To most everyone’s surprise, Pochettino only rotated the fullbacks from Wednesday’s 4-0 victory over Red Star Belgrade, bringing in Serge Aurier and Ben Davies. There was an expectation on Friday that Pochettino could start Christian Eriksen and Toby Alderweireld but that didn’t come to fruition.
The match didn’t start well for the north London side as Eric Dier was carded just 75 seconds into the match. The ensuing free kick was cleared out by Davinson Sanchez but just far enough for a volley attempt that forced Paulo Gazzaniga into service, making a save over the crossbar.
It took Spurs over ten minutes to even get on the ball for more than a pass or two, looking to feed Tanguy Ndombele or Giovani Lo Celso in midfield to push the action forward. Possession balanced out quickly and Spurs started to take over, sitting at 63% at the 25th minute. The issue was that Spurs didn’t have a real chance to score in that time and Sheffield looked comfortable off the ball.
Sheffield came close to scoring in the 27th minute with a great cross put into the penalty area for Lys Mousset. All he could manage was a glancing deflection, but that was almost good enough as it rolled just wide of the far post and a diving Gazzaniga. The Blades kept the pressure on as Lundstram hit the woodwork in the 30th minute.
Spurs pushed forward with a chance in the 37th minute as Son broke free on a beautiful ball to him. Forced to play a cut back pass, he found Giovani Lo Celso but the Argentine scuffed the shot a bit and sent it wide of the net.
Pochettino brought Harry Winks on for Ndombele, who may have picked up a knock or just been gassed after this week’s action.
Spurs and Sheffield traded possession with a couple of chances on both sides. Sonny had a curling attempt that he didn’t get enough bend on the shot while Mousset for Sheffield almost pinged one off the woodwork again not long after.
In the 58th minute, Spurs got their breakthrough goal. Some good fortune came to the home side as Dele tried to feed Kane on a through ball, but O’Connell deflected the pass right to Son. The Korean international took his time and slotted it through the legs of Henderson.
Sheffield thought they had the equalizer just three minutes later, but ENTER VAR! McGoldrick got on the end of a great pass from Enda Stevens to bury the shot, but the build up play prior to that involving George Baldock was ruled offside by what looks like a toenail. Goal disallowed, more controversy. Just another day in the 2019 Premier League season.
Pochettino switched things up by bringing on Juan Foyth, moving to a back three and pulling Dele off the pitch. It worked for a few minutes, but Sheffield showed no fear and pushed to get the equalizer after VAR took away their goal. That equalizer came in the 78th minute as George Baldock played a weird sliced shot into the penalty area. It took maybe the slightest of deflections off of Dier and the ball found the side netting. A quick VAR check confirmed the goal and the clubs were tied with ten minutes to play.
While Spurs pushed for a winner in the last ten minutes, Sheffield opted to go more defensive once Lucas came on for Aurier, forcing Spurs into the back four again. Son had a half-chance on the left flank that was easily saved as the match moved into six minutes of stoppage time due to the video reviews. Lucas thought he had a winner in the 92nd minute as he blasted a screamer from 25 yards out, but Henderson made a leaping save to send the shot over the crossbar. That was the last chance of the match for either side, ending in a 1-1 draw.
Thoughts on the Match:
- Yet again, Spurs are unable to get a victory in back to back matches across all competitions. After hammering Red Star in Champions League, this team looked bored for most of the match.
- Tanguy Ndombele was pulled at half with a possible injury. He was grabbing his groin a bit before heading into the dressing room, so here is hoping it isn’t serious.
- Kane was virtually invisible in this match. If you don’t believe me, pull out your magnifying glass to find Kane on this chart:
- Dier was also pretty bad today. His yellow card just over a minute into the match probably forced him to play more conservatively, but overall he was poor.
- VAR will come under fire yet again. Sheffield’s offside due to a toenail is on par with Sonny being offside with his armpit.
- I’m starting to wonder where rock bottom is with this side. Spurs sit in 12th with United, Wolves and Villa still to play this weekend. It is entirely feasible that Spurs end this match week in as low as 14th.