Sunday marked Tottenham Hotspur’s third consecutive win in all competitions. And yet is also marked the club’s third game in a row without its captain.
Skipper Younes Kaboul this time made the bench as the north London side beat Everton 2-1 at White Hart Lane – but saw none of the action as Jan Vertonghen shone in his absence, with Federico Fazio partnering him and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris captaining the side.
And, not for the first time, Spurs looked better without Kaboul. Fazio had Romelu Lukaku under control and Vertonghen provided the perfect partner for the 27-year-old.
|v Everton||Effective Clearances||Interceptions Won||Tackles Won||Aerial Duels Won||Error Leading To A Shot||Minutes Played|
As Opta stats show, both defenders won interceptions, aerial duels and made 15 clearances between them. They also won three tackles (not a huge amount) but, crucially, made no errors leading to a shot. And they were only beaten by a wonderstrike from Kevin Mirallas.
With Kaboul, Tottenham don’t look anywhere near as composed and it is no coincidence Mauricio Pochettino seems to have found a winning formula without him.
Which brings us to perhaps the Argentine’s biggest mistake since he took over at White Hart Lane. Indeed, if Spurs look so much better without the Frenchman, why did Pochettino make him his captain?
Even if the 28-year-old tastes a triumphant return to the first team tonight or in the coming weeks, his place in the side will never be guaranteed. He is error prone and there is simply too much competition for places at the back.
Either one of Vertonghen or Lloris seemed like the natural choice for the armband and Pochettino may have recognised that now. But making him captain in the first place was a puzzling choice – and Kaboul now has a lot of work to do to win back the trust of both his manager and the Spurs fans.