Tottenham

Move over Vicario: Spurs’ “titanic” 9/10 star who won 8 duels was Ange’s shining light – opinion

The team led by Ange Postecoglou can feel a great deal of relief after suffering their first Premier League loss of the year.

Although it is said that lightning doesn’t strike twice, Tottenham Hotspur was the scene of another contentious but fascinating Premier League mayhem, only this time they were subjected to the harsh glare of a red card from the referee.

For the second time in just over a month, the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium saw two early baths for the same team in a single game. However, this time, it was the visiting team that benefited from Spurs’ downing to nine men, putting Chelsea in control as they surged into a late 4-1 lead despite a stoic home performance.

It was a chaotic game that, while in many respects capturing the thrilling essence of the Premier League, in other respects detracting from an amazing show with its shocking challenges and controversial calls.

In a similar-scenario match earlier in the season, Spurs defeated Liverpool, catapulting Ange Postecoglou’s team to the top of the table.

This has now ended with Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea winning handily—and in a flattering manner—but Postecoglou will find immense comfort in his team’s resilience and fluid persistence, as they created fantastic opportunities to create unlikely parity late in the match before Nicolas Jackson added to his goal in the 75th minute to complete a hat-trick.

Tottenham won’t have to lament the result for too long; it was a situational game of attrition that the team had come dangerously close to winning before Destiny Udogie’s halftime dismissal compounded the problem caused by Cristian Romero’s red card and Cole Palmer’s subsequent penalty kick equalizer.

The most moving aspect of the entire match is how quickly the hosts took the lead thanks to a deflected goal from Dejan Kulusevski that looped around Levi Colwill and past the unfortunate Robert Sanchez.

Heung-min Son believed he had doubled the lead, but VAR’s harsh intervention prevented that from happening. To be fair, VAR also disallowed goals from Raheem Sterling of Chelsea and Moises Caicedo.

Though Spurs ultimately lost, the position is still one of strength and promise, and with Guglielmo Vicario’s dependable presence in goal, Spurs have the man to spearhead the effort to rise to prominence from the back.

Stats for Guglielmo Vicario against Chelsea

 

Reaction to Tottenham’s £17 million signing of Vicario from Atalanta, who was thought to be Hugo Lloris’ long-term replacement in goal, was mixed; however, he has already shown he is one of the best in the division, as evidenced by his impressive display against the Blues.

Vicario, 27, was a formidable opponent for Chelsea who showed his value even after conceding four goals. He was an unwavering force that demonstrated the traits Daniel Levy and his transfer team were looking for in a summertime acquisition.

Guglielmo Vicario: Game by numbers
Saves 3
Run out (succ.) 6/6
Touches 53
Pass completion 64%
Duels won 1
Clearances 5
Sourced via Sofascore.

Vicario’s 82.9% save percentage this season is the highest of any goalkeeper in the English Premier League, according to FBref. The metrics-based website also notes that the £75k-per-week stopper is among the top 5% of goalkeepers in Europe’s top five leagues for save percentage over the previous year.

The Italian’s outstanding sweeping performance was so impressive that Tim Spiers of The Athletic even said he was “playing like the spirit of Lev Yashin”. Even with nine men, Tottenham played with an absurdly high line, and if the goalkeeper hadn’t been so persistent in leaving his box to stifle attacks, Chelsea might have scored six or seven goals.

Aside from Romero and Udogie, Vicario was instrumental in the impressive display of restored unity. Although the shot-blocking ace showed off his skills, Pedro Porro’s performance down the correct path should also not be overlooked.

Stats for Pedro Porro against Chelsea

 

After spending the second half of the previous season on loan at Spurs, Porro signed a permanent contract with the team in the summer. Under Postecoglou’s tutelage, Porro has made ten Premier League appearances this season and has truly begun to establish himself.

According to Sofascore, the £85k-per-week dynamo had an incredible game against Chelsea, despite the Blues’ numerical advantage. He completed 61 touches, won an incredible eight ground duels, which included four tackles, three clearances, and one shot block.

Pedro Porro: Game by numbers
Touches 61
Pass Accuracy 19/28 (68%)
Key Passes 1
Cross Accuracy 3/6 (50%)
Dribble Success 1/3
Clearances 3
Tackles Won 4
Duels Won 8/18
Possession Lost 16x
Fouls 3
Fouled by a Chelsea player 3x
Sourced via Sofascore.

Reporter Charlie Eccleshare praised him for his “titanic” performance. He also made three successful crosses, including a delightful looping delivery that Rodrigo Bentancur agonizingly headed wide after spinning away from Chelsea’s defensive line.

The five-foot-nine star’s versatility is highlighted by the fact that, according to FBref, he is among the top 10% of full-backs in Europe’s top five leagues for goals, the top 9% for shot-creating actions, the top 17% for assists, the top 1% for blocks, and the top 14% for tackles per ninety.

Alasdair Gold, a reporter for Football.london covering Tottenham, was one of the many people who couldn’t stop gushing about the Spanish defender’s performance. He gave the Lilywhites’ commanding goalkeeper a score of 9/10.

He noted in his post-match ratings that Vicario saved him after he made a poor pass. He was outstanding after that, blocking, tackling, and producing a quality free-kick that Bentancur ought to have headed home.

Porro has averaged 3.5 tackles, 5.5 ball recoveries, and 1.1 key passes per game throughout his Premier League appearances this season. He has also completed 82% of his passes. Against a Chelsea team that, to be honest, should have blown Tottenham away in the second half, Porro’s defensive merit and tenacity were on full display.

But they didn’t, and Postecoglou’s team’s amazing display of resilience combined with the wastefulness of the Stamford Bridge side made them give up in the end despite a valiant effort.

It’s the first Premier League loss of the year for a team that was only months ago overcome with despair following their eighth-place league finish in 2022–2023—a result that contributed to the sale of elite talisman

Tottenham may have lost, but the positive vibes need to endure; now is the moment to reveal a strong, new underbelly and bounce back from the loss with gusto.

With athletes like Vicario and Porro continuing to perform at such high levels, a season of remarkable success is definitely possible.

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