Tomorrow is going to be the first time in pre-season where we can see a full, live friendly featuring Spurs. Here’s what I expect to see broken down to 5 points.
- Defensive upgrade put to the test. Spurs have been busy fixing a leaky defence during this transfer period and I, personally, am pumped to see the upgrade in personnel being tested by the likes of Robbie Keane, Clint Dempsey, David Villa and Kaka to name just a few of the attacking talent available to the MLS team. Although this is just pre-season and the performance may not be a representation of what we will see later in the competitive matches, it should at least be a stage for Spurs to showcase their brand new toys in defence and hopefully show some positive defensive attributes and get some confidence under the belts of the players and of the fans.
- Midfield line-up. If Mauricio lines up in his preferred 4-2-3-1 formation, then his midfield selection will be an indication of where he sees each player’s role being, especially if he elects to start a strong lineup. For me, my attention will be on who partners Nabil Bentaleb in the central midfield roles. Following indications that Dier partnered him against Brentford, I am positively buzzed in seeing Bentaleb in a more expressive and free role than last year, but also to see how the selected DM would get on against the threat of the MLS attack. I am also interested in seeing more of Harry Winks, our young CM, and Josh Onomah, who can play in attacking midfield or as a second striker, both of which have impressed and created a real interest in our academies and the progression of such raw talents into experienced and skilled players.
- Our very own ‘Shaq’. Being the only other recognised striker in the squad that travelled to the U.S. I expect to see Shaq Coulthirst either start or come on as the lone striker. I have very high hopes for this youngster to break through to the first team. I’ve seen him play for our under 21s and enjoyed his skill on the ball and off and his explosive speed. I always felt he deserved a chance to show his worth in a cup game or in a Europa League game, but now he should get enough pitch time to prove if he has what it takes to be this season’s Ryan Mason and push his way into the first team.
- Where do we actually need strengthening? I think this match will be our first look of our strengths and our weaknesses. Amidst speculation of our transfer activity, whether for players coming or going, I think we can’t really be sure of where we need strengthening until we see it for ourselves. Do we really need a second striker to rest Harry Kane or do we already have one in Shaq or Nacer Chadli? Do we need a DM more or will we see Eric Dier partner Nabil, or even Nabil continuing from last season’s more restricted role and keep playing Mason or someone else in a more attacking role? In any outcome, this will be our first complete view of the team and after the match we will have a more complete opinion.
- Everyone else. For those of you who shouted at your monitor about me forgetting Mousa Dembele, hope you didn’t close the window, I just felt that Mousa and other people in the list deserved their own point. Mousa reportedly got assurances for his role in the club after crunch talks with Mauricio and personally I felt as relieved as anyone who fell in love with Mousa 3 years ago when he first joined or even before that from his time in Fulham. I still hope he will rediscover his form and will learn to be more consistent and may just win that DM role. I also will be keeping an eye out for Dele Alli and his performance. I only saw this lad through YouTube clips and Match of The Day highlights on the TV and as with any new signing that was enough to win me over and get me excited. From the first team players of last season such as Danny Rose and Harry Kane, my expectations are restricted. I have no worries about their skills and it’s not a question of if but when they will be in top form and performing to the maximum. An absence of injury and a good run will do just fine for now. As for players who did not fly with the squad to the U.S. Alex Pritchard is the player I mostly want to see in action to determine if he can live up to his last season’s form and be a part of the team.
All in all I expect to see improvements in implementing Mauricio’s philosophy on the pitch, improvements in our defense and improvements regarding each player, but most of all that positive attitude and that never die attitude that served us so well last year!
What are your thoughts? What do you want to see from the team tomorrow? #COYS
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