Lucas Moura and Kieran Trippier celebrate a goal during PSV 2-2 Tottenham in the Champions League.

PSV 2-2 Tottenham: beating the full backs

Beating the full backs saw the Eindhoven defence opened up, but individual errors cost us dearly as our Champions League match ended PSV 2-2 Tottenham.

Spurs played some glorious football at times. However, horrendous mistakes gifted two goals and saw us reduced to ten men as it ended PSV 2-2 Tottenham in Eindhoven.

Spurs beat the full backs

This match was there for the taking and Spurs continually opened PSV up in the full back areas. The key was the dovetail movement between Lucas Moura and Kieran Trippier.

PSV played their usual 4-3-3 formation. Given their central trio wanted to push up behind their forwards, it left a huge amount of space between the lines. Lucas Moura drifted in to this space from his wide starting position.

Lucas Moura drifts infield between the Eindhoven lines during PSV 2-2 Tottenham.

Lucas Moura drifts infield between the Eindhoven lines.

As a result PSV left back, Angelino, got drawn in to cover him. This opened up room out wide for Kieran Trippier to gallop in to.

As a result of Moura's movement, Trippier has space out wide during PSV 2-2 Tottenham.

As a result of Moura’s movement, Trippier has space out wide.

Trippier became the key chance creator in the match. His constant forward runs saw him often get the ball with space to deliver telling passes.

This constant movement of Moura drifting infield to draw the full back and Trippier benefiting from the space outside was a consistent theme and the source of many good Spurs attacks.

Lucas Moura's positioning to draw Angelino gave space to Trippier during PSV 2-2 Tottenham.

Lucas Moura’s positioning to draw Angelino gave space to Trippier.

Tottenham errors

The other major theme in this Champions League tie was Tottenham errors. We gifted two goals from them and were also reduced to ten men after Christian Eriksen lazily gave the ball away.

PSV took the lead as Hirving Lozano converted after stealing the ball from Toby Alderweireld.

Smart play from Lozano loitering on the halfway line created his chance.  The forward was itching to close down Alderweireld, but held off until he saw the pass going towards the defender. Toby should’ve easily dealt with the situation. However, he turned straight in to the PSV man.

Lozano tore off towards goal, but Alderweireld recovered superbly. As he challenged for the ball it seemed as if he had dug himself out of an embarrassing hole. However, Lozano’s shot somehow deflected up in the air and looped over the helpless Hugo Lloris. PSV was in front against the run of play.

Spurs set pieces

Tottenham created havoc at set pieces. The first two corners saw Harry Kane fire a shot that was deflected just over the bar. The resulting corner saw Kane head against the post.

The tactics from Spurs were simple. Miss out the crowd at the near post and live off the chances where PSV were one-versus-one or outnumbered at the far post.

Tottenham had created chances for Kane this way and then had the ball in the net. Trippier’s corner missed out the congested near post. Toby Alderweireld saw his header saved, but Davinson Sanchez was free at the back post to steer the ball home. The passage of play was Spurs reward for a continued tactic. However, the linesman raised his flag and shockingly gave Harry Kane offside for supposedly interfering somehow.

Spurs continued to be a threat from set pieces. The best chance from a number of them saw the PSV goalkeeper, Jeroen Zoet, clearing off the line from another Kane header.

Spurs beat the full backs to score

The movement between Lucas Moura and Kieran Trippier was Spurs way to goal during open play. It was this tandem that got us back on level terms.

Lucas Moura had drifted infield to take Angelino with him once again. Trippier was therefore left in space out wide.

Moura drags Angelino central as Eriksen finds Trippier free to assist the goal during PSV 2-2 Tottenham.

Moura drags Angelino central as Eriksen finds Trippier free to assist the goal.

Christian Eriksen had drifted in to that pocket between the PSV midfield and defence. Eriksen’s pinpoint pass played Tripper in. Moura arrived on cue to fire the cutback in to the net via a deflection. A return to parity at PSV 1-1 Tottenham.

Spurs continued to push this attacking ploy against the PSV full backs who insisted on tracking our wide forward.

A second goal was added by doing the exact same thing on the other flank. Son Heung-Min drifted infield to drag right back Denzel Dumfries with him. Ben Davies and Christian Eriksen were therefore left free as a result.

Son drags the right back towards the centre, which frees Eriksen and Davies during PSV 2-2 Tottenham.

Son drags right back Dumfries towards the centre, which frees Eriksen and Davies.

Eriksen burst in to the space and picked out Harry Kane at the far post. Kane cushioned the header in to the goal to make the score PSV 1-2 Tottenham. There only looked to be one winner at this point.

Spurs stupid errors

Tottenham were cruising and should’ve added more. The only major worry was Mousa Dembele and his run-ins with the referee who didn’t like his heavy-handed approach. Hirving Lozano throwing himself around at every opportunity when Dembele was in the vicinity equally didn’t help.

Dembele being replaced by Harry Winks seemed to quell any chance of a red card until we shot ourselves in the foot once again. Pablo Rosario easily intercepted a casual flick pass from Christian Eriksen. Rosario instantly released Lozano who was taken out by the onrushing Hugo Lloris.

Lloris was given his marching orders and we were left to play out the remaining ten minutes with ten men.

Spurs down to ten men

Playing with ten saw even more naivety from Spurs. Defensive shape when down a man must have been worked upon in training. All teams practice it should the situation occur.

However, Spurs continued to play Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen in advanced positions. The formation was in effect a 4-2-1-2 as Eriksen played in front of Harry Winks and Eric Dier. Erik Lamela then pushed up alongside Harry Kane.

The setup was madness with the time left and protecting a one-goal lead. The formation congested the centre of the pitch, but left space out wide and therefore no help for Kieran Trippier or Ben Davies.

Errors lead to equaliser

Trippier then needlessly went through the back of wide forward Donyell Malen to concede a free kick.

The resulting set piece defensive setup wasn’t good. Erik Lamela was a one-man wall in no man’s land. With eleven this can be acceptable, but with ten men, he had to be in the box defending. Lamela was then slow to run back and deal with the partial clearance by Davinson Sanchez.

Equally at fault was Christian Eriksen. The Dane looked exhausted at this point and should’ve been replaced, but Mauricio Pochettino was out of changes. Eriksen was supposed to have been sweeping the edge of the box for second balls and should’ve picked up Rosario as he drifted in late.

The combination of Eriksen and Lamela let Rosario waltz in and get his shot away. In the middle Luuk de Jong had drifted away from his marker, Ben Davies. De Jong flicked Rosario’s miss-hit effort past Michel Vorm to make the score PSV 2-2 Tottenham as a gaggle of defenders watched on.

Defenders watch on as Luuk de Jong scores to make it PSV 2-2 Tottenham.

Defenders watch on as Luuk de Jong scores to make it PSV 2-2 Tottenham.

It was poor play all round and yet another error in an evening that was filled with them.

Despite throwing away the lead, Spurs had the chance to win the game. Kieran Trippier once more the provider from wide. However, Harry Kane couldn’t get his shot away quickly enough after superbly bringing down the initial ball.

The score remained PSV 2-2 Tottenham and two precious Champions League points thrown away.

PSV 2-2 Tottenham overall

At times Tottenham looked back in top gear in this match. The movement of Moura and Trippier was carving the PSV left side open. What’s more, Christian Eriksen was buzzing around and dictating the tempo like he’d never been away.

However, errors cost us dearly once again. Our best defender, Toby Alderweireld, continues to struggle when asked to play left centre back. Hugo Lloris looks a yard slow. He made yet another rash decision to hurtle from his line when staying back may well have seen the situation dealt with by those in front of him.

Our position in the group looks precarious. Two wins are imperative from the next two matches. Favours will also still be needed elsewhere in the final group game.

Final score: PSV 2-2 Tottenham.
MOTM: Harry Kane.

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22 Responses to PSV 2-2 Tottenham: beating the full backs

  1. Mark from Virginia 25th October 2018 at 5:52 pm #

    Hi Mark,
    You have put my post game thoughts to words in exquisite fashion. Unbelievably frustrating this game was. I can’t understand for the life of me how this team can go from brilliant to incompetent so quickly. This is maddening to watch and Poch must be beside himself.
    The team’s current form makes me wonder if Poch has run out of ideas with this group – or maybe the Poch saga has run it’s course. I hope not!
    The referees in this game did us no favors for sure. Dembele’s yellow card was unwarranted and the resulting free kick 10 yard “foam” line was at least 12 yards from the ball – I think this is what Eriksen was complaining to the ref about.
    The disallowed goal was poor refereeing as well. Kane was in a similar position for the Moura goal. It seemed to me the cards were stacked against Spurs from the start. It’s such a shame the team shot itself in the foot once again.
    Thanks for the write up. I fear Monday’s match – which team will show up – Brilliant or Incompetent?

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 26th October 2018 at 3:27 pm #

      Hi Mark, this game really did combine the sublime with the ridiculous. Great in patches, but equally awful. A manager can send his team out there with the best tactics, but can’t legislate for so many individual errors. I don’t think Poch has run out of ideas. His constant tinkering with the team, player positions and formations show that. Maybe he has been tinkering too much? I do think he has been suffering with the number of injuries we’ve had to key players and the World Cup fatigue hangover. Hopefully the time that the likes of Dele, Eriksen, Jan etc have missed will be a blessing in disguise in that it will have given them so much needed rest and they’ll be much stronger towards the end of the season.

      I fear for Monday. Man City love to get the ball quickly in-behind a high line – much like Barcelona do – so it could get ugly if the errors happen again and Lloris is aimlessly flying from his line.

      • Mark from Virginia 26th October 2018 at 4:13 pm #

        The most worrisome thing for me is the lack of evidence that the team has learned anything from the Juvetus loss last season – they keep making the same mistakes. There was a glimmer of promise earlier in the season, but it has faded. Maybe you’re right about these troubles being due to injuries. I just can’t shake the feeling that something has gone terribly wrong!
        Let’s keep the faith and hope this all gets sorted – Monday won’t be too soon!

  2. Sam Abrahams 25th October 2018 at 7:33 pm #

    Hi Mark from Virginia and Mark!

    Great analysis as always.

    I don’t see Pochettino as having ‘run out of ideas’ at all – this game saw some of our best football of the season. But individual errors and inconsistent decisions changed the game (they had 2 men in offside positions for the equaliser ffs!).

    I think Lloris’s Barcelona and PSV errors are very worrying. I also worry about our strength in central midfield. Beyond that, though, I think we should be very positive.

    Despite all the goings on at the club, we’ve been steadily been picking up the results, and there are signs that we’ll soon be ready to hit our top form (by Monday evening, please).

    The PSV result is gutting, and likely we’re out of the competition – but perspective and the bigger picture should keep us from questioning Pochettino and/or the state of the team.

    Once Dele is back and Son is ticking, I think we have a truly fantastic squad, albeit slightly weaker in the centre when compared with the last 3 seasons.

    That said, here’s hoping for no more frickin’ injuries, red cards, dumb dashes off the line, or late goals conceded.

    • Luther 26th October 2018 at 1:48 am #

      Totally agree with regard to Lloris.
      As I mentioned last week I do not believe in him + he is not right for Poch’s system.

      To make matters worse, he’s starting to fail at his corner stone & main reason why he was perfect for AVB’s system ie. being a sweeper-keeper. I’m willing to bet 10 pounds that the customary Man City type error is coming through on Monday.

      As for the central midfield issue, it’s unlikely to go away any time soon. We have 2 players over 30 (Dembele- injury-prone but still the best & Wanyama- whose best years are blatantly behind him), then Dier and Winks who haven’t fulfilled their potential. Tho I loved Dier this game

      I still question Poch.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 26th October 2018 at 3:31 pm #

      We played well in patches and that was due in large part to the movement between Moura and Trippier, but equally due to Eriksen’s return. We always look half the team that we are when he is not in the line-up.

      Lloris’ form is becoming a concern. Man City will love to play against him if he continues with these rash decisions. They like to get the ball in-behind for Sterling and Aguero’s runs, so it will be a tense 90 minutes for Hugo on Monday.

  3. Zaph Mann 25th October 2018 at 8:40 pm #

    I saw it coming because of the same unnecessary recycling of possession I’ve highlighted before.
    THE BIG NEWS is that Pochettino highlighted it too in the press conference…

    Now we know what I’ve suspected – that it’s the players who choose to not be brave when we break the lines – instead turning and passing back and switching – then one slightly off midfield pass leads to it going all the way back – then we see the press and IF we get caught there’s the opposition in a dream position.

    We’re often good at it – and sometimes it pays off – like Llamela’s goal against Brighton (I think) where we went all the way back and got out.

    But i’d say it pays off verses gifts opportunities in a negative ratio – maybe 1:2 even 1:4

    The difference is that braver teams – like City when they get the initial situation between the lines – often check and switch back out like we do but – just as often simply keep it there changing angles with others running beyond or back to change and probing 2-3 times, either way they get in a cross, pass – shot, hopeful or not.

    The other issue is just quality – Son seems to have gone from humble supplier to Kane to Asian star bighead constantly making the wrong decisions. Simple goals are missed because of a lack of calmness around the area.

    Both these factors are what makes Dele Ali important to the team – however he has other issues – losing possession a lot, or playing safe and recycling too much.

    • Luther 26th October 2018 at 1:33 am #

      You must be a new fan:”Now we know what I’ve suspected – that it’s the players who choose to not be brave when we break the lines – instead turning and passing back and switching”

      & You’ve got to to be kidding me. Poch is definitely to blame here. When a pattern of play is defaulted to for 4+ seasons, it’s definitely on the coach. Poch does not need any apologists.

      • Chas 26th October 2018 at 2:10 am #

        Totally agree, Luther. It’s been my complaint for 3 years. Davies and Sanchez, in particular, seem almost incapable of thinking anything else but sideways/backwards.
        So frustrating and so predictable but the main problem is it is done so badly.
        And as an extra issue – watch just how many back passes go BEHIND the receiver who then turns and feels obliged by his positioning to pass back again
        That’s just careless, shite football.
        And we watch it every week.

      • Zaph Mann 26th October 2018 at 3:10 am #

        I’m not a new fan and have coached teams to titles in 6 leagues on in two countries and played in several (all low level – but I know a little. Pochettino did take responsibility, but what these latest comments suggest is that the players are instructed to play that way at certain times and in certain circumstances – when it can be effective – but they were collectively choosing the easy option.

        I’m with you both that it’s been an ongoing fault – all the way back to Bentaleb in DM. It’s a subtle thing getting players to play in a certain flow and then switch to a different one based on the score.

        Previously I’ve been applying most all the blame on Pochettino and his staff but when we had the best defence in the league and best finishes with a squad that looks inferior to the erst of the top six – greatly overachieving… I was frankly amazed by what they were achieving…. Pochetino talks more and more about the next level and I think this is where the wheels are wobbling – most of the squad just aren’t up to that level.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 26th October 2018 at 3:32 pm #

      Dele’s return can’t come soon enough. We are seeing right now how much we miss him.

  4. Luther 26th October 2018 at 2:20 am #

    The refereeing was atrocious but I still think we had enough chances to put the game out of reach way before the red card. I wasn’t one of those fine margin games which in turn made it more frustrating to watch.

    Still think that we shouldn’t have subbed Dembele despite the 2nd yellow danger. Saving him for Monday doesn’t bode well for us. He is very ineffective against teams that know how to press. We have never won a game against Pep’s City or Klopp’s Pool with him on the pitch.Throw in Real for good measure and there might be a trend. Fingers crossed for a miracle on Monday. Sissiko perhaps?

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 26th October 2018 at 3:38 pm #

      The ref had taken a distinct dislike to Mousa and was on the verge of sending him off. He did indicate that one more challenge and he’d be in the book again, which made Poch’s mid up to take him off. I’m not sure Winks was the answer, but we could’ve been down another man had Dembele stayed on. Against City I’d rather have Dembele than Sissoko. Wanyama and Winks also ahead of Sissoko for me too.

  5. Brian 26th October 2018 at 2:52 am #

    Hi mark
    Once again,a truly excellent account of the game Mark.
    The things that struck me,during the game,were Eriksen’s rather lazy game.
    And I know that I do rather go on and on about this,after game after game.
    But to continuely not take our opportunities,,came back too haunt us yet again..
    And will continue to do so,unless we wake up.It is especially made more annoyinng,when our defensive errors do not help.Something we were a lot better at last season.Was our defensiive
    structure.I Know, I do rather go on and on about our missed opportunities.But it is becoming a rather common affair with Tottenham these days..

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 26th October 2018 at 3:44 pm #

      Hi Brian, our conversion rate in this match was pretty woeful and its another Champions League game where failing to press home an advantage has come back to haunt us.

      In the Premier League our conversion rate is actually much better. We sit 5th for shot accuracy behind Arsenal, Man Utd, Leicester and Man City. What’s more we are level 7th with Liverpool for shot to goal conversion (12.7%). We’ve had an average performance level, but these numbers show part of the reason why we have started well in the Premier League and indicate that may be good things are around the corner!

  6. Chu2ks 26th October 2018 at 10:13 am #

    It’s very hard to keep saying we’ll get better, or blame fatigue issues, but there you have it. If I take my emotion out of it as a supporter, I’d say Poch has done as well as he can with physically impressive player who for the majority, are not as gifted technically.

    Pep’s blessings wherever he has worked, has been possessing the combination of supremely technically gifted individuals, who had a high work ethic and some physicality. The emphasis on the former. Poch has had the reverse, and done a mighty fine job. The fear was always going to be when the physical side let you down, due to injuries or fatigue, cramped schedule…and alas, this has finally happened. I am not surprised, and I fully understand it, but it has been hard trying to explain it to my other Spurs brethren, who forgive me, have become accustomed to a certain higher standard, and to almost mimic our North London neighbours, become entitled, without a title.

    The movement finally improved and if we had been more clinical, we would have walked away with three points, and this thread would be redundant. However, this has not been the case, and here we are.

    I don’t think Lucas merits a starting spot over Lamela, but I’m hearing Lamela’s training is being managed, so maybe they keep saving him for impacts, and to start bigger games. I believe we need another DM, Wanyama injuries have cost us competition for a spot and freshness that he would have had not going to that world Cup, which in my opinion (coupled with the worst kits since the 90s) has jinxed us. I’ve been debating the advantage of having a left-footed player playing left CB, but being drowned out by comparison to players who aren’t left-footed doing a job like Ramos or any of the CIty mob.

    Until Spurs fans stop comparing themselves to other clubs, we’ll always fall short. We need technically better players in this next phase of our growth. We don’t have them. We are not spending money. We don’t have that much spending money. The truth hurts. We are finding new ways to try to win. We move on. COYS!

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 26th October 2018 at 3:54 pm #

      Central midfield, and especially defensive central midfield, is proving an issue right now. Wanyama being out so long has really hurt us. Dembele is not the same player that he was. Winks has been out a lot as well and his form has been patchy. I wasn’t surprised to see the Wilmar Barrios links resurface again this week. Whether these are true or just a slow media day, it is potentially a public admittance that we have a problem here. I’d also see if Morgan Schneiderlin is available in January. He seems surplus to requirements at Everton and may be available at a good price. Poch made his career and could easily revitalise it.

      • YouShubes 27th October 2018 at 10:28 am #

        Was surprised we did not go in for him before he went to everton…is homegrown… but would be lacking in confidence no?

        Much as we fret about the idea of Toby leaving, Jan seems to be irreplaceable at LCB… can’t think of a time we have been without him for a long period and we are missing him greatly

        • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 28th October 2018 at 1:03 pm #

          Confidence is a fickle thing, often boosted by a move or new surroundings. He was struggling to come to terms with the death of his father, which is why he has been sighted even less in the Everton squad recently. I would expect he’d be available at a decent price with 2 years left on his current deal in the summer. I also don’t think he fits with Marco Silva’s plans and could be a good move for both parties.

          Left-sided centre backs are premium and we need Jan back as soon as possible. I’d be looking to use Davies there as part of a three and Rose at wing back until Jan can return.

  7. Toby4eva 27th October 2018 at 12:18 am #

    Firstly I’d like to apologise to all for our no4 giving away that dumb goal. But I think he’s got enough coins in the bank to expect some forgiveness.

    I gave him a hug.

    Can’t add much to the usual deep analysis, but do want to ask a question about a point that was well made by Chas.

    How do high quality footballers who are paid more annually than the Japanese GDP and train perhaps five days a week find themselves chronically unable to pass a football into the most logical and beneficial path of a team mate?

    It would be like lobbing at the Albert Hall and listening to the LSO playing Dvorjak’s “Serenade for Strings” with the lead violin was hitting bum notes all night.

    It is precisely that – shite.

    Anyhoo – another game needlessly thrown away. I thought we had left old mate “Spursy” bound and gagged in a suitcase in a remote boggy marsh, but he’s bloody well escaped…

    OK – Glass Half Full Man suit back on.

    We will comfortably finish PL top five, get beaten in a domestic Cup semi final and move into our new digs.

    And we might purchase a cheap French footballer in January.


    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 28th October 2018 at 12:56 pm #

      Apology accepted ;) of all the players making a gaff like that, Toby is way down the list. Hopefully that’s his one for the season out the way!
      We could well be back in for French footballers in January. With our central midfield issues and the links with Barrios then I’m expecting the Ndombele rumours to resurface.

  8. Toby4eva 29th October 2018 at 4:33 am #

    Cheers boss!

    I have had Ndombele at the top of my shopping list for a while.

    He might be French – but he ain’t cheap now.

    Bank breaker – but worth it my book.

    The bloke is a beast!

    We need a beast or two in the middle now that Bullwinkle appears to be firmly in the grip of Boris and Natasha….