Tottenham's dismal Arsenal defeat sees them hit rock bottom – and alarm bells are ringing


When a team manages to make even this most chaotic and disjointed Arsenal side look like world beaters, you know that something is drastically wrong at the club. The day after the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium put on a spectacular show for Anthony Joshua vs Oleksandr Usyk, their football outfit were dealt a knockout blow with a dismal 3-1 defeat against their most hated rivals from down the Seven Sisters Road. 

It’s fair to say Spurs fans will not be sharing their chairman Daniel Levy’s enthusiasm at the millions of pounds made from hosting boxing and NFL events at their state-of-the-art ground as long as the players they support are so desperately poor.

“Tottenham Hotspur, you’ll always be s***”, sang the home crowd with glee time after time. On today’s basis, it’s difficult to disagree.

You can put Spurs’ dramatic decline from Champions League finalists to Premier League mid-table fodder down to a variety of factors, and today it was possible to point the finger of blame at almost anyone associated with the Lilywhites.

The 11 who started were woeful across the board, with perhaps goalscorer Heung-min Son the only man who could hold his head up high at full-time.

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The back four were ponderous and slow to react to danger, while goalkeeper Hugo Lloris will feel he could have done better for the third goal.

Tanguy Ndombele put in his typical drifting in and out of the game showing alongside the hard-working but limited Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, and Dele Alli once again appeared a shadow of his former self before being hooked at half-time. Surely the time has come for Spurs to cut their losses and move him on.

Lucas Moura has mastered the art of looking busy but ultimately doing little else but run into cul-de-sacs. Harry Kane, meanwhile, looked like he’d rather be almost anywhere else, and for a figure who has been so prolific in this fixture over the years to have such a quiet day at the office sums up the malaise that has crept in.

Not one Spurs player was able to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and take charge, and that lack of character and bottle is a creeping cancer that they do not seem able to eradicate no matter what they try. 

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And then there is the man on the sidelines, Nuno Espirito Santo, who spent the majority of the match with his hands in his pockets staring despairingly into space. 

Of course, the rot started long before he was appointed as manager, but at the moment he is not helping himself, and looked some way out of his depth when things started to go wrong this afternoon.

The Portuguese has not managed to implement any type of clear playing style, and even when Spurs won their opening three games of the season it seemed like they were riding their luck and making it up as they went along, relying far too heavily on the counter attack. 

Bryan Gil was a rare bright spark for Spurs today when he came on with 20 minutes to go today, and one has to question why Nuno has not used the young Spanish winger more up until now.

Spurs fans will be more patient with Nuno than they were with the highly unpopular Jose Mourinho, but this North London Derby defeat will certainly not do him any favours. 

The main guilty party for this most embarrassing and chastening of afternoons, however, has to be Levy.

The notorious chairman rode the wave of optimism that Mauricio Pochettino managed to build, but then took his eye off the ball, refusing to invest in a squad which was crying out for reinforcements and fresh blood and instead putting all his focus into off-field commercial opportunities.

Patience was running thin with him before today amongst fans, and it would be no surprise to see protests and anti-ENIC feeling on the rise now.

Much like Joshua, Spurs were beaten by a far superior opponent, and the worry now will be over just how far they may fall.

It could be a long, long season ahead.  


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