'The Wembley hoodoo lives on' - Three things learnt from Tottenham 0-0 Swansea City
Tottenham will be frustrated as they failed to win for the third successive Premier League match at Wembley as they could only take a point against Swansea City. They dominated possession and had 26 shots during the match, but they couldn’t find a way past Lukasz Fabianski. The closest they came was through Harry Kane, as the striker smashed the crossbar moments after half-time. Here are three things learnt from the match:
Mauricio Pochettino’s rotation hurt the team
Son Heung-min was impressive against Borussia Dortmund and did enough to retain his place, but he shouldn’t have been fielded at left wing-back. Ben Davies have been one of the best performers this season and he was rested against his former club. Mauricio Pochettino likes to rotate and he will do it frequently after Champions League matches. It was the Welshman that missed out on Saturday, but it now looks to be a mistake.
Tottenham have been very successful during recent seasons and their wing play has been a major factor in that. It wasn’t that Son didn’t play well, as he looked threatening in possession, but he isn’t a left wing-back. The team were unbalanced and that impacted on the transition phase, leading to slower and less incisive build-up play. Although Pochettino is correct to rotate, the decision to leave out Davies for the South Korean was an error.
Swansea are well organised but lack attacking threat
Paul Clement has overseen an upturn in the defensive fortunes of Swansea City and they are now difficult to break down. They have kept three clean sheets in five Premier League matches and that is an impressive record. It would have been four from five if they didn’t make a mess of defending a corner against Newcastle Unied last weekend. At Wembley, they kept a good shape and the performance of Federico Fernandez stood out in the middle of the back three.
There has been a defensive crisis across the Premier League at the beginning of this season and it is encouraging that Swansea can defend. However, that isn’t enough to keep them in the division, as Middlesbrough found out last season. The Swans have scored in only one of their opening five fixtures and that is a concern. They have the talent to cause problems, but they need to find a way to use it. If they don’t, they will be relegated.
The Wembley hoodoo lives on
The Wembley stats will continue to be rolled out until Tottenham go on a run of wins at home. They had an opportunity to make it two wins in a row at their temporary home, but they couldn’t do that and the negativity will return. Spurs have a good record against Swansea and this looked to be a great fixture for them after the Dortmund game. It wasn’t to be and they have now only taken two points from a possible nine at home this season.
There is too much talent for this to be anything other than a small mental problem. The discussion in the media and among supporters regarding the Wembley factor must be on the minds of the players, leading to poor performances. There were signs of fatigue as the match progressed, but they should have had enough to win the game.