Tottenham just didn’t have enough in their tank to make it three wins out of three against some quality opposition.
Spurs were coming off wins over Chelsea and Inter Milan, but our biggest rivals, Arsenal, were too difficult to beat easily.
The day didn’t start well for us with Jan Vertonghen giving away an early penalty for handling the ball in the box. It ended with the Belgian getting his marching orders late on.
The damage was already done by then despite the fact that we held the lead at 2-1 after the first half.
Normally, we would have gone for the kill in the second half but tired legs finally gave way after a tough couple of games.
Tottenham were good but Arsenal simply were better. Most of their first-team starters were rested in the Europa League clash against Vorskla while we played our best team, or close to it, against the might of Inter.
Yes, Mauricio Pochettino might have gotten a couple of things wrong by starting Juan Foyth and Jan Vertonghen, but Foyth had been excellent in recent weeks while Vertonghen was supreme in the win over the Italians.
You couldn’t really fault Poch for playing Son Heung-min, Dele Alli and Harry Kane right from the start, though the trio was almost invisible in the second half.
Pochettino spoke (h/t Independent) about Tottenham’s weary legs and believed we were in the game until the third goal went in.
“We paid for the effort in the Champions League game against Inter and Chelsea, and we started to suffer. Until the third goal, I thought was game the even. But after that, we started to pay.
“It was difficult for the team to show the normal energy that we show. Then, after the sending-off of Jan Vertonghen, the game was over.”
Not all doom and gloom for Spurs
This might raise the question of squad depth and our lack of transfer activity in the summer but we did have a few players out with injuries. Danny Rose only recently returned to fitness, Toby Alderweireld has played almost every game in two months and Mousa Dembele is out with an injury.
Those three could have started this game but we have to think about keeping them injury-free for the rest of the campaign and not only about the three points against the Gunners.
This Spurs side is still learning to deal with pressure. And even though it might seem like the same aspect is being spoken about every year, this defeat will teach us a thing or two.
Arsenal possibly have two of the best forwards in the Premier League and Emery made some tweaks to his side to give them the advantage in the second half.
Although Pochettino has toyed with several formations during his time at Spurs, there haven’t been many circumstances where the Argentine switched formations mid-game.
The defeat has placed Arsenal above us in the Premier League table, and maybe, this is the kick we need to play more consistently.
There has been a lot of banter between the two sets of players, which we saw on the pitch after Eric Dier scored. Regardless, Pochettino should communicate to the Tottenham stars about maintaining their quality throughout the season.
A top-four finish is the least we need this campaign, but a trophy would be the actual evolution from this side.
Tottenham have a fight on their hands to make it to the Champions League next season, and to qualify for the knockout rounds this season too. Thus, this loss should serve as a platform for us to get better.
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