'Bentancur, Romero and three other reasons not to despair at Spurs'
- Credit: PA/John Walton
A familiar feeling of doom has returned to the stands at Spurs.
Antonio Conte’s revolution appeared steady in the league until three losses on the trot spoilt the (subdued) party.
Goalkeeping errors and defensive panic presented Wolves with their goals on Sunday (February 13).
It is just a few weeks since Hugo Lloris signed a new contract and he made some good saves, but he will look at the goals with regret.
He failed to swipe the ball to safety in the build-up to Raul Jimenez's opener, and a misplaced pass put Ben Davies in an awkward situation ahead of Leander Dendoncker's goal.
Perhaps you can forgive an unconvincing defensive display from an unconvincing defence, but concerning is a poor attacking display from this strike force.
For much of the game, Tottenham had Harry Kane, Son Heung Min, Lucas Moura and Dejan Kulusevski on the pitch, yet chances were not converted.
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There is talk of Conte being Spursed/Spursified/Spursalised/Sput but these are early days still.
It has to be hoped that Conte will stick with it – there are foundations on which to build.
1 Rodrigo Bentancur
Kulusevski looked livelier during the Wolves game than we’ve seen so far, but Bentancur (“Betty”, according to my autocorrect) has settled in quicker.
He has a knack of receiving the ball and turning into space, buying time to pick a pass.
There’s an elegance to his movement and flare that suggests something more exciting than the journeyman some commentators have suggested – slick turns, keepy-uppies and Hollywood passes.
Of course, plenty of players have show similar promise but fans have already taken Betty to their hearts.
2 Cristian Romero
With Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen, Mauricio Pochetinno forged one of the best central defensive partnerships in Europe, and since then, understandably, the club has struggled to field a consistently solid defence.
Eric Dier has looked good for stretches this season but it is Romero, who gives some hope for the future.
The Argentinian is 23, young for a centre back, yet shows good instincts on the pitch, as well as having the strength and anticipation to impose himself.
Conte favours a back three and it may be that Romero’s success at the club depends on who plays alongside him.
There is sense to the claim Spurs should have sold Kane to Manchester City in the summer, but they didn’t.
Although his form has dropped, the team’s woes can’t be put down to him alone
Son, at times, has been unplayable and, early in the season, Lucas Moura was the best striker in north London (appreciate him while he is here, Spurs fans).
Kulusevski still has to earn his place but his record suggests he can do so. Steven Bergwijn has earned himself a degree of cult status.
There may be changes in the summer but plenty of clubs (Wolves, for example, or Arsenal) would be delighted with these attackers available.
4 This stadium
It was disappointing to hear the Y-word chants so early on, after the club called for fans to move on, but if we can get beyond that, the club has the best stadium on the country – a venue for title challenges and cup runs – glory.
5 Still in the race
Spurs’ inconsistency can easily be matched by Manchester United, Arsenal, West Ham, Wolves and anyone else who sees them self in the race for fourth spot on any given week.
The season can yet be labelled a success.