Toolbox 2-1 Tottenham: ‘An enormous backward action – Jermaine Jenas on why Spurs’ recent development was ‘all a lie’

Toolbox 2-1 Tottenham: ‘An enormous backward action – Jermaine Jenas on why Spurs’ recent development was ‘all a lie’

Match of the Day 2 analysis

From Tottenham’s perspective, Sunday’s north London derby was a day when whatever bad that might have occurred, did.

After the method things had actually been advancing for Jose Mourinho’s side in current weeks, what I saw from them in their 2-1 defeat at Emirates Stadium felt like a huge backwards step in a number of ways.

Spurs had gone into the game on the back of three successive Premier League wins and a couple of convincing triumphes in Europe, scoring great deals of objectives and taking a few of those groups apart.

It was all looking good. They have got the Carabao Cup last to eagerly anticipate, they have actually got one foot in the quarter-finals of the Europa League and they are in touching distance of the top 4. Potentially, with the method they had actually started playing, I had believed this season might be incredible.

Then, one performance later on, I am left thinking that, no, it was all a lie.

It feels like all of my optimism was completely lost due to the fact that it followed they had played 3 minnows, generally, in Burnley, Fulham and Crystal Palace. The minute they have come up against anybody decent, they have reverted to type.

That suggests sitting deep and being cautious, which again got Spurs no place on Sunday. And what we saw versus Toolbox is what is going to take place every time unless Mourinho gets them back playing on the front foot.

‘ Tottenham’s state of mind was definitely awful’

Graphic showing Tottenham's starting XI versus Arsenal: Lloris, Doherty, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Reguilon, Hojbjerg, Ndombele, Bale, Moura, Son, Kane
Erik Lamela changed Child Heung-min, who went off after 19 minutes with what appeared to be a hamstring injury

It was an overall shocker of a display from Tottenham versus Toolbox however, first and foremost, their mindset for the video game was absolutely dreadful.

Entering into any derby with the kind of mentality I saw from the whole Spurs team in the very first half is asking for difficulty. They were there to be beaten, as basic as that.

I don’t see the point in putting Harry Kane, Gareth Bale, Child Heung-min and Lucas Moura on the pitch if you are simply going to sit off the opposition and let them have control of the game like they did.

The one thing you always attempt to do in these situations is let the other group understand who is manager. The last thing you want to do is let them develop their self-confidence, but Spurs did exactly that.

Early on, Arsenal were playing one, two then three passes and you might see them thinking ‘yeah, this is feeling excellent’. No-one stopped them.

I could sit here and state that Bale and Matt Doherty down Tottenham’s right side were weak – and, yes, that’s where Toolbox got a lot of joy going forward.

Graphic showing Arsenal's starting XI versus Tottenham: Leno, Cedric, Luiz, Gabriel, Tierney, Partey, Xhaka, Saka, Odegaard, Smith Rowe, Lacazette

But Bale is not on the pitch to protect, he is there to move forward and make things happen and that is another thing that I believed was missing out on enormously in the first half.

As soon as Boy went off hurt after 19 minutes there were no forward runners behind the Toolbox defence any longer. There was no attempt to hurt them whatsoever.

‘ Hojbjerg was no place to be seen’

Erik Lamela puts Tottenham in front against Arsenal
Lamela puts Tottenham ahead in the 33 rd minute. Before that relocation, which saw Lucas Moura help Sergio Reguilon’s cross into Lamela’s path, they had not managed a touch in the Gunners location

The one emphasize for Spurs was Lamela’s unbelievable ‘rabona’ goal. It was simply stunning, and it got me up and out of my seat despite the fact that my legs remain in pain after I’ve treked 100 km for Comic Relief this week.

But it came out of no place and they were unable to construct on it. Often when you take the lead versus the run of play like that you can type of state to each other “right, we need to sort it out now”, however that just didn’t take place.

Heatmaps showing possession by Arsenal (left) and Tottenham (right) just before Erik Lamela put Spurs ahead in the 33rd minute. Before that move, they had not managed a touch in the Gunners area
Heatmaps revealing ball touches by Toolbox (left) and Tottenham (ideal) prior to Lamela put Spurs ahead

Toolbox’s equaliser was a horrible goal to concede – the defending from Doherty was too weak and Kieran Tierney passed by him too quickly. From his cutback, Martin Odegaard was unmarked – it was all a little bit school child.

It was the very same right through the Spurs group. They didn’t look convincing in anything they did and they did not have any authority at all, anywhere on the pitch. I do not understand what’s happened to Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg recently. He began the season absolutely on fire, but I think it has gone under the radar how bad he has been in the past few weeks.

Hojbjerg was no place to be seen throughout Sunday’s video game, however he was not the only one. There was just poor performance after bad performance all over the pitch. It was so frustrating.

Kane was also exceptionally peaceful, till Lamela was dispatched. He decided to come to life, however I do not really understand why it took the red card for Spurs to start attacking. It felt a bit like they were believing “we are losing and down to 10 guys, let’s toss care to the wind”.

No, do not wait. You have actually got great players, so go and play forward in the very first location. When you have got that mentality to go and take threats, like Arsenal did, then you get the benefits.

‘ Kid injury adds salt to the injury’

Referee made a wrong choice – Mourinho

Don’t get me incorrect, the huge choices broke Spurs on Sunday – I don’t think it was a penalty for Arsenal’s winner and Lamela was unfortunate to get two yellow cards.

But that is not where the video game was won and lost – Toolbox were much the better side and they ended up winners due to the fact that they approached the game in an actually favorable way, they were brave on the ball and they revealed their quality.

In contrast, Tottenham’s method stank of a Mourinho who was more concerned with Toolbox than his own group, and revealing what Spurs might do. He didn’t set them as much as win that game, he set them up concerned about what the opposition can do to them.

To include a bit of salt to the injury, Spurs have lost Son for what could be the very best part of 6 weeks with his hamstring injury – and they have actually potentially lost some of Bale’s allegiance to the cause too.

If I were Bale, I would be frustrated at being dragged off before the hour mark of a north London derby, due to the fact that I would be looking around thinking I have actually been no even worse than anyone else here.

Mourinho might simply have actually sent out that relationship back to ground no.

Jermaine Jenas was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

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