Tottenham Hotspur’s recent winning streak came to an end on Sunday, with Mauricio Pochettino’s men held to a 1-1 draw by Southampton at the weekend.
Spurs were not at their best on the south coast, with wet weather and a reported virus going through the squad not helping on the pursuit of three points.
While Harry Kane had a late opportunity to snatch victory for Tottenham, the hosts had chances of their own and in the end a draw was a fair result.
Given the nature of Spurs’ 5-2 humbling of Southampton on Boxing Day, the lack of clear-cut chances created in the return fixture will have been a frustration for Pochettino and the travelling support.
What the flat and uninspired attacking performance does reiterate is the importance of Christian Eriksen to the Tottenham side.
The Denmark international was unavailable for the game due to illness and his creativity and eye for a killer final pass was sorely missed.
Kane’s ruthlessness, Son Heung-min’s energy and Dele Alli’s ability to do something unexpected are all telling features of the Tottenham attack, but Eriksen’s unique attributes are clearly hard to deputise for.
Erik Lamela was introduced in the second half by Pochettino in a bid to get Spurs a winning goal, with the Argentine full of invention when fit and firing.
However, it is clear to see that the Tottenham attacker is still not fully fit or back to his best, with the South American struggling to make an impact at the St Mary’s Stadium.
Players of Eriksen’s calibre are clearly in short supply and the fact that Spurs rely on him is normal given his sheer ability.
However, for Tottenham to progress to the next level and break down stubborn opposition, Pochettino needs a more viable Plan B as stiffer tests await the team over the next month.