It’s six weeks on but the break has not changed Tottenham Hotspur in the slightest. Once again the Jekyll and Hyde nature of Antonio Conte’s team was on full display as they stuttered and stumbled in the first half yet finally pressed and improved in the second.
It’s now nine consecutive matches in all competitions – six in the Premier League – in which Spurs have conceded the first goal but yet somehow they found a way back once again with top-drawer goals from Harry Kane and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.
It’s a problem Conte needs to solve and whatever was put into place on the training pitches of Hotspur Way during the World Cup break or in the meeting rooms of the sprawling training complex clearly did not uncover the answer.
In the first half at the Gtech Community Stadium, Brentford looked the far better-prepared team and while Spurs did probe forward it was the hosts who looked dangerous every time they got forward.
Once again though after Brentford scored a second goal through Ivan Toney early in the second half so Tottenham came to life, like Frankenstein’s monster when hit by a bolt of lightning.
From that point on a strong, organized Brentford side that has beaten Manchester City and Manchester United as well as drawing against Chelsea was largely contained and under control without Fraser Forster having to make another save in his first Premier League appearance in a Spurs shirt.
Not only did Kane and Hojbjerg score the goals to grab Tottenham a share of the game but they could have won this encounter, the former hitting the crossbar and the visitors carving out further opportunities in front of the goal.
In all Spurs had 61% possession to Brentford’s 39%, and they had 16 shots on target to the hosts’ nine with eight on target to Brentford’s five.
For Conte, this Christmas has brought him his wife Elisabetta and daughter Vittoria to England from Italy to spend the festive period with him but it has not brought him a different Tottenham Hotspur.
Last season it was the win-loss-win-loss inconsistency that irked him so much and now that irritating quirk has zoomed in even further to create a similar pattern but within 45-minute periods that feel like night and day.