After Saturday’s comfortable 4-1 away win at Colchester United, many fans seemed to gloss over the mediocre performance of Nabil Bentaleb.
The Algerian International had an average game next to Tom Carroll in midfield. Playing well against lower league opposition often shows the professionalism of a top side. In recent years Tottenham among several other Premier League teams have slipped up against weaker opposition in the FA Cup. Although yesterday, on the whole, the performance was professional as the players were focused enough to get through to the next round. Although it was not the perfect performance that manager Mauricio Pochettino would have expected. This performance was emulated by the Algerians lack of urgency and the amount of passes that were sent in the direction of his defensive teammates.
Having made the most passes in the game against the League 1 side, with 105, it suggested Bentaleb had a positive and ongoing impact in the game, although I believe he prevented Pochettino’s side from playing at the pace that was used when cutting through the oppositions back line. Despite some unconvincing challenges in the first half Tom Carroll pushed on and always looked forward in the second half, this was rewarded with his impact on the game and his late goal. This performance from Nabil’s midfield partner highlighted the lack of quality in the Algerians performance. The young midfielder is coming back to full fitness but he showed a sloppy side to his game with almost arrogant flicks of the ball that saw him dispossessed. The 21-year old also gave the ball to Eric Dier in a difficult position that led to Colchester’s goal.
Having had a fantastic breakthrough season in the Premier League last year, the Algerian definitely has a lot more to give this Tottenham team. This progression as a player will stem from his attitude as it is well known that manager Mauricio Pochettino is not fond of players with poor attitudes regardless of any talent, highlighted by the recent departure of Andros Townsend. Moving forward the Algerian will have to improve his focus and attitude if he is expecting to gain a place in Tottenham Hotspur’s starting XI.
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