Is the Tim Sherwood honeymoon period over for the North London outfit?
Europa League hangover or just not good enough?
After a difficult, draining trip to Ukraine for Thursday's Europa League match against Dnipro, it may be easy to lay the blame for the poor showing on the visit to Eastern Europe. But this was a result that had been threatening to come for some time, and though it may have played a part in blowing what was a vital opportunity to stay on the coattails of Liverpool, Tottenham looked a long way off being good enough. Concerns over players being drained for the Dnipro match should have meant Eriksen given a run out yet he remained on the bench for the entire 90 minutes against Norwich.
Tottenham looked toothless going forward
This was the first time Tottenham haven't scored in the league under Sherwood, and a lot of it came as a result of Emanuel Adebayor's inability to get involved in the game. This was in part because the former Man City striker had a flat match, but also because of an inability for others to join the Togo man in attacking positions. The signs had been there in several earlier games, notably the first half against Everton at White Hart Lane recently, and it was only a piece of great skill by Adebayor that dug Tottenham out of that fixture. Against Norwich, Spurs had to wait until the last 10 minutes for their only shot on target, and now they lose Jermain Defoe to Canada - the one striker who takes shots and makes the keeper work.
Christian Eriksen must be feeling hard done by
Undoubtedly the club's most creative player, and with 4 goals and 6 assists in 24 games at Spurs this year, Christian Eriksen must surely be scratching his head at his inability to break into this side. In a game crying out for his creativity and intelligence it was a huge surprise that he was ignored while Nabil Bentaleb continued to occupy his playmaking role. Eriksen could easily have slotted in as the offensive midfielder and would have been able to offer a threat from range too, but instead, bizarrely, he had a day off, and despite not starting Thursday's match in Ukraine.
Soldado can't buy a goal
Roberto Soldado's miss against Dnipro was terrible, but his general play was something to be encouraged about. At Norwich he took to the pitch with 30 mins left and had two chances to impact the game, the first an effort that fell to his right foot some 10 yards out. The Spaniard blazed over, and just a few minutes later again headed wide when he would have expected to hit the target. It's not just the forward's lack of goals that will be of concern for Spurs fans, it's his inability to even make the keeper work.
This was a must win game
With all the sides above them winning, plus Manchester United narrowing the gap behind them, this fixture was simply a must win game for Spurs. That Spurs were the second most in form team before kick off playing the second worst, should have made the carrot on that stick even more attractive. Their inability to take even a point from the game, as well as delivering a really limp performance alongside it, doesn't bode well ahead of March, where they face three of the four sides above them.
image: © Jon Candy