Tottenham race back to beat Eintracht Frankfurt, go top of group (video)
Tottenham vs Eintracht Frankfurt recap: Spurs fell a goal behind early before Son Heung-min and Harry Kane lifted them to a 3-2 victory in north London on Wednesday.
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A calamitous series of defensive errors handed Frankfurt their advantage as Daichi Kamada slotted home after 14 minutes. Kane set up Son to draw Tottenham level six minutes later, followed by a penalty kick from Kane (his 257th goal for the club, now nine short of tying Jimmy Greaves’ record of 266) to make it 2-1. Son’s second goal, in the 36th minute, was a sensational left-footed volley that just snuck under the crossbar and gave the lilywhite half of north London a bit of relief.
Things did, of course, get nervy at the end, as Frankfurt pulled a goal back late despite being down to 10 men (two yellow cards in two minutes for defender Tuta). Kane also put his second penalty effort of the game over the bar with a chance to restore the two-goal lead.
The victory puts Spurs (7 points) back on top of Group D after four games, with Marseille (6), Sporting CP (6) and Frankfurt (4) all still within striking distance.
What we learned from Tottenham vs Eintracht Frankfurt
5-2-3 inviting too much pressure on Tottenham defense
Here’s the thing about teams that try to defend deep and attack strictly on the counter: It’s an incredibly risky proposition, unless you have a whole cast of world-class ball-playing defenders (Spurs do not), otherwise you invite far too much pressure on your own penalty area (as Spurs do). They’ll struggle to control the flow of play against any side good enough for the Champions League (as they have against Chelsea and Arsenal in the Premier League this season, and in every game of the UCL group stage thus far) and often times they’ll find themselves falling a goal behind before they ever get out of the starting gates (ahem, Chelsea and Arsenal).
It’s also a disaster in possession, as it’s an end-to-end counter-attack, and nothing else. Conte’s current system places an incredible demand on the wing backs, who are chiefly responsible for progressing the ball as the team builds through possession. In theory, Ivan Perisic was to fit the bill perfectly as an attacking midfielder converted to wing back late in his career, but the 33-year-old Croatian failed to deliver when given an extended run in the lineup and has found himself on the bench both of the last two games.
Sometimes they’ll rebound from the slow start and show their class over the 90 minutes, and sometimes they’s won’t, but a tricky change in tactics feels inevitable if Tottenham are to reach their potential this season.
How to watch Tottenham vs Eintracht Frankfurt live, stream link and start time
Group D remains very winnable for Spurs, who enter the fourth round of matches just two points off leaders Sporting Lisbon. Spurs host Sporting in North London on Oct. 26. Eintracht Frankfurt also has four points so this one’s huge, while Marseille lurks in fourth place with three points ahead of a trip to Lisbon.
In-form players to keep an eye on
Despite some (minor) frustrations over Tottenham’s rather defensive style of play under Conte, it’s worth noting they’ve only failed to score once all season (the loss to Sporting). Harry Kane leads the way for Spurs in the Premier League with eight goals, including one against Arsenal, on the heels of Son Heung-min’s hat trick against the Foxes prior to the international break. Finally off the mark for the season and locked into a starting spot for the time being with Dejan Kulusevski battling a thigh injury. Richarlison scored his first two goals for Tottenham in the home win over Marseille, but the Brazilian has since gone cold without a goal or assist in two-straight UCL starts.
Tottenham team news, injuries, lineup options
QUESTIONABLE: Dejan Kulusevski (thigh) | OUT: Japhet Tanganga (knock)