change for Spurs, but what will be of most concern to the fans is that they have been saying the same thing since 2019 and the situation is still the same three years on.

 

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