Tottenham Hotspur’s excellent run of form in the Premier League came to an end yesterday evening, whilst Manchester City moved a step closer to their now inevitable title coronation. City won 3-1 at Wembley – outplaying Spurs for the second time this season.
There was plenty to be concerned about from a Tottenham perspective. The overall gulf in class between the two sides was immediately evident. The performance of Hugo Lloris, the once dependable captain of the Tottenham ship, was again questionable.
But the biggest worry was the display of Colombian defender Davinson Sanchez. The summer signing from Ajax has been a revelation this season. Signed for a fee reported by the BBC to be in the region of £42 million he has established himself as a key member of the Spurs team. So much so, that City’s leading light Kevin De Bruyne even confirmed last week that Sanchez was his vote for PFA Young Player of the Year.
Against City, however, he was poor. Gabriel Jesus and Raheem Sterling targeted his naivety from the get-go and exposed his frailties in brutal fashion.
Sanchez, for all the qualities he does have, struggles with concentration and keeping a line. He consistently played Jesus and Sterling onside throughout the game, often finding himself fortunate for some wasteful finishing.
It is not the first time this issue has cost Tottenham at Wembley. Sanchez struggled with a similar style being played by Juventus. The Italian side dumped Spurs out of the Champions League as a consequence.
The impact of Toby Alderweireld’s absence has rarely been laid out so bare. The Belgian looks set to be on his way this summer after a contract fall-out with the club. As a result, he is currently not being considered for selection by Mauricio Pochettino.
But this game and the one v Juventus shows that Sanchez is not quite up to standard yet when it comes to the massive games. Alderweireld is the sort of player Spurs need in such big games.
It shows that this summer Tottenham must bring in a more experienced replacement if they are to maintain serious silverware ambitions. It’s that, or Daniel Levy might have to edge closer to Alderweireld’s wage demands, reported by the Daily Mail to be near £10m-a-season.
That is not going to happen. So a quality replacement must be targeted because right now, Sanchez is not up to the standard necessary when it comes to the biggest games.