Tottenham outfought and outthought by model club Brentford
FROM TOTTENHAM HOTSPUR STADIUM – 14 defeats, 62 goals conceded, two managers sacked, three cups thrown away, a finish as low as 10th not off the table yet.
What a truly remarkable season it has been for Tottenham Hotspur.
It began with so much promise under Antonio Conte, expectations were high after such a resounding 2021/22 campaign. Their demise has been so stark that supporters booed a season review after Saturday’s 3-1 loss at home to Brentford.
Like the season as a whole, Spurs started brightly. They had the Bees penned in and went into the break one goal – an outstanding strike from Harry Kane, of course – to the good. They rued not adding to that tally when they had the chances falling into their lap.
Defensive shape, concentration and decision-making undid Tottenham’s good work for the umpteenth time.
But Brentford – on the proverbial beach in the first half – went at their hosts with renewed vigour and could quickly sense unrest and unease.
Calls from the Bees bench in the first-half bemoaned how high central midfielder Frank Onyeka was playing, clogging the space for in-form Bryan Mbeumo to run into. He was replaced by Mikkel Damsgaard at the break and he cleared the way for the Cameroonian to get at Ben Davies, scoring a quick-fire brace.
The sense of unrest and unease was now tangible and Spurs were panicking. They couldn’t keep clear heads and Brentford ran down the clock, landing a killer blow when the uncomfortable Oliver Skipp was caught in possession by substitute Shandon Baptiste, with Yoane Wissa rounded off the scoring.
David Raya – one of Brentford’s greatest buys – made two stunning saves to deny Richarlison deep into nine minutes of stoppage time as Spurs failed to mount a comeback of their own.
90min understands that Raya is a transfer target for Tottenham this summer, while Brentford’s Phil Giles and Lee Dykes are on their shortlist for their director of football vacancy. Thomas Frank is admired as a potential head coach but at this time is not thought to be high on their list of candidates.
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And yet Frank came to Spurs’ back yard and outmanoeuvred them, made the requisite switches to ensure this was another day of infamy for the hosts.
It’s no surprise that Tottenham – a club without a plan but desperately in need of one – are looking over admiringly at Brentford, a club running on the fraction of their budget but could yet finish above them with one game to play.
Without Kane, Tottenham crumble. Without Ivan Toney, Brentford remain unbeaten in the Premier League this season. Spurs flounder at their ‘big six’ rivals, the Bees have beaten all of them since promotion and chalked up three away wins this year alone.
Chairman Daniel Levy was the subject of chants demanding he leave throughout the afternoon, balloons with ‘L£VY OUT’ made their way onto the pitch in the first half. His annual matchday programme lip-service did little to assure supporters they were anywhere near the same upward trajectory from only one year ago.
Brentford fans regularly chant the name of owner Matthew Benham, all along a man with many plans to keep his boyhood club moving in the right direction.
The contrasts could hardly be more stark.
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