Tottenham Hotspur 2017/18 Premier League Season Review: November, Alderweireld Injury

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 01: Toby Alderweireld of Tottenham Hotspur looks on during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid at Wembley Stadium on November 1, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images)

Tottenham‘s month of November got off to a sensational start. On the first of the month, they triumphed 3-1 over Real Madrid at Wembley. The only black mark from that game was the significant injury picked up by Toby Alderweireld. With games against Crystal Palace, Arsenal, West Brom and Leicester coming up, they had to cope without the Belgian.

Tottenham Hotspur 2017/18 Premier League Season Review: November, Alderweireld Injury

Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 Crystal Palace

Tottenham picked up yet another win at Wembley as Heung-min Son‘s second-half goal was enough to beat Roy Hodgson’s revived side. In the absence of Hugo Lloris and Michael Vorm, Paulo Gazzaniga had an outstanding debut. It was a rather flat performance in front of a similarly flat crowd. However,  Spurs managed to pick up the all-important three points.

Mauricio Pochettino was delighted with the performance of his fellow countryman between the sticks: “I am so happy for the different players who came in, people like Paulo, who played fantastically well. He is an unbelievable option to have as a keeper and I am really happy for him and his family that he performed like that.”

Arsenal 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur

For the first time since Pochettino’s appointment, Spurs lost a North London Derby in the league. First-half goals from Shkodran Mustafi and Alexis Sanchez sealed victory for the Gunners. Both the goals could (and possibly should) have been ruled out for offside. Spurs didn’t create much on the front foot and were outplayed in midfield. The absence of Alderweireld was evident as Spurs struggled defensively.

Pochettino said: “It was an even game in terms of shots on target, off target, possession. I am only disappointed because the effort was massive from the team. It is obvious you saw what happened in the game and the small details were against us, it makes it difficult to win. I am very proud with the effort.”

Tottenham Hotspur 1-1 West Bromwich Albion

Spurs’ run of wins at Wembley came to an end when managerless West Brom deservedly picked up a point at the national stadium. It was the visitors who opened the scoring after just four minutes when Salomon Rondon out-muscled Davinson Sanchez before firing past Lloris. Harry Kane got on the end of a Dele Alli cross to equalize 15 minutes from time. It was an underwhelming performance from Spurs who were perhaps lucky to get a point.

Kane acknowledged the poor performance after the match, saying it was “not good enough”. He said “We have to look back and see why we were slow getting going in the first half. But it’s not good enough.” Pochettino praised his side’s effort but admitted the early concession made it a difficult game: “I think we are disappointed because the effort from us was massive but we conceded the goal so early in the game, and they had the belief to play deep, so it was hard for us to move the ball.”

Leicester City 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur

The recent blip in form became more serious as Spurs fell to defeat at the King Power Stadium. Pochettino saw his side miss chance after chance in the first half. Goals from Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez gave Claude Puel a 2-0 goal lead at the break. Kane pulled one back for Spurs with 10 minutes left. Despite a major penalty claim from Danny Rose in injury time, Spurs effort proved to be in vain as they dropped out of the top 4. Spurs were showing signs of not being able to cope without Alderweireld.

Pochettino was disappointed with what he saw: “I think we started so sloppy, that disappointed us a lot. We need to learn from this that we need to start every game with the first idea to fight and compete. Leicester showed more than us. Even though we had chances to score and stay in the game, we were poor.”

Following a very poor month domestically, Spurs found themselves in fifth place. They were one-point behind fourth-placed Arsenal, but a significant gap was beginning to open up between them and the top two. It was confirmed that Toby Alderweireld would be out for a number of months, which only made matters worse.

LONDON, ENGLAND – NOVEMBER 01: Toby Alderweireld of Tottenham Hotspur looks on during the UEFA Champions League group H match between Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid at Wembley Stadium on November 1, 2017 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images)

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