Reoccuring headache

Saturday was going to be one of those days to saviour. The FA Cup threatened to provide us with shocks that would be enjoyable to re-watch as long as, well...as long as Spurs held onto their 1-0 home lead against Leicester City.

Chelsea, Manchester City, Southampton...all set to get knocked out. Then naturally, we concede. Such is the culture of modern football and fixture list analysing that the first reaction to this is 'Oh God, we've got ourselves a replay'. Don't know about you but I've suffered with domestic cup competitions for a while as they always appear to be games of sacrifice. It isn't even about the rotation because that's an undeniable truth that can't be dismissed. Especially this season where we've played more games than most. The games lack desire.

In the end, they all got knocked out. Including us.

There was no zest and it was reflective of the ongoing dramas that don't appear to be nearing a satisfactory conclusion. We can sit around and bemoan the soft winning goal that was scored in what is traditionally known as 'Eriksen Time' or we can look at the bigger picture and just admit that this result was not unexpected.

Perhaps the one positive is we've got Sheffield United in the next game and all the rested first teamers will be fresh and hopefully hungry for redemption.

As for the ongoing headaches?

Rotation is a necessity. Three games in eight days and another one in four days. We rested plenty with the semi-final in mind but what we get with a second-string is a second-tier performance. With Jan Vertonghen having played 11 successive games he required a rest. The defence didn't inspire as a unit.

The midfield read like a who's who of misfits. Etienne Capoue has no identifiable presence, Mousa Dembele is more Margate than Madrid and Paulinho remains the poster boy for the disdain felt for Franco Baldini and Daniel Levy's £100M spending spree.

Andros Townsend scored again (from the spot) but Maucrio Pochettino seemed to squeeze the life out of our attacking impetus by substituting him. The curse of the lack of the width haunting us again. You'd think with just under 30 minutes to go Christian Eriksen would influence enough to craft us a second goal. Not this time.

Erik Lamela returned and endeavoured and Roberto Soldado impressed if you wish to pretend he's a plucky midfielder rather than a goal-getting forward.

Even with the misfits, we should have won. You'd think. Michel Vorm got lucky with a foul that could have been a penalty and red card. He also produced a class save but let in that howler at the death. There's no excuse yet there is one. It's a reality; we don't kill games off, we don't punish opposing teams. Two games, two goals scored not from open play. This headache is one that has existed all season - regardless of the eleven selected.

The sense of adventure is all too rare an event.

Spurs have a strong spine but very little to flesh it out with.

 

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