Tottenham Hotspur could not find a way past a buzzing Brentford defense, failing to manage a shot on target in handing top-four advantage back to its North London derby rivals Arsenal following a 0-0 draw at the Brentford Community Stadium on Saturday.
Fifth-place Spurs finish the weekend two points behind the Gunners with five matches left each including a derby.
And in truth Brentford had plenty of reasons to expect it could collect all three points at home, settling for a 40th point that keeps it 11th. The Bees are a dozen points clear of the bottom three through 34 matches.
Brentford vs Tottenham final score, stats
Brentford 0, Tottenham Hotspur 0
Shot attempts: Brentford 15, Tottenham 9
Shots on goal: Brentford 2, Tottenham 0
Possession:Brentford 44, Tottenham 56
Three things we learned from Brentford vs Tottenham
1. Tottenham just.. does this… a lot: If Tottenham fails to finish in the top four (three?) it’ll be because they have this knack of sleeping through 1-0 (or 0-0) matches against teams they should beat on paper, just figuring that they’ll find that goal. It happened against Saturday, when Tottenham couldn’t even manage to force a save out of David Raya. Spurs have now been shutout 1-0 in losses to Brighton, Burnley, and West Ham this season, also drawing Everton 0-0. There have been two 2-0 and three 3-0 losses, too, but it’s these games that just snip a little bit of hope from a season’s goals until they are danging by a thread. Tottenham’s last six wins have all come by multi-goal margins. Fortunately for Spurs, neither Arsenal nor Man United have shown a knack for pulling out the close ones either.
2. Brentford don’t mind the defending: When the Bees plan to defend the proverbial hive in hopes of countering, credit to them for buying into Thomas Frank’s plan with vigor. This isn’t a group of players who bide their time and take up space. it’s active, energetic, and about as fun as you’re going to have watching a team defend (unless, of course, you’re rooting for the team attacking them. Then it’s dreadful and you end up doing in your head everything that Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is doing on your screen).
3. All eyes remain on the derby: Whether Spurs or Arsenal have the advantage, the North London derby continues to pull all eyes toward it like a fourth-place magnet. Now, however, the Gunners are on pace to enter the game knowing a draw would keep them in fourth…. though NLDs are always about a victor.
Man of the Match: Cristian Romero — While Tottenham’s January moves for Dejan Kulusevski and Rodrigo Betancur get a lot of deserved love, the summer pick-up of Romero was a monumental move for Spurs. Romero had five interception, three blocked shots, a tackle, and two clearances in the game, passing at 93 percent.