90min
Tottenham Hotspur

Nuno Espirito Santo must address Tottenham's startling lack of creativity

Jude Summerfield
Tottenham were comprehensively beaten by Chelsea on Sunday
Tottenham were comprehensively beaten by Chelsea on Sunday / Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
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Getting comprehensively beaten by the early favourites for the league title probably shouldn't be cause for a meltdown for any team. Sometimes, the sheer quality and depth of one side is too much for another plucky team to cope with.

That's what we saw in the second half during Tottenham's 3-0 defeat to an impressive Chelsea on Sunday.

During the opening period, Spurs more than held their own. They pressed high, disrupted Chelsea's rhythm and pinned them back, not allowing players like Romelu Lukaku and Mason Mount to influence proceedings.

It was in that spell that Spurs had to make their impressive start pay. But they couldn't.

The three massive trolls that guarded Kepa Arrizabalaga's goal, Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva and Antonio Rudiger, were too hefty to dislodge, too smart to drag out wide, too wary to be lulled into any insecurity.

Then the inevitable sucker punches came. The Blues started to assert themselves more forcefully and Silva firstly headed home before substitute N'Golo Kante's strike deflected in off the post, with Rudiger rounding things off with a swept third.

From a Spurs perspective, it was all a little predictable. Look good for half an hour, get worried about the opposition's quality, concede the first and then crumble.

In fairness the scoreline would have been a whole lot worse if not for a few crucial blocks and some good saves from Hugo Lloris, but even with the quality of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min up front, there was no player on the home side who looked capable of dragging them back into the game, especially once the second goal went in.

Nuno Espirito Santo was at least disgusted enough by the defeat at Crystal Palace to turn to Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso ahead of Oliver Skipp and Harry Winks in midfield, helping Spurs keep hold of the ball for longer periods.

While the faith must be kept with that pair, it is time they, alongside Son and Kane and even full-backs Sergio Reguilon and Emerson Royal, start to show their creative teeth more regularly.

Perhaps it's unfair to judge two returning players against arguably the best team in the land, but they're both into their third seasons as Spurs players and need to be contributing more than intermittent flicks and driving runs.

So far this season, Tottenham have created just two big chances and scored only three goals in the Premier League, one being a penalty, while Kane has scored in just three of the 12 club games he's played in since Jose Mourinho was sacked.

Creativity is an issue Spurs have had since Christian Eriksen's form initially began to dip before he eventually moved to Inter. Mourinho wasn't interested in creating attacking patterns of play, and we're yet to see much of an advance in the early stages of Nuno's tenure.

It may be early in his reign, but for as long as the same wilting tendencies keep cropping up, Nuno's blunt Spurs will continue to attract criticism.


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