Against an open and attacking Southampton team with injuries in defense and midfield, Tim Sherwood's edition of Tottenham Hotspur looked fun and dangerous. Against a very well-organized and slightly negative West Bromwich Albion team, they looked flat. The jury's still out on Sherwood and his new system, but they struggled to hold up in a 1-1 draw on Boxing Day, with West Brom creating the better chances despite having none of the ball.
Hugo Lloris was forced into two difficult early saves, stuffing Matej Vydra in the 14th minute off a one-two exchange with Zoltan Gera, then coming up big again in the 18th minute to block another shot by Vydra off a through ball. The Czech striker was continuously dangerous in the first half, and missed another big chance in the 30th minute, putting an uncontested header just wide.
Spurs struggled to create shots, but got on the board through a moment of individual brilliance in the 35th minute. Off a free kick earned by Kyle Walker, Christian Eriksen curled a brilliant shot around Ben Foster and into the back of the net, beating the Baggies' keeper from 20 yards. Sadly for Spurs, their lead didn't last long, with Jonas Olsson capitalizing on some bad set piece defending to equalize three minutes later.
The second half was frenetic, but ultimately lacking in clear chances. Olsson and Steven Reid both committed multiple yellow-card worthy offenses and both could have easily been sent off. The refereeing was poor, but Spurs failed to do much with the ball despite having nearly 70 percent possession, and could hardly complain about the end result.
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- Premier League Projections, Week 17: Liverpool in the chase
- Tactics Tuesday: Tim Sherwood doesn't care what you think