Tottenham’s start to the 2017-18 Premier League season has been laborious. Last year’s runner-up struggled against 11-man Newcastle on the opening weekend before Jonjo Shelvey reduced the hosts to 10 men. Spurs then fell to a depleted Chelsea squad in their home opener last Sunday. And they weren’t particularly impressive over 90 minutes against Burnley this Sunday.
But for much of the second half, Tottenham looked like it would escape from an underwhelming August with six points. Dele Alli fired Spurs into a 48th-minute lead, and they still held that lead when the clock struck 90. But it was not to be.
The hole in the Tottenham defense between right back Kieran Trippier and right center back Toby Alderweireld was inexplicable. But Wood’s finish was masterful, especially under pressure from both of the Spurs defenders. The New Zealand international was the top scorer in the English Championship last season, and couldn’t have asked for a better way to close out his first week in the Premier League.
But the bigger story is Tottenham, who failed to pick up three points from one of the most straightforward fixtures on offer in the EPL. Burnley won just once away from home last season. It has now won its first two road games of the new campaign, at Stamford Bridge and Wembley, but that says more about the shortcomings of its opponents than anything. Chelsea had the excuse of an early red card. Spurs have nothing of the sort.
It’s not the first time Tottenham has started a Premier League season slowly, and therefore isn’t time to panic. But in a top-four race that figures to be extremely tight, two points could be crucial. Four points from a possible nine for Mauricio Pochettino’s side is not exactly an ideal start.