Spurs Frustrated for 88 Minutes - West Ham Devastated in 3 Minutes
Before today's match the talk around White Hart Lane was the coming contract talks between the Chairman of Spurs Daniel Levy, with a reputation of being a fearsome negotiator and Tottenham's two best players. Levy has maintained a ceiling for players wages of $100,000 but their best players want felt-fair pay that is more in line with what bigger clubs can offer them.
The contract talks to date with others players have gone surprisingly well, with Spurs securing many of their key players but the impasse with Lloris and Kane threatened to cast a tiny shadow over today's game, though the talks are in the middle of their existing contracts, with Kane still having three years of his contract to run.
For 88 minutes in today's game against West Ham, Spurs fans seethed with frustration as Spurs fell behind twice to very cheap goals. The second was a penalty for grappling in the penalty box, something West Ham had also been guilty of in their own box. It seemed the script was playing out on a dull gray day, overcast with the shadow of Spurs not having won a game in their last seven competitive outings and defeat today would have separated them from the leading pack, and put them in a race between 5th and 7th place clubs.
Spurs wage structure means that they should finish in the Top 8, with seven other clubs with better payment structures - so finishing 3rd last season bolstered the chairman's tight financial grip on Tottenham finances. Defeat today against a previously struggling West Ham side could perpetuate a mini-crisis, especially with games against Chelsea and Manchester United up coming this month. Instead the game ended with West Ham falling deeper into turmoil.
It was another penalty decision which cost West Ham the game and it was a crazy three minutes in which time Harry Kane, who had been a ghost in the whole game, pulled two goals out at the end of the game, that left happy Hammer fans walking away from the ground with devastated looks on their face, never mind the face of the now increasingly tormented West Ham manager. Slaven Bilic looked ashen faced as he saw what looked like a certain victory wash away by two goals at the end of the game.
It does not get better for the Croatian manager - his team has games against Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester United - hardly the kind of games one needs with West Ham a point above the relegation zone. Nor is Slaven Bilic a bad manager, he is just going through a bad situation because today West Ham played their best football of the season, and still came away empty handed. The plan Bilic laid out of neutralizing Tottenham's wing-play and playing solid defense worked like a charm - until that is when things suddenly imploded.
Tottenham played well again in the build up play but continue to lose creativity and ideas, especially clinical finishing prowess. Harry Kane did find his magic powers today and in a few minutes turned this game from what seemed to be Spurs first loss in the League this season, into the Harry Kane Show. Pochettino's reliance on youngster Harry Winks was a massive gamble, as was his attempt to experiment with a 4-4-2 formation.
The 4-4-2 could work if twin strikers Kane and Jannsen had some chemistry between them, and they far from becoming anything close to Spurs most fearsome duo back in the 80's that was Garth Crooks and Steve Archibald. Crooks and Archibald had a seemingly telepathic connection, each occupying intelligent areas, reading each others game instinctively and linking up with amazing firepower. It is a thing of beauty to watch a magical strike partnership, but a horror show when you watch two players who have no sense of the others play - though Kane's read with the team in general is far superior.
Janssen needs time to settle and his penalty give away is a sign of a player desperate to find his scoring touch and trying too hard to do things that need a cooler head. With the comparison to failed Spurs buy Roberto Soldado being whispered more and more, Janssen simply needs to relax and let the game and his form come to him. Pochettino is giving him the chances to find that form, but impatience is getting in the way.
Harry Winks did score, but he is too lightweight against quality opposition - but Pochettino is famed for blooding young talent and in the end a 3-2 win is what counts - and the Pochettino risk so far is paying off. This after all is the best undefeated start to a league season since 1961 when Spurs went undefeated for 16 matches - in the year that they last won the title.