Three days after our home loss to the Geordie boys and I still can’t get my head around how we lost. The statistics paint a very frustrating picture that is threatening to become a persistent problem at White Hart Lane and it needs to be corrected as soon as possible. We registered 31 shots (14 on target) during the game to Newcastle’s 8 (4 on target) and bossed possession with 65.3% of the ball and we still lost. Incredible don’t ya think? Newcastle keeper,Tim Krul, was in outstanding form it has to be said (saving an amazing 14 shots) but what were the deciding factors in the result and how are we going to put things right for our daunting trip to Man City on Sunday?
Analysis always starts with the goalkeeper. Brad Friedel started the game at The Lane due to the medical department’s warning that Hugo Lloris should be granted more time to rest from the head ‘injury’ he sustained at Everton last week. I would say Brad’s performed well, although I am going to jump on the bandwagon and say that Lloris would have been quicker coming out the blocks for the deciding Remy goal early in the match. However, you can’t blame AVB for following expert advice and Friedel’s inclusion was certainly not the detrimental to the loss.
At the back, Chiriches, along with Paulinho, were responsible for losing possession which led to the Newcastle goal. Chiriches went off shortly after, and on came Younes Kaboul, who steadied the ship in my view. Jan Vertonghen didn’t perform as well as he has done recently and Michael Dawson/Kyle Walker were enthusiastic as always, but still pretty average if truth be told.
In my view, the midfield is where we didn’t do enough and was a big part in our failure to secure an equalising goal. I am not a big fan of Sigurdsson and he showed me again why he should only be used as a bench player; Erik Lamela should have started after his vastly improved performance in Europe mid-week. Andros Townsend wasn’t at his best by any means but he did try to get the team moving forward to his credit. Paulinho huffed and puffed, but couldn’t blow the house down and was at fault for the Newcastle goal but he cannot solely be blamed. I was very disappointed with Christian Eriksen it has to be said as he conceded possession far more than usual and he didn’t do enough in his ‘number 10′ role to assist Soldado up top. The midfield as a whole needs to vastly improve and become more productive as I think Soldado is unfairly taking the flack at the moment. Without the service from the guys behind him, what can he really do as a lone striker? It’s extremely difficult playing up top on your own as it is so support is crucial.
Furthermore, our ‘inverted’ wingers could be contributing to our lack of goals. Whereas Sigurdsson and Townsend are always accustomed to cutting in, and lashing in a long-range shot, players like Lennon likes to get to the by-line and cross the ball across the face of the goal for a waiting poacher. Lennon’s style would compliment Soldado’s play much more as he can actually get into the area’s he feels most comfortable. With Sigurdsson/Townsend looking to pop off shots as opposed to assisting, Soldado is left feeding of scraps and has no purpose. Many fans are calling for AVB to play two up top with Defoe coming into the fold but I don’t think this will happen, unfortunately. I feel we are becoming too predictable with our system and it does need to change, particularly at home, and particularly against the so called ‘lesser’ teams.
For the City game on Sunday, it is evident a few things need to change if we are to go on a winning run. Firstly, Sandro needs to start alongside Paulinho in my opinion with Moussa Dembele relegated to the bench. Dembele was awful against Newcastle and Sandro was again impressive when called upon; we look so much more comfortable when we don’t have the ball when he’s on the field. His inclusion is crucial and I know many fans would like to see this happen on a regular basis. Secondly, Erik Lamela SHOULD replace Sigurdsson on the left. As I mentioned earlier, Lamela’s impressive showing in Europe could be the boost of confidence the boy needs so throw him into the mix and see how he gets on. It could be his moment to finally shine. After all, £30m won’t just pay for itself now will it? And lastly, AVB might have to tinker with the formation. Two up top? Why not give it a go. Defoe and Soldado have rarely had the opportunity to play together so their potential partnership really is a unknown quantity.
Whether AVB will change anything around for Sunday’s game at The Etihad remains to be seen but it’s obvious we need a plan b in order to keep up the boys at the top. Prediction for the game? It’s gonna be difficult with City looking strong at home so I’m going to be a pessimist this week and go for a 2-1 loss. Let’s hope I’m wrong! COYS!
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