In this article I stated that the end of last season was no more to blame then the beginning for Spurs ending in third place rather than second or first. In the first four games last season we took 3 points from 12. I suggested that a better start was needed this time. Regardless of luck or other factors, a draw at Everton on the first day of the season is a reasonable result. I thought our guys did well for the final twenty minutes, but were lacklustre before that. Palace proved to be tricky (again) and a win of any kind was welcome. We now have four points from two games, a much better start than last time. My prediction for the first two was D W, and for the next two D W. My fingers are crossed! A win against Liverpool would be fantastic, but less so if it is countered by a loss at Stoke. Two draws and two wins would give us 8 points from 12, and I can live with that from two home and two away games at this stage.
Mousa Dembele misses the first four games through suspension. He was also suspended for the final two games of last season, and we know what happened in those. Dembele can break up opposition play. He can move the ball forward. He scored just three PL goals last season and supplied just one assist. These statistics do not, however, indicate his impact. Dembele started 27 PL games and missed 9. Kane scored once in the 11 games Dembele was not in the team, yet he scored 25 PL goals in the season. That is 24 goals in the 27 games in which Dembele played.
The following (rounded) figures are for PL games per 90 minutes for Dembele for 2015-16.
Total passes 47
Forward passes: 26
Pass completion: 90%
Shot accuracy: 56%
The challenge is Dembele may get injured or suspended and there is no one who appears able to play his linking role. Wanyama and Dier are both defensive midfielders (who do good jobs at that). Can either play the Dembele role? I think it is possible, but I have heard others suggest not. What of Dele, Eriksen or Lamela? I do not believe any of these is suited to that role and they are needed elsewhere. I also do not think this is a role fort Nkoudo. Mason is not of the quality of Dembele. Bentaleb seems to be on the way out.
Going back to his age (29), if the aim is to build over the next few years, then a younger player needs to be Dembele’s understudy. This means someone from the existing young ranks stepping forward or buying. Could Harry Winks do the job? I simply do not know, but it would be great if he could. Who can we buy? There are not hundreds of Dembeles out there waiting to come to Spurs. Again, I do not know. If I believe the media, Spurs will have bought ten players by the end of this weekend!
We need Dembele and we need someone to step into his boots.
Your thoughts are welcome. Leave your comments below.
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