Mauricio Pochettino finally has a big win to his name after nearly seven months in charge of Tottenham, and supporters could not be more delighted. Not only because Spurs beat Chelsea, the odds on favorites to win the league title, in a derby match. Not only because Mourinho, the most delightfully entertaining sore loser in football, was defeated. The most exciting aspect of Spurs’ big victory is that the match was won in true Pochettino style, capping a great run for Tottenham, and starting 2015 in the best possible way.
The Spurs team that took the pitch on Thursday was Pochettino through and through. The starting XI featured five homegrown players, Rose, Kane, Bentaleb, Mason, and Townsend. With the exception of Mason, who has done a fantastic job for Spurs since he ignited his first team career with this stunner again Nottingham but was injured early on in the match, all four youngsters made big contributions to the win. Youth involvement was an integral part to Pochettino’s success at Southampton, and the same strategy is beginning to pay off for him at Tottenham. The Argentine has finally found a preferred midfield pairing of Mason and Bentaleb which looks to be steadily improving, and Moussa Dembele looks to have found some form again and will be a suitable replacement while Mason is injured. Harry Kane has been an absolute revelation and proved that he can thrive as a single striker, meaning the eternally-frustrating Soldado will no longer swindle a starting spot away from a more deserving player. The relentless attacking pressure against Chelsea did mask some defensive struggles, but that is to be expected against a team with perhaps the most potent attack in the Premier League. Overall, the defense has solidified after early season struggles, Fazio is finally finding his feet, and I believe he will be quite well adapted to the English game by the seasons end. The defensive solidity has allowed Poch to give the team more license going forward, which was epitomised by the five goal explosion against the most stingy defense in the league.
This win over Chelsea had a real great feel to it, it was genuine, thorough, and sustainable. As a Tottenham supporter, a steady diet of misery, disappointment and lowered expectations has been the norm over the past few years. But this win has changed that. Pochettino has finally proved he is the bright, forward-thinking manager we expected, rather than AVB 2.0. The recent success has undoubtedly been the result of Pochettino’s management, not an AVB-style run of results, which must have been terribly burdensome to Gareth Bale’s shoulders.
2015 will finally be the year in which Tottenham emerge from the post Bale-Sale Dark Ages. Pochettino has sorted the disaster of a squad, with the correct player set to move on, hopefully in January, and the right players involved in the team. With all surprising teams like West Ham and Southampton involved in the top four battle and Arsenal and Liverpool in all sorts of disarray, 2015 is the year Spurs can finally return to the Champions League.
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