Tottenham were unable to bail out another underwhelming performance as they fell to a dismal 2-0 defeat at home to Aston Villa. Emi Buendia and Douglas Luiz struck second-half goals, with boos meeting the full-time whistle after another poor Premier League display under Antonio Conte.
Here are five things Express Sport learned from the encounter…
Kane can’t do it all alone
As Spurs have struggled for consistency this season, it has been Harry Kane saving them more often than not. The striker has already scored 14 goals across all competitions this season, with many being point-winning strikes.
But when Kane does not perform, there is nobody to step up in his place. Son Heung-min has struggled for form this season, while Conte’s conservative set-up means there is nobody able to break forward from midfield to score important goals.
Whether a change of system or the acquisition of new personnel, Kane needs someone to take responsibility when he is unable to find a breakthrough.
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Gil struggles on full PL debut
Conte offered a rare chance to Gil for the clash with Villa, and although the 21-year-old showed some glimpses of his diminutive playing style, he appeared some way off the level of his team-mates. He cannot be entirely blamed for his performance in his full Premier League debut – he was thrust into the environment having previously been starved of opportunities by Conte.
Gil is a direct dribbler who was keen to get on the ball at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. However, his end product was poor, with one particular cross-field pass setting Villa away on the counter-attack in the first half.
Gil spent the second half of last season on loan at Sevilla. His early second-half substitution could prove Conte feels another temporary departure is required.
Conte holding Spurs back?
It’s really difficult to watch Spurs and not feel that Conte is holding them back. Each of their top four rivals have progressive coaches overseeing a clear long-term project, while Conte has never remained in a job for more than two years.
They’re the most conservative and thus the most predictable team among the Big Six. There will surely be an envious eye across North London to where Mikel Arteta is guiding Arsenal towards the Premier League title.