After a rough defeat at Sporting and an embarrassing North London Derby, the arrows are pointing in the wrong direction for Tottenham Hotspur. Given the questionable performances even in some wins this season, it is completely fair to wonder if this is just the start of things to come, as many expected the positive results to dry up at some point.
The quickest way to squash those doubts would be to bounce back in the Champions League. The loss in Lisbon puts Tottenham in the thick of it, needing at least four points from the upcoming two fixtures against Eintracht Frankfurt to maintain good odds of advancing; the condensed schedule this fall has the teams meeting in Germany on Tuesday before meeting again next Wednesday in London.
Eintracht was one of the more fun stories last season, taking down Barcelona, West Ham, and Rangers to win the Europa League and a berth into this season’s Champions League. The club has started the season modestly, sitting sixth in the Bundesliga and splitting its first two Group Stage fixtures the same way Spurs have, just with a slightly worse goal difference. The visitors are the stronger club, but do not underestimate the factor the atmosphere will surely play.
Eintracht Frankfurt (t-2nd, 3pts) vs. Tottenham Hotspur (t-2nd, 3pts)
Date: Tuesday, October 4
Time: 3:00 pm ET, 8:00 pm UK
Location: Deutsche Bank Park, Frankfurt, Germany
TV: Paramount+ (USA), BT Sport 3
FiveThirtyEight puts Eintracht on par with Crystal Palace near the back-end of the top-50 clubs in the world. The German side sits below-average domestically in both xG and xGA, though the xGD numbers have been positive for both of the two Champions League matches (even the 0-3 loss to Sporting). This is an opponent to take seriously, but the draw could have been much worse from Pot 1.
Eintracht has a notoriously difficult home stadium which could be a big factor given Spurs’ style of play. Neither side clings to possession, but if the hosts can maintain the ball and builds some momentum off consistent chances, the levee keeps finding a way to break for Tottenham. Japanese attacker Daichi Kamada has led the way with four goals in 11 appearances this season.
- Mar 1982: 3-2 win (agg), Cup Winners’ Cup
Spurs cannot afford to lose this one. Splitting the points is probably fine, but with three points through two matchweeks, at some point the wins need to come in order to stay alive in the competition. Next week’s reverse fixture should be a little more favorable, but heading into that one with nearly everything on the line is not a comforting way to play.
With Dejan Kulusevski out, it might finally be time for Antonio Conte to make some tactical changes. The front three is not creating enough chances to justify being overrun in the midfield, and rotation is necessary anyway with an unbelievable nine matches on the calendar for October. Changes need to happen immediately, and that should start with the formation.
Success in both the league and in Europe are well within the conversation still, but everything can turn sour quite quickly if the performances do not start coming to life. Spurs are still in position to move on to the knockout rounds, but without some strong efforts over the next nine days, the outlook could fall apart in a hurry.