These are the games you should be winning comfortably if you’re going to challenge for the title. Good teams take care of business against lesser opponents and after losing arguably their two best players in the summer in Sigurdson and Llorrente, Swansea are no question a bottom-half club this season (maybe even a relegation threat). Look no further than Man City’s thrashing of Watford or even Man United’s rout of Everton at the weekend for the proper way top clubs handle their business.
But not Spurs. As a Spurs fan you’d have been a little disappointed with a 1-0 nail biter but at least you’d have the 3 points. You can imagine the frustration of most supporters and fans alike at the 0-0 draw, especially coming off the high of such a glorious week. These early season struggles are becoming all too familiar and really wish we wouldn’t dig ourselves such a hole every year with dropped points to Burnley and the Swans (not to mention a lost point to Chelsea).
I was certain that after the mid-week tilt with Dortmund we’d see some rotation. I was hoping for a 3-4-2-1 similar to what we played at Everton to such success but with Llorente earning the start and Kane getting a rest with the ability to come off the bench late if needed. Whether Davies has a minor knock or just needed the rest we don’t know but since he didn’t play I would have plugged Trippier in as the LWB and started Aurier at the RWB. Instead Poch opted for using Son as a makeshift LWB which I don’t like at all. Asking a naturally right-footed player such as Trippier to play on the left is not a big deal; but asking a player like Son to track back as a wing-back is just not going to get the best out of him. There are games Son is asked to play as a lone striker or a false-9, and now you want him to play wing-back?! For all the things Poch does right this was not one of his better moves.
Of course this error was nothing in comparison to witnessing another Sissoko start. I don’t know if Levy is too proud to admit his mistake or rather if he forces Poch to play him but he simply does not belong on this team, let alone starting. He belongs on the rugby fields or perhaps trying out for the Jacksonville Jaguars next time they come to town but not on a Pochetino Tottenham squad, alongside magicians like Dembele, Eriksen, Alli, and Son. He looks as likely to trip over his own feet as he does over the ball.
Overall the team looked sluggish at times and didn’t have an answer for yet another team who is willing to sit deep and work hard to earn a point against Tottenham. Teams like Chelsea or Dortmund will attack you and it opens up opportunities to counter-attack following turnovers but this team too often looks confused trying to break down a defensive barricade. Too many lateral passes and not enough runs off the ball without the players willing to make direct runs. 75% of the possession, 26 total shots and no goals sum up this frustrating result perfectly. Poch could have brought on Llorente sooner and started feeding crosses into the box with Kane and Llorrente there to use their height as an advantage as they’re both above average attacking the ball in the air. However, with little other “game-changer” options to run out a crossbar and a denied penalty are all we have to show for the match. A match we never really looked capable of exerting our dominance in.
Next up is the Carabao Cup and we can only hope we see all the Winks/KWP/Vorm’s this week and give the starters a rest and a chance to be fresh for the weekend. Give Marcus Edwards a start and let him get some experience at this level, even if it is with a weakened squad in a lesser competition; that’s what these are for! Kane and co have a lot of games this season and I really hope not to see any of them, even for a quick cameo.
Glory Glory, Tottenham
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