Two mad minutes saw Spurs lose 2-1 in a match that was on the brink of being an excellent victory.
Some positives can be taken, but they will ring hollow after the loss, and there are still considerable issues in the side.
Gallas and Caulker
Up until the final couple of minutes, this had been a strong defensive performances from the centre backs as they dealt well with the imposing aerial threats of Jelavic and Fellaini. However both goals were linked to poor defending, and this is what mattered in the end. Caulker seemed to again ignore a call from Lloris and clear the ball poorly in the build up to Everton’s equaliser, before both were out of position for Vellios’s flick on for Jelavic’s winner. Naughton has to be played at left back whilst Assou-Ekotto is injured, Vertonghen is badly needed in the centre.
Once again Spurs conceded late in the day to throw away points, the two at Everton make it 14 points surrendered in the closing minutes. Had Spurs held on in those matches, they would be top of the league. Whether it’s a fitness issue, or problems with concentration, this has to be addressed quickly.
When Bale was ruled out for the match, most would have assumed it would be his attacking play that would be missed. However it was the lack of his tireless tracking back that cost the side on Sunday. With Coleman given the run of his right flank all game, it mas almost inevitable that one of crosses found the mark for the equaliser. Dempsey naturally tucks in when going forward, meaning the right back had a free run when Everton turned over possession. In a 4-2-3-1 this wouldn’t have been such an issue, but with the 4-4-2 Spurs played, it gave Coleman far too much room. Dempsey was good going forward, and perhaps a striker needs to drop out rather than the American to combat this issue whilst Bale is out.
Tom Huddlestone and the centre of midfield
Villas-Boas sent his three subs on with a clear task - to hold onto possession in the final minutes. The first man given this role was Tom Huddlestone, and he was miles off the pace for Spurs. With passing stats of 7/12, Huddlestone gave the ball away almost as many times as he completed a pass, adding pressure to the defence who had been well screened by Dembele and Sandro for most of the match. Dembele didn’t have his best match, but he went off, the difference was marked as Spurs looked unable to keep the ball in the middle of the pitch. With Parker’s return on the horizon, Huddlestone might find himself a long way away from first team action on the back of this performance.
After all, Spurs were very close to picking up an admirable win. The trip to Goodison Park is a tough one for any side and Spurs need to regroup and focus on the next game rather than dwell on the defeat. With three home games in the next five, Spurs have a decent set of fixtures over the next few weeks and need to bounce back from this loss quickly to try and capitalise on this.