Well at least we stayed in the game this time right? That’s not saying much in truth, but the fact was we only lost by one goal to a team who competed for the Premier League title and finished in a Champions League place last season. And, yet, the actual result felt worse than that.
I don’t think that performance was anywhere near as bad as the last half an hour against Everton but it does concern me the amount of chances that Tottenham missed to kill the game off. In a sense, we were lucky.
Adnan Januzaj’s sending off just compounded the whole game for me as I felt he was ineffective, dare I say lazy, for the most part except for his part in creating Steven Pienaar’s chance very late in the first-half. It wasn’t just him either - Jason Denayer’s performance was awful but I do believe a large part of that is because he’s not a right-back.
The last thing I will say about the Tottenham game is surrounding the criticism David Moyes got for not going for it since we then had nothing to lose in the game. I do feel he could have brought Duncan Watmore on sooner but I can’t help but feel it was because we didn’t want the scoreline to turn into a battering. Goal difference down the line could be crucial.
I will say this for Moyes though – he’s not had the easiest of starts. Let me be clear, I’m not happy with one point for five games but if you take out the last thirty minutes against Everton, we’ve been in every match. Those games included Manchester City and Tottenham, both of whom finished in the top four and despite that they lost Sadio Mane and Victor Wanyama, we’ve faced a Southampton side who’ve finished in the top eight in each of the last three seasons. Everton was always going to be much harder than it was last time we played them so the only game that leaves is Middlesbrough. Even in that game there were factors, though not excuses, as to why we lost. Half of that side were reserve players or youngsters.
Our next two home games against Crystal Palace and West Brom are huge matches, even at this early stage of the season. We simply must-win at least one of them. After that we have Stoke and West Ham and both have started very poorly though I still expect them both to be well clear of the bottom three this season.
Sunderland will be expected to go for it on Saturday being at home but if we send too many players forward we will be murdered on the counter through the pace of Palace's attack. People won’t want to hear it but we need to be cautious at the weekend, even more so considering Palace have suddenly won their last two games.
Do we need to attack them? Yes, absolutely and we need to stop trying to launch the ball forward to Jermain Defoe because that simply will not work. That said, we cannot leave ourselves exposed on the break because the first goal we conceded against Everton came from putting too many players forward.
But whatever tactics we use, we need to show intelligence and battling qualities. Until we achieve our first league win, and hopefully we won’t be made to wait until October for it, it’s going to be ugly whether we like it as fans or not.
In short, I’m not too worried yet but if by the time we’ve played Hull in November we don’t have at least two or three wins then I’ll be concerned.
With the exception of Arsenal, we have a decent run of games coming up. Let’s make that count.