- 1. Slow starts are becoming a bad habit
Starting slowly has become a feature of Sherwood’s reign at White Hart Lane. Tottenham have conceded the first goal in our last 8 games. Our aggregate score for the first 15 minutes in Premier League matches this season is a staggering 0 – 9.
Taking the initiative early on is key, especially against the better teams in the division. Spirited comebacks against the likes of West Brom are all well and good, but we should be winning those kind of games comfortably.
There has to be a problem in Sherwood’s planning and preparation. AVB was widely mocked for his famous “dossiers” but maybe our current coach could learn a little from his approach.
- 2. Paulinho and Chadli is not a strong enough central midfield
It may have worked against Sunderland at home, but that’s about the easiest game you’ll get in the Premier League. A two man central midfield of Paulinho – who’s an energetic but not that disciplined box-to-box player – and Chadli – who, despite his physique is a winger – doesn’t work against a better team, especially away. To be fair to the manager, he wasn’t left with many options, with Sandro, Capoue and Dembele all out.
- 3. Another promising performance from Harry Kane
The young Spurs striker has had a tough start to his Tottenham career, spending the last three seasons out on loan. After promising stints in the lower divisions at Leyton Orient, Millwall and Leicester, and a disappointing spell at Norwich in the Premier League, it was time to prove himself in the Tottenham first team. With Soldado injured, he was finally given an opportunity, and so far he has taken it.
Prior to this season Kane had made six appearance for the first team, all in the 2011-2012 Europa League, as Harry Redknapp looked to rest players. He finally made his first League start against Sunderland, scoring a goal and creating one. Against West Brom he was the one plus point in an awful first half. He got into dangerous positions and fed the ball to Aaron Lennon for our first goal. In the second half Kane added another goal and his overall contribution made him the WhoScored.com man of the match.
Redknapp deployed him as a target man. The move to more of a number 10 role seems to have brought out the best in him. Let’s hope he gets more games and pushes on from here.
- 4. Youth gets it’s chance
In addition to Harry Kane (20), Christian Eriksen was another player who stood out at the weekend. He scored the last gasp equaliser, continuing his great run of attacking form. His defensive contribution was less praiseworthy, but that’s partly because of the tactics employed. The Dane is a strong candidate for Spurs’ player of the season.
Eriksen is only 22. Bentaleb is even younger at 19. Fryers, who came on and shored up our defence, is 21. With nothing much to play for and only a handful of games left, now is a good time to give younger players an opportunity. With the injury problems we have in central midfield, I would liked to have seen Veljkovic given a chance too.
- 5. Chiriches had “a shocker”, but still has great potential
It’s fair to say Vald Chiriches did not have his best game at the Hawthorns. So much so that he was substituted at half time for Zeki Fryers. It would be unfair to single him out, our whole defence had a bad day and I actually thought Rose was much worse than him.
The defender is a little rough around the edges, just as you would expect from someone making the step up from Romanian football to the Premier League. He has all the tools necessary to become a great centre back, he just needs a little bit of extra coaching and experience at this level.
One interesting statistic is his pass accuracy. He’s second out of the entire Tottenham squad with 89%. No other defender makes the top 10. The next best centre back is Vertonghen in 13th with 82.9%, Dawson is 17th with 82.1%. I realise statistics can be misleading – these could all be 5 metre passes sideways – nevertheless, it’s an interesting one.
The top ranking Spurs players this season by pass percentage (Note: Veljkovic has only made 1 substitute appearance):
|1st||Mousa Dembélé||90.9 %|
|2nd||Vlad Chiriches||89.0 %|
|3rd||Nabil Bentaleb||87.6 %|
|4th||Milos Veljkovic||85.7 %|
|5th||Nacer Chadli||85.1 %|
- 6. Left hand side is our weak spot
If you are a regular reader of this blog, you’ll know I don’t rate Danny Rose particularly highly. He is often out of position, too lightweight and isn’t even that great going forward. In my opinion, Spurs should replace him with Fryers for the remainder of the season, and make an experienced left back our top transfer priority.
Knowing his limitations, you would think any coach worth his salt would put a player in front of him who can cover defensively, or at least one who is disciplined enough to stay on the left and provide an extra body. So why does Sherwood persist in playing Eriksen there?
You can argue that Eriksen has more space coming in from the left rather starting centrally (I don’t agree with this analysis either), but surely anyone can see it leaves us horribly open at the back? Even Match of the Day have noticed for goodness sake.
Do you agree? Please leave your comments in the section below.