Here are five things we noticed during Saturday afternoon’s late 2-1 Premier League loss between Tottenham and Wolves at Molineux.
Phillips made to wait
Ashley Phillips was left out of Ange Postecoglou’s starting lineup for the Tottenham Hotspur match against Wolves, so he will have to wait a little longer to make his debut in its entirety. With Micky van de Ven hurt and Cristian Romero suspended following Monday’s 4-1 home loss to Chelsea, the Australian would undoubtedly have to choose a new defensive duo for the match in the West Midlands.
After making a strong impression during his playing time against Chelsea, Ben Davies, making his injury comeback, was set to start alongside the veteran Tottenham defender Eric Dier.Phillips was named on the bench even though many predicted he would make his debut, even though he was behind Dier in the center-back pecking order and looked like the ideal fit because there were no other senior center-backs available.
After a stellar season leading Spurs’ youth squad, academy standout Alfie Dorrington made his senior matchday squad debut. The former Blackburn Rovers player was joined in the dugout by Dorrington.
That Kulusevski and Porro combo
With four key players out for Saturday’s match against Wolves, there were concerns about how Tottenham would respond. However, Postecoglou’s team got off to the ideal start.Brennan Johnson’s first goal for the team gave them the lead, and the summer signing capped off an incredible move.
Pedro Porro completely confused his opponent with a great dummy after Pape Matar Sarr spread the ball out to the right flank, resulting in Dejan Kulusevski winning possession of the ball. Subsequently, the Swede executed an exquisite drag-back and flick to find Porro, who placed the ball on a plate for Johnson to score from close range.
Although Johnson will be credited for the goal and Kulusevski for his brilliant flick, Porro should also receive a lot of praise for his dummy and link-up play with the Swede, which were crucial to the outcome. The Spanish player and Kulusevski seem to be developing a good rapport as they occasionally play well together down the right flank against Wolves.
After Johnson’s goal in the third minute put Spurs ahead 1-0, the hosts took control of the game and made it difficult for the visitors to trouble Wolves. The absence of four important players, most notably James Maddison, who keeps Tottenham going in the last third, disrupted their game at times and made them appear rather passive at times.
Postecoglou was not pleased with what he saw in front of him after several passes around the back without trying to move the ball forward. The 58-year-old was yelling at his players to “get up” in the 38th minute of the match as they were fumbling with the ball in the back.
After making his point clear to his team, they followed his instructions to the letter and began to move the project along a little more.
Following his fifth yellow card of the year, Yves Bissouma will now miss Tottenham’s match against Aston Villa following the international break. The Mali international, who has been walking a tight rope when it comes to discipline, received a warning for a foul on Mario Lemina near the end of the first half.
Although it was a rather soft yellow card, referee Tim Robinson still marked it as an offense and waved his card accordingly. Given that he will now miss a crucial match for Tottenham, some supporters might be relieved that he received his fifth booking of the year at Molineux rather than the following time out, which would have prevented him from playing against Man City.
Halfway through the second half, there appeared to be a chance that Bissouma would be sent off for a challenge outside the box. Fortunately for Spurs, he did not receive his second yellow of the match, which would have been a replay of his red card against Luton Town one month prior. The substitution of Giovani Lo Celso for the former Brighton & Hove Albion in the closing minutes did not come as a surprise.
Spurs finished the week with two losses despite having an outstanding start to the season going into Monday’s match against Chelsea. After Johnson’s early goal, Wolves looked good for all three points, and they won in the last seconds thanks to goals from Mario Lemina and Pablo Sarabia in stoppage time.
Despite having plenty of possession throughout the match, Wolves failed to really test Spurs goalkeeper Guglielmo Vicario despite creating several opportunities. Before Sarabia’s incredible equalizer, Tottenham appeared to be on track to secure all three points at Molineux, something that fellow top-four rivals Man City and Newcastle United had not accomplished.
But after that cruel conclusion, that was not to be. Postecoglou and Spurs, who fared so well for the most part of the match despite missing four of their main players, will now take a break for the international fixtures before playing Aston Villa later in the month.