Wednesday, March 29, 2023

Spurs: Perisic was a “liability” vs Wolves

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Tottenham Hotspur‘s miserable week continued with defeat away to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Saturday afternoon, with the Lilywhites having slipped up on the road against Sheffield United in the FA Cup just days earlier.

After the jubilation of seeing off rivals Chelsea in the Premier League last weekend, the north London outfit have since taken two steps backwards amid what has been a rocky campaign to date under manager Antonio Conte, with the Italian watching from afar amid his impending return to the dugout.

In his place, compatriot Cristian Stellini has held the fort rather impressively, although the stand-in coach saw his side undone by a late Adama Traore stunner to seal all three points for the hosts, with the explosive Spaniard capitalising on an error from goalkeeper, Fraser Forster.

The latter man – who has been a regular fixture of late due to Hugo Lloris’ injury woes – was somewhat culpable for what proved to be the game’s winning goal after palming Raul Jimenez’s initial effort right back into the thick of things.

As The Athletic’s Steve Madeley noted, the experienced stopper could well have done “better” to try and turn the ball away from danger, with such a clumsy decision ultimately proving costly for his side.

The Englishman was not alone in having underwhelmed at Molineux, however, with summer signing Ivan Perisic having also proven himself a “complete liability” at the back, in the words of writer Andrew Gaffney.

How did Perisic play against Wolves?

The 34-year-old had not started either of the last two league games although was somewhat bizarrely thrust back into the action for the trip to the Midlands, with that move ultimately backfiring as the Croatian wide man “contributed nothing” in an attacking sense, according to Gaffney.

The former Inter Milan man notably lost possession on 19 occasions from his 56 touches as a marker of his woes on the ball, with the 123-cap dud having also enjoyed a pass accuracy rate of only 69% in the process.

Those shortcomings in attack were also laid bare by the fact that the veteran asset only completed two of his ten crosses and provided just a solitary key pass, while his match rating of 6.4, as per Sofascore, was the joint-lowest of any starting player for his side.

That dismal outing – in which the versatile defender was also dribbled past on two occasions – saw Perisic fail to add to his tally of five top-flight assists so far this season, as he simply ‘lacked quality‘ with his delivery from the flanks throughout, as per’s Alasdair Gold.

Following that performance, there will undoubtedly be those questioning the decision to start the £180k-per-week man ahead of Ben Davies – who slotted in at centre-back – with the frustrating ‘liability’ having been a key factor in what was another grim day for the top-four hopefuls.



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