Tottenham Hotspur lost 2-1 to Aston Villa in the Premier League at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last Sunday. It was Spurs’ third successive defeat in the league and pushed them down to the fifth place with 26 points from 13 matches.
Ironically though, they still trail table-toppers Arsenal by only four points, even after those three losses. In one of the most intense races for the title in recent times, only a point apiece separates the top five teams in the league table this season.
James Maddison did not play in any of the last three matches for Spurs, and his absence has hurt them like anything. The 27-year-old play-maker has been one of the better players in England this season, and his combination with Son Heung-min has helped Tottenham immensely in the recent past.
However, the club’s inability to replace him has been quite evident and has made them suffer as a result. They have resorted to playing with a 4-3-3 formation instead of their preferred 4-2-3-1 in the absence of a genuine number 10. Still, their attack has lacked teeth, and their high-risk, adventurous style of play not helping their cause either.
Tottenham was leading by a goal against Wolverhampton Wanderers with a few minutes to go, but let in a couple of goals in stoppage time to lose the match. They are yet to recover from that blow. Moreover, in the match against Chelsea, a couple of Spurs players saw red cards. Moreover, Ange Postecoglou insisted on playing with a high line in spite of that.
It turned out to be quite a disastrous decision, as the Spurs conceded three goals in the second half, with Nicolas Jackson scoring a hat-trick.
Then in the match against Aston Villa, Son succeeded in putting the ball into the net thrice. Yet, on each occsaion, the South Korean international was in an offside position. The rub of the green has simply not gone Tottenham’s way in those matches, putting them out of the top four in the league table.
Tottenham will play Manchester City and Newcastle United in their next two matches, each of which likely to be a challenging fixture. Manchester City is the best team in the world, while facing Newcastle away is a task that no team wants to undertake at the moment.
Should Tottenham come out unscathed from those two games, the North Londoners can think of putting their league campaign back on track once again by winning a few matches against lowly oppositions.
However, at the moment, the momentum has firmly shifted away from them. As a result, it will take some recovery for them to be in the reckoning for the league title once again. Maddison is out until January at least. Thus, Postecoglou will have to device a way to win matches without his services for the time being. It remains to be seen how Spurs goes about that task in the upcoming matches.