Two weeks in to the new season and we have just one point on the board. A narrow 1-0 away defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford then a disappointing 2-2 draw at White Hart Lane to Stoke. With Leicester firing out of the blocks, Saturday’s away game looks daunting too. But, on paper before the season started we should have looked at the first three games aiming for at least 6 points out of the possible 9.
Where it hasn’t clicked yet for me is finding the right 11 to start in the Premier League. I know that it’s only been two games but a gaping problem seems to be the centre of midfield. We improved the defence over the summer which was essential as we shipped over 50 goals in the league last year, but to compliment new signings such as Toby Alderweireld and to help the defence, the midfielders in front have to be doing their job sufficiently for 90 minutes. Currently, Eric Dier is playing as the holding midfielder but that has to be a temporary solution. The young star only joined last year, playing the majority of the season in-between his favourited CB position and RB. Dier looks OK in the centre compared to pre-season, but in reality top sides wouldn’t start a CB in a holding position. Jose Mourinho played around with Kurt Zouma last year for Chelsea in a few games, alternating him with Gary Cahill in games where they saw the oppositions strike force as a threat. For example, Harry Kane ran the show in our home win over Chelsea last year but it was flipped on its head in the Capital One Cup final, when Zouma, Cahill and John Terry all started to contain Kane. On that occasion it worked as they picked up a 2-0 win. This is where I think it can only be the logical reason to start Dier as a holding midfielder. You need an established player in the position, who knows and understands the role.
This is where Spurs are lacking. Last year for the vast majority, it was a partnership of Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason. For a while it was exciting seeing two young players from the academy breakthrough to the first team squad and shine. However, personally I felt once Bentaleb left for the African Cup of Nations then returned, it wasn’t the same partnership. They both began to get tired which is acceptable as in reality, they played the majority of games and anyone who filled in for them wasn’t going to match their effort or performance in the side. It was clear then in most Spurs fans eyes that in the summer transfer window, a holding midfielder was a priority but it seems to have gone under the radar as of now. All the talk is about Saido Berahino, with an initial bid being rejected and a new one to be imminently made, according to reports. This is a signing that I would welcome as either a partner to Kane, which is needed for a long season ahead. But, Daniel Levy and Mauricio Pochettino shouldn’t over look the problem that faces us in another area of the pitch.
Sven Bender was touted a few weeks ago as being named a priority signing by a number of different sources. This is a player who I feel would both improve the side in quality, but also in leadership. Bender is an established International with 7 caps to his name, and currently plays for Borussia Dortmund in Germany. The 26 year old currently has 2 years left on his contract and there is no reason why we shouldn’t try and sign the player. Dortmund have added players in the centre of the pitch and even though it may take some convincing, it could possibly be a great signing for us this summer. Bender would fit the bill in someone who sits in front of the back four, can tackle and distribute the ball well. Not only this but, someone who could improve the younger players around him such as Mason, Bentaleb and Dele Alli. With someone who knows the role being a part of the side it allows his partner in the game to go forward and blossom as well as helping the defence out. Alderweireld was interviewed last week and mentioned how last year at Southampton, the important roles that Morgan Schneiderlin and Victor Wanyama played. “At Southampton, Victor Wanyama and Schneiderlin put good pressure on so the opposition didn’t have time to put the ball in the box. It makes it easier for defenders”. This quote alone from Alderweireld highlights how in just two games at Spurs, he can also see where the team can improve.
There is just under two weeks away from the transfer deadline, and by no means am I nervous for the season ahead or disappointed with the window so far. We have cleared nearly all the deadwood in the side, brought in some good players to the team and are working on more deals currently. Let’s just hope that Daniel Levy can accommodate for bringing in what we need desperately, a defensive midfielder!
Have something to tell us about this article?