EPL

Tottenham facing crisis as Mourinho gets the Blues again

By Sports Desk February 04, 2021

What a difference a year makes. Except in north London, where time has stood still.

It was a February midweek game in 2020 when Timo Werner ran Tottenham ragged and RB Leipzig should have won by a street, rather than just 1-0 in the Champions League.

There was no Harry Kane that night due to injury and Tottenham gave a lethargic performance until coming to life very late in the game.

As Jose Mourinho said that night: "What worries me is that these are our players for the next however many matches."

Well, Jose, it's not quite Groundhog Day (that was Tuesday), but where is the progress with Spurs?

A 1-0 home defeat to Chelsea means Mourinho has not won any of his last seven games against his old club, and for the first time in his career he has lost consecutive Premier League home games, with this setback following the 3-1 defeat to Liverpool.

With Kane injured and Tottenham largely clueless without him, it feels as though they are taking a mid-season break while the rest of the Premier League plays on.

"We are really in trouble," Mourinho added on the night of that Leipzig loss, and so here we are again.

Tottenham are eighth in the Premier League, chewed up and spat out by the big boys in the early season jostling after fleeting title talk, destined for mid-table obscurity barring a sudden upturn.

But Tottenham can never be obscure in mid-table because the target each season is far higher. They stand out from the crowd. People notice. You love to see it, rival fans would say.

And however much David Moyes deserves huge credit, it must be deeply dismaying for all concerned at Tottenham, including chairman Daniel Levy, for a Mourinho team to sit five points behind Moyes' West Ham, the stick du jour for beating big-spending London sides.

On a rain-soaked Tottenham Hotspur Stadium pitch, Eric Dier gave away the penalty that decided this game when he fell to the ground and performed some sort of postmodern wiggle on his backside, flicking his feet out this way and that in such a haphazard way that someone was bound to join him on the deck.

Werner, still searching for his mojo at Chelsea but lively enough here, was the man to be sent crashing and Jorginho powered a no-nonsense penalty past Hugo Lloris.

At half-time, BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand was merciless, the former England captain saying of Spurs: "There's no method ... I've not seen any patterns of play in this game.

"It just seems like a team that doesn't have any idea what they're doing when they have the ball."

Mourinho left Gareth Bale on the bench throughout, putting his faith in Carlos Vinicius having recently refused to entertain the idea of using his on-loan Real Madrid star as a striker.

Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura replaced Steven Bergwijn and Tanguy Ndombele midway through the second half as Spurs sought some spark.

Edouard Mendy produced a decent save to deny Lamela a 20-yard strike into the left corner, but there was scant little to appreciate about a Tottenham side who were out-shot 18-7 by their visitors.

Mason Mount was excellent and Werner almost added a second late on, smacking a fierce shot that looked like it would have stung Dier, who made the block.

But just like on his previous visit to this space-age stadium, one goal was enough for Werner's team.

Chelsea have a new boss in Thomas Tuchel and he has given them a 'bounce'. Tottenham have bounced under Mourinho in the past but now their football has gone flat. There is no bounce. There is no vibrancy. Three defeats in eight days, Kane out, and you sense there is no easy fix.

West Brom are the visitors on Sunday. If Tottenham fail again, there will be nowhere to hide for Mourinho.

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