Young American right back DeAndre Yedlin made his long-awaited debut for Tottenham Hotspur, but Spurs put out an extremely listless performance and lost 1-0 to former manager Tim Sherwood and Aston Villa today. It's the second straight sub-par performance by Spurs against a relegation threatened club, and whatever slim hopes Tottenham had of getting back into the race for Champions League positions are now well and truly dashed.
The game started out poorly and never got better. Tottenham started a side without Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen, or Kyle Walker, who were all out due to injury (or in the case of Vertonghen, a failed late fitness test). Aston Villa had obviously scouted Spurs well, as they spent most of the match pressing high on Spurs and harrying the central midfield partnership of Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason.
Tottenham had a couple of decent chances on the counter, but it was mostly all Villa. And then, in the 35th minute Christian Benteke headed in a cross from Leandro Bacuna to put Villa up 1-0. Bacuna's ball was a good one, but Federico Fazio was out-muscled by the Belgian, who barely got off the ground.
Ten minutes later Gabby Agbonlahor smacked a ball off the post on a counter-attack and was unfortunate not to put Villa up two. The first half ended 1-0.
It didn't get better. Mauricio Pochettino didn't make any halftime substitutions and Spurs continued to look listless and lost in all facets of the match. Spurs' best chance probably came in the 60th minute after Harry Kane did a Harry Kane move and fired a curler that went just high.
Around the 70th minute, Pochettino made a double-substitution, bringing on Erik Lamela and Yedlin for Andros Townsend and Vlad Chiriches. This was Yedlin's Tottenham first team debut, and he was given a very warm welcome by the White Hart Lane faithful. Yedlin didn't do anything particularly noteworthy in his debut, but neither was he noticeably awful. His introduction didn't really change the outcome of the match, however. Villa, despite losing two players to injury over the course of the game, never looked like losing and the match ended 1-0.
- Seriously, everyone. We just lost to TIM SHERWOOD. Spurs 0-1 #narrative.
- This was a dumpster fire. I'm not going to sugar-coat it at all. Spurs were awful, devoid of ideas, and it's a pretty damning indictment of Pochettino and his management. The same problems that we've seen in midfield in the past six games or so were still present, and Pochettino has done virtually nothing to address them in any way. I am going to want to see massive improvement in this team via the transfer market or I am off the Pochettino train.
- Federico Fazio was infuriating in central defense today. How you can be that tall and strong and continually get out-jumped and out-muscled in the center of defense is beyond me. Get healthy soon, Jan.
- Full credit to Tim Sherwood and Aston Villa. They came in with a game plan and they executed it, and Spurs did nothing to counter it.
- I could single out players for the hairdryer treatment, but you all know who I'm going to go after, so there's no point. And besides, this was a team disaster, not down to any one individual player.
- When Erik Lamela came on in the 70th minute, he almost immediately made Spurs' offense better. WHY IS HE NOT STARTING?
- I'm beyond thrilled for DeAndre Yedlin on him making his debut today for Tottenham. I don't think we can make any major assumptions based on his play today, but it was great to see him wearing lilywhite and playing for Spurs.
- Danny Rose had another nice match for Spurs. He was probably Tottenham's best player: involved, active, positive. Remember when saying that was a backhanded compliment? I don't mean it that way this time. He was good.