First Game – Manchester United away, the more you thought about it, the better it sounded. We needed to challenge ourselves, and knowing Tottenham, we needed to be woken up, and that is just what happened.
The positives are obvious to most fans, we didn’t collapse and resign to the traditional 3+ goals against one of the title challengers. We did create chances. This meant Kane and co were on form, which was needed because until we bring in some players we are severely lacking in central midfield and upfront.
The final major positive has to be the lack of Kaboul and Chiriches! We have the makings of a centre back pairing that wont be laughed at by rival fans. Toby Alderweireld is a good signing, for the first time since we signed Christian Eriksen, I am genuinely excited by a Tottenham signing, he is a vastly superior CB than 90% of the CB’s we have had at the club for the past 3 seasons. He has pace and composure and we are all hoping he will bring the best out of Jan, something we have only really seen in his debut season at the Lane.
On the other hand, Kyle Walker still isn’t looking the player he was the season before last. He had apologised in the media and admitted he needs to improve in pre season, but based on this United game alone, he hasn’t performed to level we know he can. I am not talking about the own goal, that goal was a combination of a poor Bentaleb pass and Ben Davies being unable to get back into position. The difference is he is lacking in confidence going forward, and his decision making seems to be poor. It reminds me of the way Danny Rose was playing a year or so ago, when he defended by either jumping in with a big challenge, and often ending up with a yellow, or standing off and allowing a dangerous shot or cross to take place.
Also, the midfield was an issue, I am open to Pochettino trying Dier in midfield if he truly believes he can make it there, but I think every fan can see Pochettino is just desperately short in midfield and is having to rely on a confident ball playing CB. He isn’t Tottenham’s future CDM so I think we need to act fast in the transfer window to address this issue.
Currently in our holding CM positions, we have one underachieving Belgian, Mousa Dembele, who has all it takes to be world class but rarely turns up; one young exciting CDM in Bentaleb, and a criminally average English midfielder, Ryan Mason. Realistically Dele Alli isn’t ready to be starting regularly in our first XI, and I feel Tom Carroll does not have the physicality to make it in the Premier League. Now! That does sound rather negative, BUT we have strength in our defense and creative midfield, our main issue is the central midfield that is the anchor in the 4-2-3-1 formation that Pochettino promotes. I have every faith Nabil Bentaleb will grow into a top midfielder for Tottenham Hotspur; Ryan, Mousa, Deli and Tom will continue to compete for the other position but I feel what Pochettino needs to do is go and buy a quality CM, someone like Joao Moutinho, Asier Illariamendi or a player of that ilk to play alongside Nabil to allow him to grow.
Second Game – Tottenham 2 – Stoke 2
First of all! Roberto Soldado has been sold, which as much as it gutting to admit defeat, he had to go, I just hope Captain Mercenary ( Adebayor) follows him soon! Clinton Njie has signed today which was a much needed recruitment. He is relatively unknown player to most fans, but I have heard good things, he has much needed pace and flexibility in forward positions, which will hopefully reduce the pressure on Kane. Lets hope for Berahino in the coming days as well, who will add another dimension ( a word that may still haunt spurs fans from the AVB days) to our attack if we choose to play with two strikers.
Yesterday’s game lived up to the cliche of “a game of two halves”. I just watched some of the game on sky, we looked composed and in control for 50 minutes. We were not clinical enough to kill off Stoke with a third goal, we sat on our laurels. After games like this I question Dembele and Lamela among others as they are the players who don’t dig in, or produce a moment of real quality. Harry Kane fights for the club, Hugo does, alongside many of our players who came through the academy, we have a few players who need to dig in and fight for their club, after all that’s what fans expect as a minimum.
The most sad thing was how grimly predictable the equaliser was after we conceded the penalty, the soft centre of Tottenam is being exposed again, this needs to change by adding some ‘steel’ and experience. I look at Gokhan Inler going to Leicester and think he is an international captain with a lot of experience playing for a strong Italian side; who could help our relatively inexperianced midfielders grow. Maybe it is time Pochettino broke the mould with his transfer policy, just to buy one older more experienced midfielder to aid the younger plays as they start their careers?
Looking forward, if Pochettino can add a ruthless streak to our play alongside a stronger centre midfield pairing, I believe we can push on to compete for a top 4 position. Leicester away next, bring it on!
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