So farewell to the Europa League, and good riddance some might say. Chadli’s late goals combined with the keeper’s save from Siggy’s header combined with the better than average penalty shout may have given the impression that we were unlucky not to force extra time, the truth is though that the inability to defend from set pieces or stop whippets haring through our squarer than square defence at White Hart Lane was always likely to cost us dear.
We started slowly and looked weary displaying many of the faults we’ve become familiar with, dodgy full backs, the wasting of free kicks, scuffed shooting and a general lack of pace. By the end though we can look back on some promising and positive performances. Chadli’s increasing confidence, Fryers at centre back, Kane’s cameo as sub and Bentaleb’s all round display should leave a spring in one’s step even when countered with Soldado’s frustrating inability to come good and Lennon’s disappearing until it was all too late.
Bentaleb appears to be turning from boy to man in front of us. He was busy throughout; making himself available, getting a foot in, distributing the ball quickly and more often forward than normal. He still looks lost when in one-on-one situations, lightweight in the tackle and prone to leaving his passes short but this is a performance to build on.
Chadli’s goals on the back of his generally good display on Sunday are a big bonus as he’s one of the few midfielders who appears to be able to remain fit for more ten minutes in a row. His elegant style hasn’t endeared himself to many in the crowd at WHL who want to see more evidence of fight and getting stuck in. His poise and touch though stamp him as someone capable of producing the unexpected and certainly very few would’ve predicted his two goals in a minute in this game that gave us a brief period of hope. If we can find a fit and solid back four to play behind him, Eriksen, Dembele, Bentaleb and Sandro there’s the makings of something there.
Kane’s recent displays make him look a better bet than Soldado for the rest of the season in my opinion. He may turn out to be no more than an honest trier but he’s got a shot on him, can make space and to me doesn’t look like he’s finished growing as a player, if you see what I mean.
Tough game this weekend. The boost of Vertonghen and you never know, Kaboul, Adebayor and Dembele would lift the side I’m sure but this is two better performances after a few very very limp and disappointing ones. Lallana et all are quick and skilful and we were fortunate to get the better of them at St Mary’s still, I’m looking forward to it. Should be a good game. COYS.
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