Vlad-y Awful

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy


We frequently criticise players who make one silly mistake which costs us points.

The goalkeeper who lets the ball slip through his legs. The defender who loses an opposing forward in the box allowing a free header. The full back who allows himself to be turned too easily presenting his winger with a perfect chance. The midfielder who gets caught in possession or who´s pass goes astray leaving the opposition with a free run on goal. The striker who misses a sitter.

We have all criticised such one off mistakes, especially when they cost us the game. But provided it is a one-off can we really be too critical.

So can we forgive Vlad Chiriches for the handball which gifted Besiktas the penalty?

If it had been his only error on the night quite possibly.

But it wasn´t – it was just the last in a long line of errors which started as early as the first minute, when his first pass went straight to an opponent and the ball was fed forward creating a goal scoring chance.

Between those two events he was a disaster not just waiting to happen, but actually happening on the pitch. He was turned, bullied, caught in possession, turning possession over to the opposition all too frequently. In fact of the “silly mistakes” quoted the only one he was not culpable of was missing a sitter, but had he been presented with one he probably would have missed it.

Players do make mistakes, sometimes they are costly, most of the time they are not, we just have to hope they do not occur too often.

Last night Chiriches was making mistake after mistake after mistake and it was only a truly amazing display of goalkeeping from Lloris that prevented Besiktas from notching up a hugely impressive scoreline.

When he signed for us he was captain of his national team and talk was that he could be a future captain of Spurs. Now he is Captain Calamity.

By contrast Lloris still is captain of his national team but he is Captain Fantastic – leading by example, providing a masterclass in the science of goalkeeping, getting his angles right, his positioning superb and his ball handling exquisite. At the end he was bamboozled by Ba´s antics in his run up for the penalty but we cannot blame him for that.

We can however place the blame at the feet of Chiriches.

I cannot see how he can be anywhere near the squad for the match this coming weekend and hopefully he will join up with his international colleagues next week, reflect on his awful performance, and come back intent on making amends. Whether he is ever given that opportunity remains to be seen as I can see him being shown the exit as soon as the next transfer window opens.

So this weekend we welcome Pochettino´s old team – Southampton.

They are on a roll at the moment, punching way above their weight, having lost a host of “star” names including their Manager, but replacing them with very impressive replacements. They seem to have invested wisely – afterall they got absolute top dollar for the likes of Shaw and Lallana –having bought from the bargain basement without affecting the shape and tempo of the team.

That tempo was very much part of the Pochettino philosophy, something we have yet to see in the Spurs team this season – QPR apart – and I still feel that his demands on the training pitch may have something to do with this.

Whereas Southampton players used to give glowing reports about their Manager and his methods, the cracks in this facade have begun to appear with James Prowse Ward seemingly criticising the training regime and suggesting that Koeman´s approach is so much better.

Does Pochettino demand too much from his players during the week to the extent that they do not have time to recover, to recuperate and therefore are still tired and weary when they step onto the pitch.

I hope I am wrong.

I hope that soon his methods will bear fruit.

I hope that we will see the real Spurs very soon, otherwise Pochettino may very soon follow AVB and Tim Sherwood into the ranks of the temporary unemployed.

After this match we have a two week break and virtually every one of the squad will be jetting off somewhere so if Pochttino is to get things right, it has to be now, it has to be this weekend.

We all know the majority of the team that Pochettino will select.

Lloris will start, Vertonghen and Kaboul will be in the heart of defence. In the absence of Walker and possibly even Rose, he will need to rely on Naughton and Davies.

In midfield it looks likely that Mason will get the nod again over Bentaleb, Dembele, Stambouli and Paulinho to play alongside Capoue who is developing into the excellent central midfield enforcer. Lamella, Eriksen and Chadli currently have no equals in the squad – the performances of their understudies in midweek have not been good enough to warrant them being in danger of being dropped.

So the only real issue – yet again – is who to play up top.

Adebayor has been preferred in every League game but has not delivered. Some of his performances have been okay – he was impressive for half an hour against Sunderland – but mostly he has struggled, as has Soldado.

So could we see a rare Premier League start for the Hurri-Kane – yet again scoring a fine goal to make him our equal top scorer in all competitions this season. Not only is he scoring goals so his confidence is high but his work rate and effort is undeniable – something sadly lacking from the other two.

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