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It has been a strange week for Tottenham.
It’s been just over a week since his 1-1 draw with the Wolves, that game that serves as the perfect example of how the currently employed style of play can lead to points being lost from winning positions.
The next meeting with Fulham was postponed due to a Covid-19 outbreak on his team, and then news emerged that Spurs stars Sergio Reguilon, Giovani Lo Celso and Erik Lamela broke current guidelines to spend Christmas together.
Reguilon has apologized at every bar ever since, but it’s a gracious reminder that footballers, regardless of whether you love them for playing for your club, are capable of moments of stupidity. At a time when the UK’s R rate is skyrocketing rapidly and out of control, news that footballers have put it aside for a big holiday reunion has not paid off.
None of the trio members showed up against Leeds – Lo Celso is not expected to be available in January due to a hamstring injury, Lamela will be absent for the Carabao Cup semi-final against Brentford for an unspecified reason, while Reguilon was benched by José Mourinho in favor of Ben Davies.
But while Leeds have shown how dangerous they can be in attack so far this season, their game plan fell squarely in Tottenham’s lap on Saturday.
Leaving room across the field eventually came back to bite the visitors, even if they opened a number of starts, especially during the first half.
But all it took was a lapse of concentration when Ezgjan Alioski brought in Steven Bergwijn himself, allowing Harry Kane to score from the point. Son Heung-min doubled the lead 14 minutes later by sweeping a Kane cross, before Toby Alderweireld made it 3-0 from a corner, aided by a suspected Illan Meslier goalkeeper.
That rather comfortable victory has Tottenham up to fourth place in the Premier League, although the table remains ridiculously congested and they could fall further when they face Aston Villa on January 13.
Before that, however, there are two cup matches: the Carabao Cup match with Brentford on Tuesday, followed by an FA Cup trip to Marine on Sunday.
The game against the Bees is certainly fraught with danger: The second division team has not lost since late October, eliminating Southampton, West Brom, Fulham and Newcastle to reach this stage. Spurs are still favorites to be sure, but with a final against Manchester City or Manchester United, teams they’ve already beaten in different but still emphatic styles this season, down the line, it’s not the game for total changes.
The usual core of Kane, Son and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg will be required and hopefully, Bergwijn will be given another chance to improve on his brilliant but less clinical recent performances.
Then if all goes well, bring the younger weapons for Marine. Provide opportunities for Joe Rodon and Carlos Vinicius there before that crucial trip to Villa, who as of now remain steadfast in their pursuit of the Champions League qualification as one of the 1 billion teams currently holding 26 points.
Everyone can agree that progress has been a long and grueling process with Mourinho since his appointment at the end of 2019. Patience with his methods could have lasted a bit longer in some corners of Tottenham’s fan base if it wasn’t they would have faced the same long and exhausting routine this time. the pandemic has taken over the world.
But the former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager has shown before that the end justifies the means. He has Tottenham one game away from a cup final and just four points behind Premier League leaders Liverpool.
The Spurs have had a bad streak. Now it’s about progressing in cup competitions and getting ahead of those around them in the league.
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