Tottenham Hotspur

Tottenham unravel their own season in just 5 days

Sean Walsh
Antonio Conte's Spurs are in shocking form
Antonio Conte's Spurs are in shocking form / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

From Tottenham Hotspur Stadium - Heading into this week, Spurs would have felt pretty confident about their chances of securing a place in the Premier League's top four come May.

Manchester United and Arsenal had flattered to deceive prior to the international break and they had several winnable games in hand on their rivals. After an excellent FA Cup win over Brighton - well known for claiming scalps against England's biggest and best - Tottenham fans entered this week full of optimism that they could step up their charge for a Champions League spot.

And then Tottenham happened.

Antonio Conte's men were caught like deer in headlights (if the deer had wandered straight onto the M25 in the middle of a power cut) in Wednesday's 3-2 loss at home to Southampton, surrendering a late lead and gifting the Saints each of their goals.

Ralph Hasenhuttl had figured Spurs out and outthought Conte, earning a win and silencing the Italian tactician after a frantic touchline scramble when the hosts were in the ascendancy.

A response was desperately needed against Wolves, who were incredibly blunt and toothless in their 1-0 defeat to 10-man Arsenal on Thursday.

Within six minutes, club captain Hugo Lloris had gifted Raul Jimenez the opening goal. By the 18th minute, he and Ben Davies had conspired to hand Leander Dendoncker a second.

The Frenchman, back to his best this season and such a dominant figure all around the club, swept away the basic foundation that Tottenham needed to bounce back. From there, they had the unenviable task of trying to break down the second-meanest defence in the Premier League.

Spurs lacked the confidence, edge and general quality to open Wolves up at any point, and for that alone they deserve to be at a disadvantage in this top-four race.

Conte, who has now lost three successive league games for the first time since 2009, is not blameless in this as much as his players have been boneheaded this week. It all starts and stops with him, and while Tottenham have obviously made strides since his arrival, there remains a concerning defensive instability regardless.

You can take a step back and say that he's only been in the job four months, that the defensive personnel at his disposal is way below standard - these reasons alone are enough to excuse him of the majority of the blame.

But from every standpoint, particularly tactical, this last week has been a failure for all involved at Tottenham Hotspur. A trip to Manchester City is next up and if this Spurs is the side that shows up, then they can kiss their top-four hopes farewell for good.