Four lessons we learned from the West Brom defeat

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Image: SpursWeb

1)      Pochettino needs a long time to turn this team around

When Mauricio Pochettino was appointed as Tottenham manager, he was bringing his reputation from his 18-month reign with Southampton. He turned a relegation-bound Saints into a Europa League quality team. His famous high-pressing style suited the young and energetic core of Southampton and it looked like he was going fit in at Tottenham just fine. However, this is Tottenham we are talking about. With all the talent on the squad, there are also a huge number of problems. It seemed like there is a problem with every single position on the team except the goalkeeper, defensive midfielder and attacking midfielder positions. The defence is shaky; there is no creativity from the midfield, no useful wing play and a strong and consistent striker. With all these problems, it is not a surprise that Tottenham gets a few odd defeats here and there but Daniel Levy should not ignore these problems with the team and give Pochettino time. It is going to surprise a lot of people what 18 months can do to a team.

2)      The forward four needs to be changed

After 5 Premier League games, it looks like Pochettino’s favourite top 4 is Chadli-Eriksen-Lamela-Adebayor. However, this top 4 only looked effective against QPR and Sunderland. Against formidable opponents and against easier opponents that will park the bus at the Lane, Tottenham will need a new top 4 that can provide a little bit of everything. Chadli and Lamela both like to cut inside crowd up the midfield rather than put crosses in the box. Add central attacking mid Eriksen and a wandering and drifting Adebayor to the mix, and Spurs cannot make 3 passes in that crowded attacking third. What Spurs need is an effective wing player to replace Chadli. A good winger who can put decent crosses into the box will make Adebayor stay in the box and give Lamela and Eriksen space to operate freely in that central area. Pochettino can try Townsend and Lennon but both players haven’t produced a single decent outing yet. If the Argentine manager still can’t get anything out of those two until the January transfer window, a winger should be a priority for Daniel Levy.

3)      Tottenham’s top need is a deep-lying playmaker, not a striker

However, the top priority in January should be a deep lying playmaker. Tottenham cannot keep playing the way they do and expect winning games easily. Without a creative player who can produce sharp and incisive passes from the midfield area, all the responsibility falls to Eriksen and Lamela who have to drop deep to collect the ball and that kills their effectiveness up front.  Look at all the teams Tottenham are competing against to get into top 4 this season. Chelsea has Fabregas, Manchester City has Yaya Toure, Arsenal has Wilshere and Ramsey, Liverpool has Gerrard and Henderson, Manchester United has Blind and Herrera. Even Everton has Barry to do that job. All Tottenham have is Dembele who cannot do that job to save his life. Capoue, Stambouli and Bentaleb are all defensive minded players. Paulinho should be that man but even though he has the athletic abilities to do that job, he doesn’t have the vision and passing ability to do so. Tottenham should immediately go for a deep lying playmaker in January or this season is not going to get much better for Pochettino.

4)      Top four dream is still on, but not for long

Tottenham has started the season really badly under new manager Pochettino and the Champions League dream started to slip away already. However, the top 4 rivals of Tottenham this season also started the season terribly for the relief of Spurs fans. Liverpool lost 3 out of their 5 games, Manchester United lost 2 and drew in 2 games and Everton lost 1 and drew in 2 games this season. That means that even though Spurs have lost 2 and drew in 1 game so far, they are still in touching distance with the top 4. However, it is safe to assume that all the teams I have counted are going to get better as the season goes on and to keep up with these teams, Tottenham have to improve and improve soon. If not, we might see Spurs even below teams like Swansea and Southampton.

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