HomeFeatured ArticlesBreaking Down Tottenham Hotspur's Struggles: Postecoglou to Blame?

Breaking Down Tottenham Hotspur’s Struggles: Postecoglou to Blame?

Tottenham Hotspur’s Set-Piece Struggles: A Stumbling Block in the Premier League

Set-Piece Conundrums at Stamford Bridge

In what was one of their most challenging nights this Premier League season, Tottenham Hotspur’s vulnerabilities were laid bare against Chelsea. As Trevoh Chalobah’s header found the back of the net, followed by Nicolas Jackson’s clinical finish, Spurs’ set-piece frailties once again took centre stage. These lapses contributed to a disappointing 2-0 defeat, underscoring a persistent issue that has plagued the team throughout the season.

Ange Postecoglou’s Defensive Dilemma

Despite Tottenham’s proactive approach under Ange Postecoglou, their defensive organization, particularly from set-pieces, remains a critical area of concern. With 16 goals conceded from such situations this season, nearly a third of all goals Spurs have let in have come from these scenarios. This worrying trend continued as they conceded twice from corners in a recent clash against Arsenal, highlighting a recurring theme that demands immediate attention.

Photo: IMAGO

Ange Postecoglou, known for his otherwise effective coaching methods, quoted Billy Joel’s “You May Be Right” in a pre-match comment, reflecting a somewhat relaxed stance on this pressing issue. However, the aftermath of the Chelsea defeat might have him revisiting Joel’s lyrics, particularly “Don’t Ask Me Why,” as he contemplates the reasons behind these ongoing defensive lapses.

Premier League Aspirations Dented

The loss at Chelsea was not just another defeat; it was a missed opportunity in Tottenham’s quest for a top-four finish. On a night when their direct rivals, Aston Villa, were busy in European competitions, Spurs failed to capitalize, instead allowing Villa to strengthen their position in the Premier League standings. This outcome was particularly frustrating for Spurs, considering it was the first of their two games in hand over Villa.

Systemic Issues Beyond Set-Pieces

While set-pieces were the glaring issue, Tottenham’s overall alignment was equally concerning. Throughout the first half, Chelsea exploited the same defensive gap on multiple occasions. The lack of cohesion between Cristian Romero, Pedro Porro, and Pape Matar Sarr allowed Chelsea to penetrate Tottenham’s defence with relative ease. These repeated breaches exposed a systemic problem that extended beyond just poor set-piece defending.

As the game progressed, Spurs did show some signs of life, creating opportunities and pressing forward. However, the defensive frailties, particularly during transitions, continued to undermine their efforts. This culminated in Jackson sealing the deal for Chelsea, leaving Tottenham to rue what might have been.

In sum, as Spurs navigate the latter part of the season, the focus must shift to tightening their defensive setup. The current trajectory suggests a tough road ahead in their Premier League campaign. To paraphrase Billy Joel once more, as Spurs sit seven points behind Villa, the chase for a top-four finish appears increasingly challenging, with fifth place ominously looming as their potential resting spot.

Tottenham Hotspur’s journey under Ange Postecoglou has been marked by vibrant football and strategic ingenuity, but their Achilles heel remains their vulnerability to set-pieces. Addressing this issue is crucial not just for their immediate aspirations but also for their long-term success in the highly competitive landscape of the Premier League.

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