Danny Murphy noticed a moment in Tottenham Hotspur’s defeat to Aston Villa involving Brennan Johnson on Sunday which was simply not acceptable.
Murphy was speaking on Match of the Day 2after Ange Postecoglou’s spirited Spurs side were beaten by Unai Emery’s men.
It was Pau Torres who equalised for the Villans on the stroke of half-time. The defender capitalised on a brilliant Douglas Luiz free-kick to head home after Giovani Lo Celso had broken the deadlock.
Danny Murphy baffled by incident in Tottenham defeat involving Brennan Johnson
It was the first headed goal Tottenham have conceded this season. And that may not come as a huge surprise given that Emerson Royal and Ben Davies started at centre-back. Of course, the pair are best known as full-backs. And neither has a lot of experience in playing at centre-back in a two.
Danny Murphy suggested that the warning signs were there well before Torres did score. He picked out an early Villa free-kick from the left. And he was not at all happy with how Spurs set up.
“Considering they are missing so many players, I thought they still played on the front foot. And some of the players who came in did well. But saying that, I thought Villa did brilliantly to exploit the fact Tottenham had no centre-halves,” he told Match of the Day 2.
“They had two full-backs playing in there who just don’t have the same physical presence. Now Villa we know, very good on set plays and exploited it really well. You’ve got Torres in there, Emerson Royal and Davies, your two centre halves, not the tallest, both under six foot, and for some reason, Brennan Johnson’s picking up Torres, which is just not acceptable.”
Plenty of positives for Spurs
Tottenham can take a lot of positives from their performance. They were arguably the better side against a Villa team who are flying this season.
But the concern is how little quality they had in the crucial moments. On another day, they would have tested Emi Martinez a lot more. However, their final pass was often lacking.
And it seems that they also struggled to cope with how well-drilled Villa are from set-pieces. Certainly, their £47.5 million forward should not have been picking up Torres.
Spurs fans however, know that the next few weeks are going to be difficult as they wait for players to return.
But there are reasons for cautious optimism as they really did not disgrace themselves against a Villa side who now find themselves within touching distance of the Premier League summit.