Spurs news: Ten stunning Tottenham Hotspur capitulations following 3-3 draw with West Ham

West Ham celebrate

Not for the first time, Tottenham Hotspur were the protagonists in their own self-perpetuating nightmare on Sunday afternoon.

Jose Mourinho's side were in cruise control against a meek West Ham United, coasting with a 3-0 lead in a game that induced conversation regarding their slightly leftfield title credentials - for 83 minutes, at least.

What slipped most onlookers' minds, though, were the myriad occasions Spurs have faltered in comparably favourable circumstances.

You can buy and sell players, change the manager and funnel commercial propaganda through a sugar-coated Amazon documentary, but the Spursy DNA remains the same.

Per Urban Dictionary, Spursy can be summarised as such: "To consistently and inevitably fail to live up to expectations. To bottle it."

For example: "My team only got to the last 16 - they're a bit Spursy".

But where did this infamy emerge?


While Tottenham's recent inability to translate the development of a fantastic side - cultivated through years of work under Mauricio Pochettino in particular - into silverware is at the forefront of the narrative, there are numerous examples from the down the years that illuminate a tendency to choke in highly advantageous scenarios.

Here at GiveMeSport, we've ranked a list of ten of the most apt examples of Tottenham at their most Spursy.

Take a look below...

10. 3rd round FA Cup defeat vs Leicester (2006)

Leicester v Spurs

Though this fixture lacked magnitude, it serves as a perfect embodiment of Spursyness in motion.

Leicester City welcomed the north London outfit to the King Power Stadium embroiled in relegation fears amid a run of form that had seen them win just one Championship game from 12.

The Foxes were stuck in 21st place in the second tier and Craig Levein appeared to be heading for the sack, a feeling that only intensified when Paul Stalteri put the visitors 2-0 up after 41 minutes.

But the Spurs capitulation was just about to begin. Elvis Hammond pulled one back for the hosts before half-time in a goal that signalled the beginning of an unlikely comeback.

Stephen Hughes levelled things up 12 minutes into the second half, and the man who set up the equaliser, Mark de Vries, was on hand to score a 91st minute winner, condemning Spurs to a third round exit in a game that they ought to have seen out comfortably.

9. Europa League last 32 defeat vs Gent (2017)

Spurs vs Gent

Having finished third in Group E of the Champions League, Spurs dropped into the last-32 of the Europa League for a relatively favourable-looking tie against KAA Gent.

A 1-0 away defeat in the first leg left them with plenty of work to do, but Christian Eriksen's 10th minute strike put them in a commanding position to complete the job on home soil.

However, Harry Kane made the seldom seen mistake of converting into his own goal, before Dele Alli's complete absence of game management left Spurs with a mountain to climb that was ultimately too hefty to traverse.

Alli rightfully received his marching orders for a ghastly challenge after 39 minutes as he raised his studs in an ill-timed lunge that left the home fans audibly gasping.

Spurs restored the lead in the second-half but, with the away goals rule rendering them in need of another, they conceded a killer second after 82 minutes while in search of a decisive third.

8. 5-2 north London derby demolition (2012)

Harry Redknapp

There are few worse feelings in football than losing to your local rivals.

However, it feels that much more painful when you squander a two-goal advantage and eventually lose by an embarrassing three-goal margin.

That's exactly what happened to Spurs in February 2012 while Harry Redknapp was still in charge.

Spurs were two-nil up after 34 minutes courtesy of strikes from the mercurial pairing of Louis Saha and Emmanuel Adebayor, but 28 whirlwind minutes of football saw the Gunners overturn the deficit and storm into a 5-2 lead.

Goals from Bacary Sagna, Robin van Persie, Thomas Rosicky and a Theo Walcott brace all arrived between the 40th and 68th minute, and Scott Parker's 87th minute red card completed a humbling afternoon for the Lilywhites.

7. EFL Cup 4th round defeat against West Ham (2017)

Andre Ayew

Spurs have previous against the Hammers.

During an EFL Cup 4th round tie in 2017, Pochettino's side relinquished an opportunity to help the Argentine win his first trophy as manager.

Moussa Sissoko and Alli had the hosts two-nil up at the interval and seemingly heading for the next round.

In typical Spurs fashion, however, they conceded three second half goals in the space of just 15 minutes.

Andre Ayew, who only scored six goals in 36 games that season, bagged himself a brace before Angelo Ogbonna headed home from Lanzini's corner to complete the turnaround.

A textbook example of Spursyness.

6. Champions League last-16 defeat vs Juventus (2018)


Now, there is certainly no shame in losing to Juventus.

The Old Lady are one of the most prestigious outfits in Europe and were knocked out of the Champions League by the eventual winners, Real Madrid, in the 2017/18 season.

But, despite the quality of the opposition, this was a captivating two-legged tie that Spurs seemed well placed to emerge victorious from.

It was a true test of the club's mettle and a fixture which, for large periods, showcased the extent to which the club had advanced under Pochettino's tutelage.

Spurs found themselves two-nil down after just nine minutes in the first leg, but a resilient, Mousa Dembele-inspired recovery saw them score two vital away goals through Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen, placing them in a commanding position for the second leg.

Son Heung-min's 39th minute strike put Spurs 3-2 up on aggregate going into the second-half, but the tie was flipped on its head in a dramatic three-minute spell.

Dybala & Higuain

Gonzalo Higuain bagged in the 64th minute before some naive defending paved the way for Paulo Dybala to score a second in front of a stunned Wembley crowd.

The Serie A giants successfully navigated the late home pressure and consigned Spurs to more disappointment in Pochettino's search for a trophy.

The result solidified the pervading feeling that Spurs were destined to fall short of their visions of grandeur, even when those dreams looked to be in tangible touching distance.

As Juventus' Giorgio Chiellini noted in the aftermath of proceedings, this was another case of a self-fulfilling prophecy: "It’s the history of Tottenham.

"They always create many chances and score so much but, in the end, they miss always something to arrive at the end."

5. FA Cup semi-final defeat vs Chelsea (2017)


Spurs arrived at Wembley for the 2016/17 FA Cup semi-final as a club in the ascendancy.
But a well-drilled Chelsea outfit, playing in Antonio Conte's distinctive three/five-at-the-back system, stormed to a 4-2 win.

The Lilywhites were the better side for significant spells of the game but so blatantly lacked the killer, ruthless instinct required to win the competition.

Harry Kane and Dele Alli twice levelled the score for Spurs before Eden Hazard and Nemanja Matic, who scored the most unlikely of 25-yard thunderbolts, consigned their London rivals to another trophyless season.

4. Dramatic Premier League meltdown vs West Ham (2020)


The Hammers' headline-grabbing weekend comeback makes it into fourth place on the list despite the relative insignificance of the fixture; the result arrived too early in the season to have a major bearing on Spurs’ objectives and didn't force them out of a knockout competition.

This was, however, an embarrassing case of classic Spurs capitulation, serving as a reminder that even Jose Mourinho cannot turn this club into a hardened collection of steel-testicled warriors, no matter what narrative he spins in front of the Amazon cameras.

For 82 minutes the result seemed to be a formality. One bolt from the blue was all it took to spark the demise, and one more bolt from Lanzini's right-boot was all it took to complete it.

3. St. Totteringham’s day (2016)


St. Totteringham's day: an annual celebration of Arsenal's north London supremacy, marking the moment when the Gunners are mathematically guaranteed to finish above Spurs in the Premier League table.

Domineering rivals love to find ways of maintaining their supremacy, ensuring the subordinate knows their rightful, perennial place below them in the hierarchy.

Spurs looked destined to steer well clear of Arsenal during the 2015/16 season as they went toe-to-toe with Leicester City for the league title, but an end of season meltdown gave St Totteringham the celebration all Arsenal fans were craving.

A torrid end to the campaign culminated on the final day of the season against Newcastle United at St James' Park. By virtue of goal difference, Spurs only needed a point to all but guarantee 2nd place and finish above their fierce local rivals.

What happened next was almost inconceivable even for a side with a propensity for choking.
An already relegated Magpies side went into a two-nil lead after 39 minutes but Erik Lamela halved the deficit with 30 minutes to play.

Aleksandar Mitrovic was then dismissed for serious foul play, leaving Spurs with a quarter of the game to score an equaliser and finish in 2nd place. 

Pochettino's side had drawn a brilliant hand. Everything was in their favour, yet you cannot legislate for Spurs being Spurs.

The Magpies, freed from the shackles of the fear of relegation, scored three goals in a stunning conclusion to the game. Meanwhile, the Gunners completed a 4-0 rout against Aston Villa.

Once again, Arsenal were the kings of north London and Spurs were left staring into the abyss of another painful reality check.

2. The Battle of the Bridge (2016)

Battle of the Bridge

Two games before the trip to St James', Spurs faced Chelsea in what proved to be a modern classic.
That the game was coined "The Battle of the Bridge" - a name that wouldn't be amiss in a Tudor history textbook - speaks volumes about the magnitude of what unfolded.

Former Premier League referee Mark Clattenburg was in charge of proceedings and later described the game as "by far the hardest match" he's ever had to officiate.

Spurs knew that anything less than a win would mark the end of their title pursuit and confirm an expectant Leicester City as champions. Two first half goals from Harry Kane and Son put the visitors to Stamford Bridge in the driving seat.

But Lilywhite dreams of winning the title were extinguished in the second-half, and as one fire petered out another escalated into a dramatic frenzy as players on both sides competed in a Royal Rumble-esque finale.

The typically composed, authoritative Dembele gouged Diego Costa's eye and the then Chelsea manager Guss Hiddink was sent tumbling into his own dugout during a melee after the final whistle.

It was ugly yet utterly exhilarating to watch during a footballing era in which hyper-passionate eruptions of emotion are rarer than perhaps they once were.

The eruption of unadulterated emotion reflected more than just one season of regret, but rather a feeling of frustration that had its roots in the club’s history of finding inevitable failure just over the horizon of optimism.

1. Man City’s against-all-odds FA Cup comeback (2004)

Jon Macken

One of football's alluring attractions is its capacity to surprise, its refusal to follow logical patterns and insistence on being predictably unpredictable.

But the acknowledgement of football’s unpredictability is not always enough to prepare you for the outcome.
Back in 2004, Spurs welcomed Manchester City to White Hart Lane for a fourth round FA Cup replay and found themselves three nil up at the break.

As the players made their way down the tunnel, Joey Barton managed to earn himself a second yellow card, leaving the visitors with seemingly no hope of rescuing the tie.

We can only assume that Kevin Keegan's team talk went something like this: "Lads, it's Tottenham".

Despite having an extra player, Spurs surrendered their three goal lead and were knocked out of the competition in a true FA Cup classic. Sylvain Distin, Paul Bosvelt and Shaun Wright-Phillips somehow clawed the visitors level by the 80th minute, and in stoppage time Jon Macken rose highest at the back post to plant a powerful header into the bottom corner.

Spurs had everything in their favour yet still conspired to throw it all away in one scintillating half of football.

Sixteen years later and Spurs are still up to their same old tricks.

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