Tottenham Hotspur: 5 Positives for Spurs Despite 4-2 Loss to Chelsea
Despite playing at home and leading midway through the second half, there were several positives to take out of the performance from Andre Villas-Boas' men and many things that Spurs fans can take heart in from the defeat.
Here's five positives for Tottenham.
1. They Played the Best Team in the EPL
Losing 4-2 to Reading or Queens Park Rangers would be cause for concern for Tottenham Hotspur and their fans. However, losing 4-2 to Chelsea—the best team in the English Premier League—well, that's an entirely different story.
Spurs threatened the Blues goal throughout the entire match and forced Petr Cech to make a number of solid saves. That the North London club scored two goals against the best defense in the Premier League is a testament to just how well they played at times in this match.
Sure, the loss hurts, but knowing it was against a team that hasn't been beaten this year, is on top of the English Premier League ladder and has a stronger side than the won that won the UEFA Champions League last season must come as some comfort for Andre Villas-Boas.
2. They Lost Without Their Best Player
That that they played as well as they did without their best player shows the depth of talent and the sheer determination that Tottenham Hotspur have at the moment.
Moussa Dembele was sourly missed throughout midfield—he gives Spurs their drive and creativity—and they also missed his presence on defense, with both Juan Mata's goals potentially stopped by the presence of the Belgian international.
And if you want to say that Dembele isn't their best player, Gareth Bale is, well, they clearly missed him too—both in attack and defense.
It was Bale who broke the deadlock against Reading and it was Bale's impact that saw Tottenham over the line against Queens Park Rangers, leaving one to wonder whether Spurs could have held onto their second-half lead had Bale been present on defense.
To have pushed Chelsea the way that they did without both Dembele and Bale is a great achievement for the North London club.
3. Jan Vertonghen Is Playing Good Football
Spurs should also take heart from the performances of a few players—most notably Jan Vertonghen, who is proving to be an excellent addition into their starting side.
Making a move from Ajax over the summer transfer window, Vertonghen's strength and leadership on defense were telling in shutting down Fernando Torres on more than one occasion and stunting the Blues' attack.
The defender's presence was also felt in attack, with Vertonghen beautifully controlling the ball for William Gallas' goal to level the match—a move that many players in world football would not have been able to pull off consistently.
Vertonghen finished the match with a game-high seven interceptions along with his four tackles—the most notable of which being his last-man tackle on Torres.
He is playing quality football right now. His importance in Tottenham's defensive line is second-to-none at the moment.
4. As Is Jermaine Defoe
At the other end of the pitch, Jermaine Defoe is proving to be another key player for Spurs this season.
A beautiful first-time finish gave his side the lead during the second half and whilst that goal didn't turn out to be the game-winner for Tottenham, it did showcase beautifully the skill and sheer talent that Defoe still has at his disposal.
Defoe's goal was the 200th of his career and his experience in attack will be vital for Andre Villas-Boas side going forward.
The former England international was more of a threat than Emmanuel Adebayor, Clint Dempsey and Gylfi Sigurdsson in this one—finishing with the most shots on target and goal-scoring chances.
5. This Was Not a Choke by Spurs
Despite dropping three competition points that they felt they had halfway through the second half and watching their 2-1 lead quickly turn into a 3-2 deficit, Tottenham Hotspur need to take heart that they did not throw this one away.
Two goals in the space of five minutes might seem like they did, but the truth was that they were beaten by a better team and didn't just "choke" in the second half, as they have done previously in the Premier League this year.
Gary Cahill's first goal was an unstoppable shot, as was Juan Mata's first goal. Daniel Sturridge's extra-time tap-in was the result of a mistake by Kyle Walker—which could nearly have warranted a free kick for Tottenham Hotspur—but the game was over at that point, anyway.
This was Tottenham Hotspur playing good football in patches but ultimately outclassed by Chelsea, who were simply too good and too polished for Andre Villas-Boas' men in the second half.
Spurs played without their best attacking players and it showed.
They were not embarrassed or made to look foolish. They were simply the victims of a red-hot Juan Mata and his Blues counterparts.
Obviously, the loss hurts and there were several negatives to take away from this match, but the positives were there also. Tottenham fans should do their best to try to see them alongside the negatives from their 4-2 defeat.
What did you make of Tottenham's defeat to Chelsea?
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