Tottenham Hotspur have appeared a shadow of their self this season, the team which swaggered to the Champions League final and secured a Premier League top four place now looking weak, vulnerable and bereft of ideas.
Mauricio Pochettino's charges are now well off the pace in the league, out of the League Cup at the hands of Colchester United, have suffered two thrashings in a row against Bayern Munich and Brighton, and that's before going on to the off-the-field rumours of dressing room unrest.
While numerous arguments regarding the steep decline seem to relate to a failure to strengthen in every position in the summer - or indeed over the past few seasons - one suggestion, based on stats, claims that Tottenham's decision to let two players go in the summer could well have led to this decline.
As reported by WhoScored and published in The Guardian, as well as a "documented drop off in their approach to pressing", the suggestion is that the departure of Kieran Trippier - who joined Atletico Madrid on 17 July - and Fernando Llorente - whose contract expired over the summer and he subsequently joined Napoli on 2 September - has stripped Spurs of a "trusted weapon".
Tottenham are documented as having scored 14 headed goals last season, with only Liverpool having scored more - Trippier being well known for his crossing abilities and Llorente for his thumping headers - but now Spurs rank last for headed attempts, with just eight in as many matches.
With the international break now in full swing, Pochettino will have some time to ponder and regroup ahead of the resumption of club football - can he find a way to get Tottenham back on track with the players he's got at present? And will the purse strings be loosened enough for him to bolster significantly in January?
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