In a febrile Stade Velodrome atmosphere last night, Tottenham earned a famous 2-1 win against Marseille to top their Champions League group – and confirm their place in the Last 16.
For most, the result was all that mattered, as Spurs did fall behind in the first half, and were 35 minutes away from being dumped out of the competition entirely.
However, in the opinion of former Aston Villa striker Gabby Agbonlahor, the London club’s performance left a lot to be desired.
Speaking on TalkSPORT, where the 36-year-old regularly appears as a pundit, he blasted Antonio Conte’s men for ‘parking the bus’ and deploying overtly defensive tactics.
👀 “I thought Tottenham were playing the best ever Real Madrid team last night!”
🤦♂️ “Marseille are PL flops and you’re parking the biggest bus you’ll ever see?!”Advertisement
— talkSPORT (@talkSPORT) November 2, 2022
He told talkSPORT: “Well, I mean, in the first half, I thought Spurs were playing Real Madrid.
“It was like they were playing the best-ever Real Madrid team. The way they parked that double-decker bus in the first half was like nothing I’d ever seen before. I mean, you look at that Marseille team…”
The game itself was a tight and nervy affair, with both Spurs and Marseille knowing that a win would see them through to the Last 16. The cauldron like atmosphere in southern France appeared to lift the hosts early on, with Chancel Mbemba scoring the first goal of the game on the stroke of half-time.
And yet, Spurs – who were without Conte on the touchline following his ban – rallied in the second period, equalising through defender Clement Lenglet, before Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg sealed a dramatic winner with virtually the last kick of the game.
Far from praising the Spurs players for coming from behind to win the game, Agbonlahor instead pointed out how poor the Marseille side was on paper, detailing how many of their starters are ‘Premier League rejects’.
He said: “Lopez, the ‘keeper, flop at Spurs. Mbemba, flop at Newcastle. Tavares, flop at Arsenal. Veretout, flop at Aston Villa. Guendouzi, flop at Arsenal.
“Kolasinac, who came on, flop at Arsenal. These are Premier League flops, and you’re going into the game parking the biggest bus you’ll ever see for the first half. And this wasn’t even defensive; it was ultra-defensive. Harry Kane was probably halfway into his own half, defending.
“You can play a defensive tactic to try and play on the counter-attack, but you’ve got to leave one player forward. They didn’t have anyone forward. Marseille are fifth, fifth in the farmers’ league, and you park that bus.”
While their brand of football might not be winning over the neutrals, Spurs’ progression to the Last 16 of the Champions League is a fine achievement, considering the club’s downturn in form of late.
Having finished top of their group, potential opponents in the next round include Club Brugge and Inter Milan, who also secured passage on Tuesday night.