Ever play Football Manager or FIFA with a mediocre team, and in the first season in the top flight, you get to a point with a month left in the season where you have no chance of making Europe or getting relegated, so you just say "eff it" and simulate to the transfer window? That's what Tottenham Hotspur is right now. Mauricio Pochettino has hit sim.
Stoke City defeated Tottenham Hotspur 3-0 on Saturday, with Vlad Chiriches picking up a red card early in the second half. Most of the players on the pitch spent the game walking around like the result was irrelevant, mostly because it was. This is one of a series of meaningless games we're required to play, and we're not terribly interested in finding meaning in them.
Vlad got his two yellows in the exact same fashion. He was booked for pulling the shirt of Jonathan Walters in the 16th minute, then went on to get booked for the exact same thing in the 51st minute. Poche responded by moving Nabil Bentaleb into defense and playing Ryan Mason as a single pivot.
Stoke's first goal was scored by Charlie Adam with a header off a very nice cross by Mame Diouf in the 21st minute. Bentaleb and Mason were both asleep at the wheel as Adam ran in, while Chiriches made no effort to challenge him either. Somehow, Adam had a free header from point-blank range.
Steven Nzonzi doubled Stoke's lead in the 32nd minute, with the entire defense falling apart again. Eric Dier ran into Hugo Lloris as they both tried to clear a diagonal by Adam, and obviously, they failed to do so. The ball fell to Nzonzi, who hit a nice finish from just inside the box.
Given their complete lack of scoring chances in the first half, a Spurs revival seemed unlikely, but any chance of a comeback was totally dashed by Chiriches' red card.
As you might expect, Spurs started playing better after going down to 10 men, then went on to concede another goal just as they looked like they might be good enough to score. Diouf tapped in an Arnautovic cross in the 86th minute, smoking Jan Vertonghen, then beating Lloris at his near post.
And then it was over. Slurp down some intoxicants so you don't have to think about how we're not an attractive destination for world class players.