If I supported Tottenham, I would not be lauding a 2-2 draw against Juventus as a cause for celebration.
Despite this, the BT sport panel were gleefully praising Tottenham’s display like they conquered Juventus.
Sure, a 2-2 draw against Juventus is a good result, especially after being 2-0 down; however, Juventus WILL make things difficult for Spurs in the next leg, which nobody talked about…
Listen. It was an English panel. I understand the bias towards Tottenham. It’s a UK broadcast so there will be a pro-Tottenham outlook on the game.
The fixation on Tottenham’s ‘character’ confused me. The panel were constantly drawing everything back to this subject and I just don’t see it.
Think about it. Juventus storm to a 2-0 lead as fast as they come. Naturally, when the pace of the game settles and Juventus’ style begins to take effect, the Old Lady was always going to sit back and try and maintain their lead and try and hit Tottenham on the counter.
For me, the penalty epitomises a distinct LACK of character. If Higuain scores, Juventus go into the dressing room with a comfortable lead and a clear focus on shutting down Spurs, attempting to maintain a 2-goal cushion and potentially grabbing additional goals.
In this case, Tottenham were incredibly lucky that Higuain completely missed the target.
Tottenham were also lucky to face such a poor goalkeeping display. Despite Szczesny being one of the leading figures in keeping such a magnificent defensive record it was Buffon who made two horrendous mistakes.
Buffon’s decision to come out and challenge Kane for his goal was appalling decision-making. Buffon was nowhere near the ball, which made Kane’s chance as easy as it gets. He couldn’t react in time for Eriksen’s free-kick, a shot you’d expect a ‘world-class’ keeper to save.
Taking this into account, the game ran its course in a relatively usual fashion for a 1st leg. Tottenham capitalised when necessary and the game ended in a 2-2 draw. It is job well done for Spurs… for now.
The reaction to Tottenham’s display sums up everything that is wrong with the media bias to certain English teams/ players and what ‘we’ expect from them. They are too quick to praise Tottenham in this instance. ‘We’ are creating such a low ceiling for success. If Tottenham lose in their second leg, the overall result will probably have positive overtones. It will be branded as a well fought battle with Tottenham showing ‘character’.
Judgement should be reserved until the two legs have been completed.
What SHOULD have been analysised was the next leg. The next challenge. How Juventus are likely to respond. Discuss Tottenham’s form at Wembley in the big moments. And, for me, discuss the display of Hugo Lloris. A man who you CANNOT rely on in the big moments. Off the top of my head, I think of Alonso’s second goal where he let a shot directly at him slip under his body, at Wembley; a huge game in the context of the season. I also think of how easy he made both Salah’s goals when they played Liverpool. He shrinks in the big moments, seemingly making it easier to score. His right hand was feeble for both of Higuain’s strikes. Hoddle somehow praised him for being rooted to the spot for Higuain’s second penalty and Gerrard described his routine save in the second half against Bernardeschi as ‘world class’. Just bizarre.
Furthermore, everyone was so quick to criticize Aurier, with Ferdinand so eloquently telling the studio that ‘I never rated him’. Yes, it was a bad mistake. He failed to register the pace of Douglas Costa. Poor judgement indeed. But Davies’ challenge to give away the 1st penalty was far more concerning. A complete lack of defensive awareness. It was a miserable swipe at the ball. You simply do not see sound or experienced defenders giving away that penalty. Yet, this wasn’t mentioned. Instead, Aurier is to blame. Aurier was the only Tottenham player to face any criticism, most likely because he doesn’t fit the model of a ‘reliable’ defender. Mostly, I imagine, due to his off-field persona. He is so easy to blame – pundits won’t receive any backlash on Twitter… What could have been mentioned was choosing to field a back 4 with two fullbacks more suited as wingbacks. Asking for something that constructive is a clear stretch.
When I look at this team. It hasn’t grown in character. This was a team that had every chance to win their first Premier League title in 2016. Not only did they pass on this golden opportunity, they COMPLETELY lost their heads against Chelsea with players putting in nasty challenges and causing ruckus on and off the pitch. Since then, they crashed out of the CPL and Europa league in 2016-17 and haven’t done anything of merit since.
It’s almost like the media are clinging onto any accomplishment this ‘golden’ Tottenham team can get. They simply haven’t done anywhere near enough to justify ‘character’ or to be praised as highly as they have.
The team doesn’t even come close to: Man United’s 1998-99 Champions League Win, Arsenal’s Invincible season, Liverpool’s epic comeback against Milan in the 2005 final, Chelsea’ 2012 entire CPL campaign; heck, even City’s famous ‘Aguerooooooo’ moment. These examples are actual moments of ‘character’. Not a 1st leg display against Juventus and a strong Group Stage performance.
As a Chelsea fan, I actually have very few issues with Tottenham. I would like to see them beat Juventus in all honesty. My greater concern is with the BT Sport panel and the wider media. ESPECIALLY with the World Cup looming. The way we set the bar so low for our English players is laughable. In a bizarre fashion, we heap pressure on our players in the process. For me, it is cause for concern. The way we hype our English ‘talent’ worries me. The media almost have the power to cement positions in England squad for players like Dele Alli who does not deserve the copious praise he gets.
Despite what I have said. Spurs could go on to beat Juventus and put together a famous CPL win. Then they would deserve the level of praise they are receiving at the moment. For now, let’s not be blinded by the poor and unconstructive analysis that has come from Tottenham’s display. This type of reaction has been brewing for a while now, and any chance the media gets to praise Pochettino’s brave Tottenham they will take and they won’t hold back.