Spurs 0-2 Wolves: A Weekend to Forget

Wolverhampton Wanderers travelled to North London on Sunday and fought well against Tottenham Hotspur to claim all three points away from home. The defeat saw Wolves move above Tottenham in the table, who now sit in 8th position.

The ever-efficient midlands mercenary Raul Jiminez and the pacey Leander Dendoncker capitalised on Tottenham’s defensive errors to ensure the three points that puts them in serious contention for a European qualifying position.

A rocky start for Spurs

As we’ve seen on numerous occasions this season, Tottenham were slow to start and found themselves behind after just six minutes of play. Club Captain, Hugo Lloris, was almost certainly at fault for the first goal after failing to adequately parry, catch or clear the ball from his area on two occasions. This led to the prolific Wolves striker, Jiminez volleying it past the Frenchman with ease. Re-watching the strike, one cannot help but stare in amazement at Lloris’s decision to tap the ball back into the centre of the box following a miss-hit effort that gave Lloris time to get up and simply catch, rather than parry, the ball.

The second goal came from similar circumstances with some poor play amid the Spurs defence. After Lloris chose not to clear the ball in the wake of a high press from the Wolves strikers, he sent an inaccurate pass to Ben Davies on the left, who had to run out of his way to retrieve the ball. Panicked and under pressure, Davies then failed to clear his lines and handed the ball straight to Dendoncker in acres of space. After an unfortunate ricochet off the post, the Spurs players looked frozen in their response, leaving space for Dendoncker to slide in the second goal of the game.

After 18 minutes Tottenham were 2-0 down to a team with a defensive Premier League record only bested by league runaways Manchester City this season, who Spurs play next.

As usual, Tottenham did drastically improve in the 2nd half and by the end, registered 17 shots on goal. Harry Kane registered 8 of those himself. Spurs can be criticised throughout for their lack of quality when passing out of defence and their attitude to winning the ball back from Wolves. If Lloris hadn’t had been on such good form following his calamitous opening 20 minutes, the scoreline could have been 3 or 4.

Tottenham’s most promising effort came from Harry Winks. A Spurs set-piece saw the ball fall to Winks about 20 yards out from goal. He connected with the shot beautifully, which deflected off the Wolves defender and hit the post before going out for a corner.

A lovely chance fell to new boy Kulusevski after Winks delivered a pinpoint cross-field ball to Davies. Davies played it to Kulusevski on the edge of the area who drilled it just inches wide. That would have been a fantastic way to get the Spurs fans in his corner as one of Conte’s first signings.

This is the first time since 2009 that Conte has lost three games in a row. Was he right to replace Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, who is usually such a menace at breaking up opposition play?

Do the stats lie?

If you didn’t watch the game you may have thought, from an examination of the stats, that Spurs were unlucky to lose. They had almost 60% possession. They had 6 more shots than Wolves; 4 more on target than them. They had a much higher passing rate. More corners and tackles.

The difference in this game was concentration and intensity. If Spurs started the game the way they finished it, we would be looking at a very different final result.

The starting Spurs XI

H Lloris ©
D Sánchez
C Romero
B Davies
M Doherty
H Winks
R Bentancur
R Sessegnon
L Mora
H Son
H Kane

The Manager’s thoughts

After the game, Conte claimed that

“To describe the defeat is difficult. It was one of the best games we’ve played – we created lots of chances to score. We had the possession but it’s also difficult to explain how we started by conceding two goals – it’s difficult to comment on the two goals we conceded. It’s not easy when you start the game in this way. Until the end we pushed and tried to score. We created chances. But we are talking about another defeat. We will continue to work and we have to struggle every time we play to get three points.”

What’s next for Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs are away to Manchester City on 19th February, 17:30 KO. They then travel to Burnley on Wednesday 23rd for a 19:30 kick-off.