Since we’ve arrived at the first point of salvation in the Premier League season already, with summer seeping away, now is the perfect time to evaluate our rather classically ‘spursy’ start to the season, as well as reflect upon our transfer business.
On the football front we’ve had a mixed bag; a disjointed performance, albeit with ten men, on the opening day away a West Ham heralded a dramatic last gasp win. Perhaps many, in the excitement of this moment and the excuse of the red card, got carried away. Frankly, I thought we were poor against West Ham in most areas, with the exception of Eric Dier. Our last minute winners over them have become quite the thing in recent history (Stalteri, Bale); and in this case- it happened again (Ha).
Off the back of that win came a solid result in Cyprus with good goals from Kane and Soldado coupled with an impact sub performance from Lamela. Good signs indeed, despite the fact they may as well be a pub team. We then finished them off the following Thursday.
So to QPR at home; where, despite the lacklustre performance of Redknapp’s charges, we were excellent. You could feel expectation and excitement rising, even just with this one performance. High tempo, pressing, quality and style. Quite the Tottenham way. Evident was the philosophy of Pochettino in this one match alone- more of the same please!
But no. In a classically Spurs way we dropped back to earth with a thud. Amid hopes of revenge against Liverpool, we froze- just like last season. We didn’t come to terms with their movement and were a mess defensively. Moreover, going forward we played slow and sideways. Having said that, both Adebayor and Chadli were presented with golden opportunities. There was no creativity nor excitement, but more worryingly, we lacked confidence and belief; still harbouring the scars from implosion after implosion last season. Strangely, our pressing game, which had been so impressive the week before, was non-existent. I very much doubt this was Pochettino’s intention, more a failure of the team to carry out his instructions. Nevertheless most concerning, was the fact that in uniform with last season, all of the goals conceded were entirely avoidable, down to sleepy defending or just plain stupidity. Same old Tottenham.
Anyhow, at least this season there is a beacon of hope. The Pochettino plan is only in its infancy. I don’t envisage us struggling against ‘lesser teams’. It’s against the big teams that we fans wish to see a change though. Hopefully, by the time we play Arsenal on the last weekend of September, some of our problems will be better hidden, or even solved. If we can really develop into the mould of team the manager wants us to become, we can be very effective and very good. Top four? Maybe not this year. This evolution will take time- we need to appreciate that. Being Spurs though, I’m sure we’ll get carried away after a few good results, just as many did pre-Liverpool.
Meanwhile, on the transfer front- I think we’ve had a good, underplayed window. I’ve seen and spoke to many fans of the opinion we’ve had a wholly uninspiring window. I can see where they’re coming from but we’ve addressed and improved key positions- whilst shredding some deadwood. Dier has looked very good, bar one mistake against Liverpool, and in his secondary position at right back. Davies, also has played well in Europe and I believe it’s only a matter of time before he takes Rose’s starting spot in the league. Clever man-management from Pochettino in my eyes. Fazio and Vorm represent good value for money and strengthening in important positions. Yedlin, if the world cup is anything to go by, is a cheap backup but one with the same qualities as Walker. This should signal the end for Kyle Naughton (alleluia!), when Yedlin eventually joins. Finally, Stambouli- someone I’ve seen little of, but given the large price Southampton were asking for Schneiderlin, he seems like the next best and most similar player but we can’t judge him yet.
Despite all these incomings, the departures of Livermore, Falque, Sigurdsson, Dawson, Sandro and Fryers, on permanent deals, signals a summer of profit, coupled with increased squad depth and greater quality. What’s not to like? Yes there is no big name signing, and in an ideal world we’d have probably taken another striker- even Welbeck, and possibly a left inside forward; such as Rodriguez- I believe we’ll go back for him in January though, when his rehab is further advanced.
I guess as Spurs fans we’ll never be happy though. Same old us, there’s always a tinge of disappointment. I hope and think Pochettino has signed on character as well as ability. We need leaders, and who knows- we may have got a few. We needed a clear-out; our squad was going stale. New blood, fresh faces can do the world of good- even if they’re not instantly recognisable, or necessarily the best. Admittedly, they didn’t last season but let’s hope we’ve learnt our lessons.
We’ve been shrewd this summer, I believe, but only time will tell. Up the Spurs.
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