My five moments that may have cost Spurs the title

Okay, did we in fact ‘lose’ anything this season? Was the title ever Tottenham’s to lose? Probably not. Arsenal, Manchester City; these teams ‘lost’, they gave up their leads and haven’t performed at the level that their wealthy squads should be producing.

Article by Lachlan Peters @loque91

I would suggest, and I think the stats speak for themselves, that Spurs were the best team in the Premier League 2015/16. Unfortunately, Leicester have done what they needed to do. They have grinded out results, and in my opinion rode their luck and some strong performances to the top of the table.

So with Spurs currently sitting seven points behind the would-be champions, I want to take you back to the moments where I think the crucial points were lost. These are only on the pitch moments – no transfer fiascos or dodgy scheduling – and they are within games where I feel Spurs would feel aggrieved not to have got at least a point.


Eriksen misses golden opportunity to go 1-0 up against Manchester Utd. First game of the season.

It was the first game of the season. Pochettino was looking to show how far his Spurs squad had come since a very lacklustre 3-0 defeat in their last match. Every Spurs fan starts the season optimistically, and a win or draw at Old Trafford would have been a great way to build early momentum.

Then, in the fourth minute, Dembele squares the ball to Kane – who takes two touches and then produces a sublime scooped pass over the onrushing United defence to find Eriksen. The Dane controls the ball beautifully with his forehead, before opening his body and with his next touch side foots toward the top corner and past a hapless Romero. The ball sailed just over the bar.

It turned out to be a vital miss. Romero, who many expected to flounder in the absence of a want away David De Ge, had an excellent game. Kyle Walker unluckily turned the ball into his own net. United barely had a shot. Spurs walked away empty handed and were set up for a string of draws that would hamper the points tally at the end of the season. Had Eriksen put away that chance, Spurs would have had a brilliant foot-hold in an otherwise cagey encounter and would have to wait another month for their first win.


Tottenham let in shocking Mahrez equaliser.

Following a 2-2 draw with Stoke, and still winless, Spurs were expecting to win against a Leicester team who couldn’t be expected to be much more than a mid table side come May. How funny is hindsight?

It was apparently really hot at the King Power that day (try playing in 40 degree heat on a paddock north of Sydney ya whinging pommies!) and while Spurs had the better chances in a lacklustre first half, Dele Alli pounced on a great ball from Chadli to head home his first of the season in the 80th minute. The soon to be teen sensation’s goal was the breakthrough the fans were hoping for and a first win of the season seemed to be on the cards… for exactly 90 seconds.

Mahrez latched onto a Vardy headed pass, ran at Vertonghen from the left and fired into the corner.

Tottenham were complacent after taking the lead, and an otherwise sturdy defence was caught off guard by a team and a player who would go on to dominate the league. Holding onto the points against Leicester, while no one saw it then, would have been massive in the ensuing title race – and could have potentially derailed Leicester’s season before it got on track.


The unbeaten record falls

Ahh. Newcastle. The end of the year was approaching and Spurs were cruising at this point in early December. Unbeaten since the first match of the season, they came up against a Newcastle team that were (and still are) in deep trouble. Steve McClaren’s squad started poorly and when Eric Dier scored a great header before half time – Spurs looked like they were in the driving seat.

Spurs had fallen apart after being 1-0 up at half time the last time the sides met at the Lane. On a club record unbeaten streak and bursting with young talent – no one could see Newcastle repeating the same trick. Yet that is exactly what happened. In what might have been the most ‘Spursy’ game of their season, Tottenham were dragged back to Earth by Mitrovic when he bundled in a parry from Loris and then Ayoze Perez struck again in the dying stages of the match to steal all three points.

It was a disheartening result for Spurs. While they did bounce back and continue their march toward the top of the league, the points dropped against a lacklustre side would prove to be important come May.


The posts are too wide at Goodison

Spurs had one of their best first half performances of the season when they met Everton for the second time just after New Year’s Day. Everton were completely dominated with a quick, pressing style of play that by January had really begun to show its worth under Pochettino and become synonymous with Tottenham.

Spurs were unbeaten on the road for their last nine matches and the early signs were all good. The moment I am alluding to is Harry Kane’s pivot and brilliant strike from outside the box that smashed into Tim Howard’s right post. It was another moment of magic from Kane after he had really begun to find his form once again over the past seven games.

Unfortunately, the ball didn’t go in the net. Watching the match, you felt that if the boys could get one perhaps the floodgates would open. They remained closed. Everton would go ahead in the 22nd minute with their first shot of the game, a superb strike from former lilywhite Aaron Lennon.

Spurs managed parity before half time after another excellent goal from Dele Alli, set up by a magnificent long ball coming from Alderweireld. Roberto Martinez must have been surprised to go into half time with the scores level, and following the interval Everton looked to be the side pushing for the winner.

One wonders what the complexion of the game would have been like if Kane’s brilliant shot had gone in before Lennon scored. Or if Ben Davies’ effort had gone in…


Huth left unmarked

At the time of writing, Leicester currently lead Spurs by seven points. This was also the case in January after the Foxes left White Heart Lane with a victory that would prove vital.

Even with my natural bias, I can really only say that Tottenham would have been happy with a point here. Leicester proved dangerous throughout, and this was after the grace period teams can be afforded for not quite taking the Foxes seriously. Tottenham knew they needed a win here, and while they went close through Kane hitting the woodwork and Lamela curling a first time shot over, Leicester really threatened.

It was a cagey game to be sure, and after Alli blasted a shot into the arms of Schmeichel in the 78th minute a nil all draw would have probably been an alright result for Spurs. It wasn’t to be however, in the 82nd minute Robert Huth was left completely unmarked on a corner, Eric Dier seemed to fall over himself, Alderweireld was no where to be seen, Huth didn’t even need to jump when he met the ball with a powerful header that left Loris stranded. Leicester were winning, and they kept on winning.

I know it’s easy at the end of the season to simply wonder ‘what if?’, but I think the most important thing to feel at the moment as a Spurs fan isn’t resentment or jealousy – it’s pride. Still, one can’t help but wonder...

What are your thoughts? Have I missed out on the moment you think cost Spurs the title? Leave your comments below.

You can find me on Twitter @loque91 and for all your Spurs needs follow e-Spurs on Twitter, Facebook and all other internet platforms! The e-Spurs Podcast is also out twice weekly, so get on board!

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