Tottenham ...... 0 Swansea ...... 0 Pochettino’s home flops fail again as the hoodoo bites back
TOTTENHAM’S Wembley hoodoo returned to haunt them again yesterday.
Just when boss Mauricio Pochettino must have hoped the curse had been lifted, Swansea ensured the jinx stayed firmly in place.
The Welshmen needed the brilliance of their keeper Lukasz Fabianski and several penalty appeals in their favour to help them – but Spurs cannot complain.
They had virtually all the possession but created few chances.
After beating Borussia Dortmund a few days earlier in the Champions League they had hoped their temporary home – once a dark graveyard for results – had become a welcoming beacon.
But Swansea certainly dimmed those lights, denying them a first league win at the national stadium.
And against the top sides like free-scoring Manchester City those lights could easily be put out again.
Spurs found keeper Fabianski in superb form, producing a string of super saves.
Pochettino’s side did enough without being really convincing and again huge questions marks were raised over Dele Alli. England’s great hope looked a shadow of his usual self and when it comes to pointing fingers he should direct them at himself.
He spent more time in the first half on the floor and arguing with referee Mike Dean than in his usual deadly double-act with striker Harry Kane.
Pochettino needs a quiet word in his ear to remind him that he is still a work in progress.
He is a talent for sure but he has got to harness it better. One or two neat touches does not make a player.
Alli’s performance was vastly improved in the second half – but he did not have much to beat.
Spurs found it a long, hard slog against a team that just refused to lie down despite being constantly pummelled.
History had it down for a home banker with Spurs having never lost to Swansea in the Premier League era. But they also went into the game having dropped more points in home games at Wembley Stadium this season (five) than they did in the entire 2016-17 Premier League campaign at White Hart Lane (four).
After notching two goals in Europe in midweek, Kane almost added another after eight minutes with a low
30-yard free-kick but Fabianski dived low to his left to turn it away for a corner.
And within a minute Fabianski was called into action again to keep out a ferocious angled shot from Son Heung-Min.
On Wembley’s open acres there is always room for movement and Swansea were ready and willing to fill the spaces. They moved the ball around well – particuarly Renato Sanches – but Tottenham’s defence always had the edge, with Davinson Sanchez, a £36.5million signing from Ajax, a powerful figure. Swansea also packed their defence well, leaving Spurs
PAIN GAME: Aurier goes down under challenge from Ayew but Spurs’ penalty appeals were waved away ■
HIT AND HOPE: Striker Son fires in another effort ■ DEJECTED: Striker Kane