Spurs drops points after being caught cold by West Brom
We must start winning more matches at Wembley, says Tottenham boss
25 November, 2017 — By Dan Carrier
FA Premier League
SPURS 1 (Kane, 74)
WEST BROMWICH ALBION 1 (Rondon, 3)
TOTTENHAM’S slim hopes of catching league leaders Manchester City took a big blow today when struggling West Brom earned a point at Wembley.
The Baggies, who are being looked after by caretaker Gary Megson after the sacking of Tony Pulis, had a dream start under the seat-warming boss when they took an early lead through Salomon Randon. Spurs enjoyed a huge share of possession – coming in at 73 per cent, and fired more than 20 shots goalwards – but it took an equaliser with 15 to go from Harry Kane to level things up. They are now 10 points behind City and such a result means surely Spurs will be looking to secure a top four spot and can write off any genuine title charge.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino said he felt his side was not suffering from a Champions League hangover after winning at Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday – but were not good enough close to goal.
He said: “In the last third today we needed to do more, be more clinical.”
And he added he felt his team started badly and took time to get going. He said: “We moved the ball too slowly in the first half hour – but the last 15 minutes of the first half we played much better and the second half was very good. We deserved to win through the chances we created. When you look at the statistics, West Brom had two shots on target and we did not concede one corner. I do not like talking about statistics too much but we created chances and situations. Our performance was enough to win.”
He added that any chance of pushing for the title now seemed unlikely and he called for an improvement in the sides home form. He said: “The gap is massive. We need to win more games at Wembley. It is a different experience to White Hart Lane, but this is our reality.”
The Baggies goal stemmed from Dele Alli losing the ball too casually in the centre and Randon stomping his way past defender Davinson Sanchez. His finish was a cute as his run was bustling: he rolled a gentle ball into the far corner past Hugo Lloris from an angle.
It meant West Brom, who were set up from the start to sit deep, were even more content to defend. This invited Tottenham to attack and the West Brom goal had some hairy moments. In the first half, Spurs went close through a Heung-Min Son cross that Kane’s boot was a studs breadth away from turning in, and the South Korean also saw a shot deflected narrowly over. Kane then dragged an effort wide of Ben Fosters left hand post with the keeper flat footed.
Son, who was the liveliest for Spurs throughout, took the game again to the visitors in the second half. He saw another powerful shot blocked and then a mazy run took him past three but he could not find the extra yard needed to finish. Time and again West Brom’s green shirted defence saw off a Spurs attack – and their luck lasted until the 73rd minute. Keiran Trippier combined with Alli to create space on the right and Alli’s inch perfect cross found Kane drifting into space to guide home from close range. Moments later Kane thought he had won a penalty after he was knocked over as he shaped shoot, but the referee said it was outside the box.
A tired looking Christian Eriksen could only send the resulting shot into the wall.
Spurs huffed and puffed to find the winner their possession deserved but could not summon the required quality as Albion fought hard for every loose ball. Trippier’s crosses were perhaps the most likely outlet, but as the clock ticked down, Spurs just did not have the magic to unlock the West Brom defence, and two important points were ultimately dropped.
After the enjoyment of winning away in the Champions League, this felt like a leggy and deflated performance.
SPURS: Lloris, Trippier, Vertonghen (Llorente, 60), Sanchez, Son, Kane, Dier, Alli, Eriksen, Winks (dembele, 60), Davies.
Subs not used: Vorm, Sissoko, Foyth, Aurier, Walker-Peters.
WEST BROM: Foster, Nyom, Gibbs, Evans, livermore, Rodon, Phillips, Barry, Rodriguez (Robson-Kanu, 66), Hegazi, Field (McClean, 66).
Subs not used: Myhill, Yacob, Burke, Krychowiak, McAuley.
Attendance: 65,905 (Spurs playing home matches at Wembley)