Opinion: A downward trend

Image: SpursWeb

Before I start, I just wanted to comment on somebody’s critique of my previous article on SpursWeb.

“I certainly agree with your trenchant views on Pochettino, but am surprised how quickly you’ve come to see the reality of his many flaws (of which favouritism is just one) – weren’t you a ‘Spurs are on the up’ merchant not so long ago?”

If I can quote the economist John Maynard Keynes “When the facts change, I change my mind”. Yes, I was a supporter of Pochettino and did defend him vigorously, but as the team gradually declined (which started last season) and his formations and tactics declined with it I modified my comments to suit the current situation. Of course I had hoped that he would change things around at the beginning of this season by getting rid of old wood and replacing the deadwood (Eriksen being a good example, one of many) with fresh blood, but we’ve got worse.

Somebody said to me, at the game, that Pochettino doesn’t know his best 11, the trouble is, even if he did he would change it for the next match. And it isn’t just about the best 11, but the best favourites that he wants to fit into his thinking, and that logic won’t work.

Alex Furgeson often changed his backroom staff every so many years to freshen things up, Pochettino’s backroom staff are close friends and allies, and thus there is no chance of refreshing anything. I was pleased to see that Lo Celso started, but others were not so fortunate. We see this time after time.

Liverpool, City, Chelsea and Leicester are breaking away, and as things stand at the moment we’ve got a cat in hells chance of catching them up. That will leave the next two places (which we call the wheel of doom, in other words, Europa-Thursday-nights-football which nobody really wants). Granted, I can’t see anybody under the top four strong enough to say that they will occupy the next two places (which might give us hope). Saying that we are only slightly better off and have a better team than those that are at the other end of the table.

We shall win some games, lose others and will see what that adds up to at the end of the season. The FA Cup could be our best chance, but with Pochettino’s attitude to that competition (and the League Cup), only luck will drag him to the final.

Claudio Ranieri, the Chelsea and Leicester Manager, was called the “Tinker man” because he kept changing the team. That nickname has been passed on to Pochettino. The only thing to Ranieri’s credit was that he had won trophies in his role as manager. Pochettino has won sweet f**k-all. In fact, the tinker man (Ranieri) has won 11 trophies as manager (so-far), Pochettino can’t even achieve one, let alone 11.

Last weekend’s 3-0 win over Burnley lifted Sheffield United into the top six – their highest league position since the early 1970’s and five places above last season’s Champions League finalists – that is us – in the standings.

Not only were our visitors defensively organised, but they also created several clear-cut openings from which they should have opened the scoring. Their Lundstram scuffed a low Stevens cross wide from a good position before rifling Jack O’Connell’s cutback against the post with Spurs keeper Paulo Gazzaniga beaten.

After the break, Lys Mousset drilled a low shot inches wide of the far post before McGoldrick’s disallowed strike, which VAR eventually chalked off because Lundstram’s toe was adjudged to have been in front of a Spurs defender’s kneecap. Yes, a bloody toe saved us from being defeated by two goals to one.

There was a lengthy delay as the video replay officials scrutinised the evidence, zooming in and drawing a multitude of lines on the screen, before informing the referee it was no goal, to the delight and relief of us all. But that didn’t stop the booing every time VAR was used. We are supposed to play an hour and a half of football with a few minutes extra time, now a lot more is added on because of the time wasted by this new technology. It is becoming like American football, without the Ads, just VAR taking its place. At least with Ads somebody was making a profit.

Their draw means that Sheffield United are only the third newly-promoted side to avoid defeat in each of their opening six away games in a Premier League season, after Blackburn Rovers (first 8 in 1992-93) and Nottingham Forest (first six in 1994-95). As for us, our tally of 14 points is our lowest after 12 games to a Premier League season since 2008-09 (12).

We also failed to register a single shot on target in the first half of a Premier League game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the first time, and the first in any home league match since January against Man Utd at Wembley.

As the final whistle went, there was nothing to cheer about, only dark thoughts of what could be. The fans cheered and booed in a mixture of frustration and annoyance. There are loyal fans that support Pochettino’s tenure, while others (what seems the majority) want him to go and replaced quickly before the apocalypse comes (ok, that might be a bit harsh… then again!).

Last Season and before, the papers and other clubs were raving about our manager. Yes, the man who has only had three clubs and won nothing with any of them. Do they still want him? Watching now, once the mist has evaporated and the smoke is rinsed out of their eyes, they just might see the real Pochettino behind the smokescreen.

We have now a two-week break, and then we come back to our new home to face Olympiacos, and a few days later we play West Ham (the team that took our virginity, in the League, at our new home last season). The Hammers have had a rickety time this season in the league, which probably means they will do us over.

For those that have Spurs in their blood, we will undoubtedly have an abysmal time ahead. I, personally, can only see dark clouds gathering. How do we change it? The only solution at the moment is let Pochettino go, but Daniel Levy won’t do that as it will cost him (at the same time, keeping him on could be the biggest cost).

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