It was as though last weekend never happened. We were outnumbered in midfield, slow, narrow and toothless up front, all regular descriptions in this season of false starts, but clothes we looked like shrugging off against Everton. But no.
There are some questions begging. Pochettino’s replacement of Lennon with Lamela as a starter is on the face of it only explicable if the former was injured. Once more we were up against a side whose major weapon was width. DIer had to face the box of mostly pointless tricks that is Bolasie but would still have appreciated Lennon’s assistance rather than the Argentine’s whose ability to run into trouble and give the ball away within seconds of receiving it is becoming, forget the rabona, his signature move.
The head coach tired of the wastefulness after 45 minutes and brought on Chadli, a change that was successful to a degree even though a chance was missed to reintroduce the balance evident against the Tigers and Toffees. Mason was replaced with twenty-odd minutes to go by… Paulinho. WTF. So still no width, and now, a midfield, outnumbered and without the energy and tackling of one of this season’s few success stories. No wonder Hugo was asked to be at his best for the last period of the game. Not for the first time we’ve him to thank for the point gained.
I’ve got no pretensions of knowing more than Pochettino about player selection and management, that’d be ridiculous, and have got no idea what’s been happening behind the scenes during the week. I am though, like most people I’m sure, puzzled.
Whilst Lloris was performing heroics at one end, he was being let down at the other. Soldado missed four good opportunities, getting only one on target, Kane didn’t have an effort on goal that I can remember. Our mostly likely source of success, Eriksen did have a few, but nothing that troubled Speroni.
Want some positives? And yes, there were some despite the boos that greeted the final whistle; well Fazio had a good game again, as did Davies. The energy of Bentaleb and Mason was great even if they didn’t move the ball around at the speed they have been doing. That’s it, but if you want a straw to clutch at then it might as well be one that looks a bit like three quarters of a settled back four and a solid base to the midfield.
Swansea next week. We’ve a good record there and should be optimistic. Away is the new Home after all. COYS.
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