Tottenham Hotspur dropped three points at Old Trafford in a rather ambivalent performance. The squad was neither terrible, nor particularly threatening throughout the ninety. Victor Wanyama had to finish that sitter, and Harry Kane can’t pull a Nabil Bentaleb and gift United their game-winner, but ultimately Spurs didn’t deserve points from the match. Jake Meador chronicled this in his “Tactics Tuesday” piece, but for all the possession Tottenham had, sixty percent in fact, Spurs weren’t creating quality chances and this is a concerning theme of the 2016-17 team.
The loss was minimized by the results around the league. For the second straight week, top sides dropped points, namely City losing to Leicester and Liverpool drawing to West Ham. At the time of this writing too, although its technically a different match week, Arsenal fell to Everton 2-1. It makes the top of the table a bit more crowded, but Spurs are still right in the thick of it. Tottenham Hotspur remain in fifth place, three points clear and behind of Manchester United and Manchester City respectively, four points behind third placed Liverpool, and seven points adrift of second placed Arsenal with a game in hand.
Hull City come to North London with the worst goal differential (-18) in the Premier League and just twelve points to their name. After winning their first two matches of the season, Hull City have run cold, with their only other victory since August coming on November 6th against Southhampton. They have also got rocked a few times; a 6-1 trouncing at the hands of Bournemouth, a 5-1 loss to Liverpool, and a 3-0 defeat to bottom-dwelling Sunderland.
Yet there is a direct correlation between Hull City’s place in the table and the talent they put forth on the pitch. The roster is downright cringeworthy and doesn’t hint at anything even remotely alarming. Really Spurs castaways make up the backbone of the side and this maybe isn’t the best formula for wild amounts of success in the Premier League. Michael Dawson, Jake Livermore, Tom Huddlestone, and Ryan Mason all play important roles — Michael Dawson is even third in the team in goals — but none of them are absolute match-winners and there ain’t too much else in the squad after that. Robert Snodgrass is probably their most effective player going forward, leading the team with seven goals and tied for second spot in assists, while Adama Diomande can get a goal here and there up top.
Its a reunion of sorts. While Huddlestone and Mason don’t always start together, there is a chance that four former Spurs will be part of their first eleven. In this regard, Hull City will be motivated. The Christmas period is far from over, and even with Sunday’s loss, its far from being a failure. With insanely winnable matches in the next two fixtures, and more than doable match-ups in the two after, Tottenham Hotspur have the opportunity to go on a tear. It starts on Wednesday.
How to Watch
Date/time: Wednesday, December 14th, 2016, 8:00 p.m. (UK), 3:00 p.m. ET (USA)
Venue: White Hart Lane, London, UK
Official: Andre Marriner
TV: NBCSN Extra Time (USA), BBC Radio (UK), TSN5, TSNGO (Canada), Optus Sport (Australia), other listings at livesoccertv.com
Streaming: NBC Sports Live Extra (USA)
Radio: Audio streamed at tottenhamhotspur.com, also often at BBC Radio London, BBC Radio 5 Live, and TalkSport
Mousa Dembélé is the big name that will be missing from Spurs’ lineup on Wednesday. The Belgium injured his foot against United and while the severity of the injury is unclear, there hasn’t been any indication from Poche that this will lead to a long-term absence. Erik Lamela has returned from Argentina and is training, but is unlikely to feature against Hull, while Vincent Janssen remains sidelined.
The first choice back four, including Hugo, is probably set. This might be a game for Trippier or Davies to rotate, but I don’t think that that will happen. Trippier is bad and really only plays in cups or when its absolutely necessary, while Davies isn’t fully fit, and Rose got some rest from his suspension a few weeks ago.
The midfield pivot is where things could get a little bit juicy. I am clearly on Team Dier over Team Wanyama, and regardless of my potentially biased stance, I think this is a clear time and place to give Wanyama a day off and play Dier in his preferred role. With Dembélé missing, there are two scenarios that could play out. The first is that Harry Winks slots in directly for Moose, maintaining the attacking band that started against United in front of him. The second is that Dele slots back to pair with his BFF, while Moussa Sissoko is rewarded for his hugely positive play on Sunday. My heart says Harry, but my mind says Moussa.
Dele Alli will pair with Eric Dier in the midfield pivot, with Son, Eriksen, and Sissoko making up the attacking band, and Harry Kane starting at center-forward.
Nobody picked United, everybody expected us to get points. At least we still believe in the side! I award you no points, and may god have mercy on your soul.
Cartilage Free Captain Prediction League Standings
|Earl of Shoop
Dustin Menno: Hull City’s midfield is Tom Huddlestone, Jake Livermore, and Ryan Mason. It’s like an alternate Tottenham Hotspur future where Harry Redknapp didn’t get fired and we’re all a lot more depressed than we are. Hull are trash, btw. Spurs win 5-0.
Matthew Pachniuk: Oh man are Hull a pitiful side. I really do love our former players, especially THUD and Dawson, but my goodness the unequivocal despair they must have felt when Ryan Mason was the big buy to bolster their squad this summer. I also don’t hate him, but he can’t be the fulcrum of anyone’s attack, let alone a regular player for a winning Premier League team. Spurs 3-0.
Jake Meador: Hull are better because they figured out that the best way to fix your midfield is to bench Ryan Mason. T-Hudd scores for Hull, it ends 1-1, and we're all depressed and angry.
GN Punk: Hull are bad and will more than likely end up in the Championship next season. We'll help send them there, though I fully expect Ryan Mason to score against us. 4-1 Spurs.
Skipjack: 1-1. Rationality means nothing in the face of heat death.
Luke Zimmerman: Hull's 'trash emoji'. Not even a discombobulated Spurs side can implode in their wake -- but they'll try their damnedest: 3-2 Spurs.
Brian Meyers: Hull are bad, but Ryan Mason will score a revenge goal. 2-1 Spurs
Pradeep Cattry: Can Spurs mess this up? Probably (and hopefully) not. Ryan Mason won't even be able to score the customary goal on Spurs after being sold, though he will try. Tottenham 3-0.
Salmon Chase: I'm about to tell the microwave story on stage for the first time. So I assume via the rules if a kharma thread Spurs will win 87-0.
Earl of Shoop:
Alex Greenberg: Ryan Mason. That is all. 4-0 to Spurs.
Bryan A: What’s the most goals a single player has ever scored against Spurs? Why do I ask? Because that is how many goals Ryan Mason will score...as a substitute. Why would we expect anything else? 5-0 Hull.
Brian Mechanick: TBD