1. Defensive fallibility remains an issue
Spurs have kept just one clean sheet in eight Premier League away games this season. This defensive vulnerability has been largely ignored, as we had won five out of our seven away games prior to the Stoke game. However, Sunday’s game shone a light upon our inability to adequately defend set plays. Time and time again the long-throws, corners and free kicks that came into the box wreaked havoc. Stoke’s second was particularly galling, as Etherington arrived unmarked at the far post. Spurs should have been far better prepared for the brutal physical and aerial onslaught that would inevitability be faced.
2. The wrong initial tactics
We got out of jail at Craven Cottage a few weeks ago, when our midfield was dominated by Fulham’s. A similar pattern happened here in the first half. It is disappointing that Redknapp did not identify this weakness by playing Sandro from the start. A Parker-Sandro combination would have given us a more robust composition, and should be employed in some away games. It is tempting to ask when the talented Brazilian will play in a run of games. At cold afternoon at the Britannia would have been suitable for him. Defensive height was also an oversight, although one which Redknapp corrected in the second half.
3. Wing-backs can work wonders
In bringing on Bassong as a third centre-back at half-time, Redknapp countered Stoke’s aerial threat effectively. Meanwhile the use of wing-backs made us a far more potent force in the second half. Spurs registered double the number of goal attempts in the second half compared to the first. Redknapp has expressed willingness to the 3-5-2 formation before. The effective manner in which it was deployed on Sunday suggests it could get many more outings.
4. Chris #FoynotHoy is not fit to referee
It would have been preferable if Britain’s double gold-winning cyclist had been in charge of the match at the Britannia. Chris Foy managed to enrage both sets of fans with some truly baffling decisions. Yet Spurs can justifiably claim to be the more aggrieved. In addition to missing two further clear penalties and ruling out a valid goal, Mr. Foy and his team were completely oblivious to the rough-arm tactics of Stoke City. The sanctimonious manner in which Foy walked off at the end will not be forgotten by the Spurs fans present. Shocking performance.