Alan Smith admits NLD derby was ‘a tough match’ for reliable Spurs star

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Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg
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Alan Smith admitted during his commentary during Tottenham’s defeat to Arsenal that Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg was having a tough time on the pitch.

Hojbjerg has been Mr Consistent for Spurs so far this season, with the midfielder regularly demonstrating his ability to make smart interceptions and cut out any potential danger.

However, the Dane had a torrid time on Sunday, particularly in the first half, as Arsenal completely dominated in terms of possession and territorially.

The Gunners had an extra man in midfield, with Hojbjerg and Tanguy Ndombele finding themselves chasing shadows in the first 45 minutes as Emile Smith Rowe’s runs caused havoc at the back for Spurs.

Jose Mourinho was critical of Ndombele for the lack of intensity he showed during the match but Hojbjerg certainly did not cover himself in glory either.

Smith admitted during the game that the former Southampton man often had to cover the right channel and found it difficult to cope with Arsenal’s movement.

He told Sky Sports on 67 minutes (as relayed by HITC): “It’s been a tough match for Hojbjerg. He’s had to shift across to the right quite often. There has been a lot of movement around him.”

Spurs Web Opinion

I think one of the things we have learned, not just from the game on Sunday but over the course of the last couple of months is that a midfield pairing of Ndombele and Hojbjerg only works if we press the opposition high up the pitch and dominate possession.

If we are looking to absorb pressure and play on the counter-attack, we seem to get overrun in the middle of the park. In these sorts of games against the better teams, it seems like it would be safer to pair Sissoko with Hojbjerg and play Ndombele as a number ten.

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