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Sissoko shows signs of life at Spurs

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 By John Crace

Hugo Lloris and Victor Wanyama struggle in Spurs' Wembley woe

Tottenham lost against Chelsea as their season at Wembley got off to a disappointing start.
Tottenham lost against Chelsea as their season at Wembley got off to a disappointing start.
Tottenham lost against Chelsea as their season at Wembley got off to a disappointing start.

An 88th minute goal from Chelsea's Marcos Alonso ensured Tottenham's season at Wembley got off to a losing start. It was a killer blow; all the more so because it was largely self-inflicted.

After clawing their way back into the game with a late equaliser, Spurs made two uncharacteristic errors in defence while pressing for the winner. First, Victor Wanyama needlessly gave the ball away and then Hugo Lloris allowed Alonso's near-post effort he should easily have saved to squeeze under his body.

Though Spurs deserved more from the game, the result will have done nothing to allay fears they have yet to master their new home.

Positives

Spurs fought hard and just like last year's FA Cup semifinal, they dominated Chelsea for large periods of the game.

Elsewhere, Christian Eriksen looks to have started the season in peak form. He was behind most of Spurs' most attacking moves and it was his free kick that was headed in by Michy Batshuayi to make it 1-1.

Negatives

Tottenham were guilty of poor game management. Spurs, having forced an equaliser, needed to play out the game safely. Instead they let the emotion of the occasion get the better of them and left too many gaps as they went in search of a winner. They also look short of a player with pace who can break down a packed defence.

Manager rating out of 10

7 -- Mauricio Pochettino will be regret his decision not to substitute Wanyama rather than Eric Dier. The Kenyan had looked less than match fit throughout the game and his performance was marked by numerous unforced errors. At a time when his side needed solidity, Wanyama presented Chelsea with their winner.

Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)

GK Hugo Lloris, 5 -- Was unable to do anything about Alonso's first goal, a fine free kick, but will be having nightmares about being beaten at the near post for the second. The goals apart, he had a quiet afternoon.

DF Kieran Trippier, 7 -- Didn't look entirely match-fit. Struggled to get behind the Chelsea defence going forward and his final ball was not as accurate as usual. Solid in defence.

DF Toby Alderweireld, 7 -- One early wobble when Alvaro Morata was allowed a free header when unmarked in the box, but thereafter tightened up his game and had a relatively easy match as Chelsea chose to defend their lead.

DF Eric Dier, 6 -- An unremarkable performance. Was secure enough in defence but gave Spurs few attacking options. Like many players, didn't look entirely match ready.

DF Jan Vertonghen, 7 -- Made one important interception midway through the first half, but otherwise had a relatively untroubled afternoon. Never allowed the Chelsea forwards the time or space to run at him.

DF Ben Davies, 7 -- Looked rather lost for long periods of the first half as Spurs chose to mount most of their attacks down the right flank. Came into the game more in the second half but lacked the speed and accuracy of delivery to seriously trouble the Chelsea defence.

MF Victor Wanyama, 5 -- A day to forget. Normally, Wanyama can be relied on to break up play and win possession, but he all too frequently gave the ball away. His commitment can't be faulted but fatigue seemed to cloud his judgement. It was his error that led to Chelsea's winner.

MF Mousa Dembele, 8 -- One of Spurs' standout players. His ability to retain possession and glide past players is breathtaking. Came close to scoring from a long range effort after a dazzling first half run.

MF Christian Eriksen, 8 -- Was behind nearly all of Spurs' most threatening moves and time and again created openings during the first 45 minutes. Faded in the second half but still provided the free kick that led to the Tottenham equaliser.

MF Dele Alli, 6 -- Created a couple of half chances but was kept quiet for most of the game by some tight marking. Wasn't at his sharpest so was unable to escape the attention of the Chelsea defence.

FW Harry Kane, 7 -- Hit the post with a lovely shot in the first 45 minutes and set up a glorious chance for Eriksen in the early minutes of the second half, but thereafter failed to make much impression. The wait for an August Premier League goal continues.

Substitutes:

MF Son Heung-Min, 6 -- Brought on in the 67th minute to give Spurs some more attacking options, but never really got into the game. Another player who needs more game time.

MF Moussa Sissoko, N/R -- Made no impact in his 10 minutes of game time. How much longer will Spurs persevere with him?

FW Vincent Janssen, N/R -- A last throw of the dice as an injury time replacement.

John Crace is one of ESPN FC's Tottenham bloggers. Follow him on Twitter @JohnJCrace.

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