They came to bury us and prove that they’ve not ‘done a Spurs’ with their unexpected Lallana, Lambert and Lovren lolly, they left with their tails between their legs. Tadic belted free-kicks into touch, Pelle was an anonymous lump, Mane missed from six yards and Forster’s handling made you wonder how Gomes is getting on at Watford these days.
The fans were noisy in their abuse for Pochettino early on but were very quiet as it became clear their new heroes were going to fall at the hands of the present charges of an old one. The one goal that separated the sides could’ve been more but not many more. To add to Eriksen’s precise strike, Chadli hit the post, Vertonghen had a looping header cleared off the line and Forster scrambled a couple of long range efforts away but we didn’t create many chances. More than them though as Lloris had, for him, a very quiet day at the office.
The manager repeats his mantra about systems and philosophy regularly as we know and yesterday there was more than a touch of the AVB’s about him and the display as we pressed in a narrow fashion, left Adebayor to plough a lone furrow and rarely committed the full backs. We did break much more swiftly and accurately than we have been doing with Chadli, clearly bursting with confidence, at the forefront. Our best opportunities came from these counter attacks.
Apart from a couple of dodgy decisions by Kaboul we defended well. Vertonghen was very good as was Capoue in front of him. Rose was solid and Dier and Kaboul were steady. Mason was quick to move the ball and the front four were all lively.
Neither side was helped by the officiating. I’m a mild mannered individual in general who knows I think what a tough job refereeing is but this effort by Mike Jones would’ve riled Clark Kent not just me. The inconsistencies and errors were driving me spare. The booking of Kaboul after his perfectly fair challenge on Mane, no free kick at all when Naughton ended up limping off after Bertrand’s foot up ‘tackle’, waving away one of the most blatant pushes in the box I’ve ever witnessed against Adebayor and then giving a free kick against Dier for an offence of one tenth the gravity a few moments later, not showing a card to Wanyama or Capoue who were as cynical as each other, the list goes on. All very frustrating especially when it comes on top of Chadli getting booked last week for an ‘offence’ that Gerrard had committed only hours earlier with no punishment. Grrr.
This was a good win but the Pochettino project is still clearly a work in progress. If the performance against West Brom (who played far better than Southampton by the way) could be compared to molasses then this was something far more fluid and tasty. One that makes you optimistic, perhaps not for the visit to Middle Eastlands, but for the longer-term. COYS.
Have something to tell us about this article?