Tottenham Hotspur continued their unbeaten start to the new Premier League season this evening with a 2-0 win over Nottingham Forest.
Let’s take a look at the five things we learned from the game:
Midfield battle – A common theme of every Tottenham game this season has been a slow first 45 minutes in which Spurs are overrun in midfield. Forest packed the middle of the pitch today and, as a result, won the vast majority of the second balls. Of course, you sacrifice the midfield battle sometimes when you play with wing-backs, but Spurs struggled to get anything going in the first half. Conte may need to work on some in-game plans to bypass that as he gets more time with his squad. I would say you can afford not to win the midfield battle every week, but you can’t afford to lose it every week if you want to be consistent.
Djed Spence reward – Djed Spence may have only been on the bench this week because of injuries to Skipp, Romero, Moura, and Gil, but the fact Conte actually decided to give him minutes is an encouraging sign. Conte isn’t the type of manager to hand out minutes for free, even if it was against Spence’s former side. So it must be an indication that Spence is impressing in training.
Harry Kane penalty record – After 22 penalties in a row for Spurs without a miss (TransferMarkt), Harry Kane saw his spot-kick saved by England teammate Dean Henderson. I’ve been saying for a good while now that Kane is due a miss, and the fact it came in a match where Spurs won and Kane scored twice is as good as you can hope for. With Harry, you just know it won’t affect his next one at all either.
Up to third – Tottenham are now third in the Premier League table, only behind Man City in second due to goal difference and just two points below Arsenal in first. Considering Spurs have already played away at Chelsea, that is a very impressive start to the season. Of course, you can only really start to look at the Premier League table around the new year mark though.
Room for improvement – I think my major takeaway from the start of the season has been that Spurs have picked up 10 points from 12 without playing anywhere near their best. We have been pretty woeful in the first 45 minutes of most games, and below our best across the 90 minutes of some. Once Tottenham get into their stride, the new signings increase their fitness, and the form improves, I’m really excited to see the kind of level this squad can reach.
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