Last Sunday Tottenham drew with Rochdale in the FA Cup. The team featured eleven changes from the side that drew 2-2 with Juventus that same week. The side mainly consisted of squad players. Many will point to arrogance from Pochettino. However, of the eleven, all but one had earned a senior cap for their countries, therefore were deemed good enough. The total cost and experience of that side should have been enough to see Tottenham over the line. Tottenham were outplayed for the majority of the game and were lucky to earn a replay. Not for the first time this season, Tottenham have been forced into a replay against lower league opposition. The extra game will only add to an already congested fixture list for Tottenham and, with Manchester City eliminated the competition, the FA Cup represents a brilliant opportunity for Tottenham to end their trophy drought.
Squad Players Fail to Turn Up
Many of the players who featured were returning from injury. A lot of these players have seen their replacements thrive. Of the players still coming back, only Danny Rose put in a good display. He and new signing Lucas Moura were two of the few bright points for Tottenham. The likes of Victor Wanyama, Kieran Trippier and Fernando Llorente can have no complaints regarding snubs in the next few weeks. Wanyama was caught in possession numerous times and struggled throughout. Eric Dier and especially Moussa Dembele shall rest easy until the Kenyan is back to his best. Trippier was his normal conservative self in attack. He was repeatedly beaten down the line by Rochdale’s Matt Done. Trippier also couldn’t get back in time for the first Rochdale goal while he was nowhere to be seen as the Dale crossed in from his left back position for the second.
People were quick to crucify Serge Aurier following his foul to give away the second penalty against Juventus. However, the Ivorian is actually athletic enough to keep up with world class wingers and, despite his rash tendencies. In Trippier, Tottenham have a wing back incapable of defending a League One winger that is almost thirty years of age and this is really not acceptable for a club with Tottenham’s ambitions.
Llorente Woes Continue
There are very few players in world football as confident as Harry Kane that their place in the team is secure. Llorente is the latest in terrible deputies to the Englishman. Tottenham appear to be on a strange run of signing strikers who are among the worst in the club’s history. They then defy the odds every summer and find someone that is somehow worse to replace them. Llorente has the excuse of Tottenham rarely playing high balls into the box that suit his large stature and heading ability. However, his miss in the first half was inexcusable and his all-round play was literally worse than the league two players around him.
Verdict on Tottenham’s Squad Players
Tottenham’s perceived lack of squad depth has been an issue all season. With no serious injuries at the moment, the Tottenham squad, on paper, looks pretty solid. However, if squad players are not able to perform when called upon in the Premier League, let alone against League One opposition, then maybe it is time that Pochettino reassesses the positions of some players.