Spurs made to Sweat by Boro Fightback
Middlesboro had a promising opening to the new season, but in the last few games they are beginning to adjust to the realities of the Premier League, that any lapses are punished and that there are no easy games in this league. For a newly promoted club, there are promising acquisitions that the club has made, but Boro currently are not anywhere neared gelled as team as their manager would want them to be.
The ominous progress of Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United is further clouded by the absolutely perfect start to the new season by Manchester City. If there are top 4 aspirations this year, they begin with the next league game for Spurs, as they face the league leaders. With 4 Wins and 2 Draws from the first six matches, it would appear that Spurs are doing very well, especially as they can now cite it as their best ever start to a Premier League season.
My criticism for Spurs player Heung-Min Son is that he can play rather selfishly and take one on one defender too many, but today he was the man-of-the-match, scoring two great goals - of which the second was a wonder goal because of how he kept the ball in play, reversed back past two or three Middleboro defenders and then sweetly curled the ball from the edge of the box into the net. That made it 2-0 and that meant for Spurs fans that the points were in the bag.
Spurs hardly make things easy for their fans and after a first half where yet again, the annoying habit of wasting chances, the match could have been settled by the interval, just as Liverpool showed as they took a commanding 3-0 first half lead. Without Son's two strikes on goal, it is hard to figure who would have scored the goals that eventually won the game for Spurs.
The team exhibited the same worrying flaws they did against Monaco in the Champions league, except the difference today was that Monaco were ruthless in their finishing, whereas Middlesboro are a team which is a collection of very good individuals trying to be team. Boro's last ball either found its way to the touchline, or was hit too strongly for the on-coming player to control. It was their second half substitutions that awoke Middlesboro from their malaise.
The worrying signs in the Middleboro game was that after the substitutions, especially the arrival Adama Traore - which introduced much more aggression and speed to attack the Spurs defenders. Everytime I see teams go for the jugular, I often see a reliable Spurs defense begin to show signs of wilting and panic. Otherwise the one goal that Boro did score was only their third goal conceded in six games. The Boro manager blamed his players attitude, but he should have had played Traore from the start, his physical presence definitely disturbed the Tottenham backline. It would have also helped striker Negredo who did not have a consistent supply line.
In the end this is another game which Spurs on paper were likely to gain three points, and so as far as matches against the minnows are concerned, Spurs are a perfect 4 for 4. They however have not won a game against the emerging top teams, and next week will be challenged by the league leaders Manchester City who currently boast six wins from six matches and winning all their European games so far. Spurs will need Dembele back for that game and that game will be played on October 2nd, before the International break. The real test is then next week.