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Jose Mourinho
English Premier League Football

Tottenham Hotspur left to lick wounds after drab draw as Mourinho rages

Jose Mourinho
Premier League

Bournemouth and Tottenham Hotspur started their league clash, knowing that a win was an absolute necessity for different reasons. While the former are in the midst of an intense relegation battle, the latter are battling it out for a hotly-contested Europa League spot. In the end, neither got what they desired in a true reflection of their league campaigns, with missed chances and dismal finishing causing immense frustration.

What these sides were certainly not guilty of, is lack of clarity with regard to tactics. Spurs manager Jose Mourinho opted for the tried and tested pairing of the big Belgians, Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen, with the pair returning this trust winning 14 aerial battles against the bullish Callum Wilson and Joshua King.

Tottenham Hotspur had a clear game plan: get the ball to the wings by creating overloads on the flank where Ben Davies and Sergi Aurier could cross the ball into the net, playing to the aerial prowess of Harry Kane and Eric Lamela.

Bournemouth also had a clear plan, aiming to play out from the back with an occasional long ball to the forwards, who could win the aerial ball and then play it out to the onrushing midfielder or strike partner.

Tottenham Hotspur hard done by VAR yet again:

There was a penalty shout early in the game, when Harry Kane was brought down by King in the penalty box. Kane had turned away and was free to head the ball into the net, until King clattered into him.

It was a clear penalty but VAR waved it away, which is the second time Spurs have been on the wrong side of VAR in the same week, leaving Mourinho raging.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Jose Mourinho
Premier League

“In the world everybody knows that is a penalty. And when I say everybody, I mean everybody,” he remarked.

This piece of luck spurred on the Cherries who were dangerous and had several chances to score, proving to be very effective from set pieces. Spurs were guilty of being lacklustre in the first half, as evident from the fact that Kane had 4 touches in his own penalty box, and 0 in the opposition’s.

The attacker had to use his aerial prowess to clear the ball more than trouble the opposition defenders. The counter pressing by the Cherries meant that Spurs were not able to get out of their half for extended periods.

Tottenham Hotspur left to rue wastefulness:

Tottenham Hotspur were also wasteful and predictable in possession, often failing to string together three passes before the Cherries nicked it off them. The double pivot of Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko was bypassed several times, when Bournemouth simply overloaded one side of the pitch and then changed the side, dragging the entire Spurs defence sideways.

But for all their possession and counter pressing, Bournemouth found clear goal scoring opportunities hard to come by, a recurring theme the entire season.

The second half saw Mourinho make two changes, bringing in Tanguy Ndombele and Son Heung-min to play more direct football. Ndombele, who had a slow start to life in London, finally showed glimpses of why Spurs broke the bank to acquire him.

Tottenham Hotspur
Premier League

The same player whom Mourinho had criticized several times, broke through the first line of pressing and was able to advance Tottenham further up the pitch. With Son upfront, Spurs looked very capable of taking the three points back home.

And they could have very well done that, gaining some momentum. The second half was a half of stoppages, with both teams unable to gain any momentum following a lot of tactical fouls by the Cherries.

Both sides left to rue missed chances as VAR decides game yet again:

Harry Wilson’s introduction could have been a masterstroke had he been able to put away his chance, after getting the ball in the box and being one-on-one with Lloris. The Frenchman however was able to make himself big and make an outstanding save. Tottenham managed to put some pressure back with the introduction of Lucas Moura, but the Bournemouth defence stood firm.

Lloyd Kelly and Nathan Ake deserve plaudits for their sensible game play, with Ake again showing maturity way beyond his years. Kelly was excellent as well, showcasing his speed and maturity in stealing the ball from Kane on a rare occasion, when the big striker was able to find some space and run free.

Bournemouth were unlucky to have not scored the winner, when Callum Wilson put the ball into the net following a bicycle kick. VAR rightly disallowed the goal, as the ball hit King’s arm before going into the net.

The major takeaways from this game for Tottenham Hotspur were that they were sluggish in their build-up and slow in attack, a theme that has been seen plenty this season. They can take heart from the fact that they were able to string together consecutive clean sheets, something Spurs haven’t been able to do all season.

Bournemouth can get a boost from their spirited defence and excellent attack, with a little luck capable of earning three invaluable points.

Written By: Rutvik Sanghvi


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