1. Pochettino’s style will take time.
The new manager demands a lot from his players. First of all there’s the fast but risky, vertical passing game he favours when his side have the ball. Then there’s the team based, high energy pressing when they don’t.
The players were never going to have mastered it by the first game. Once Spurs were down to 10 men, it got even harder. Lamela and Eriksen were guilty of some misplaced passes but that’s understandable.
It will take time and practice. If we can grind out some results in the meantime, so much the better.
2. Soldado appears to be well down the pecking order…
In pre-season Soldado made a strong case for inclusion in the starting eleven. He was brighter, linked well with Lamela and Eriksen, and even scored a goal from open play.
Then, come the first competitive game, he found himself behind a man recovering from Malaria and a youth team player. I still hope Soldado will make it at Spurs but this game has made it seem a little less likely.
3. …and Dawson too.
If there’s one thing that Michael Dawson is good at, it’s heading the ball. Last season he led the Spurs team in aerial duels by a wide margin. So with Vertonghen and Chiriches out, and Sam Allardyce’s West Ham the opponents, it looked like the big defender might get a game. In the end he was overlooked in favour of Eric Dier.
Naughton was then sent off and Dier moved to right back. Surely now was Dawson’s chance? The answer from the boss was a pretty conclusive no.
4. Andros Townsend’s substitution changed the game.
The England winger was direct and full of energy. There have been rumours of Townsend leaving White Hart Lane but this performance proved, he’s just the sort of player that Pochettino likes. Maybe the Argentine coach can even improve Townsend’s still suspect decision making.
5. Lloris saves us again.
The French keeper looked uncharacteristically uncertain at first, as the crosses rained down, but his second half save with Downing clean through kept Tottenham in the game. Dier, Capoue, Townsend and Kane also impressed while Kaboul, Lennon and Adebayor looked a little “rusty”.
6. Youth was given a chance.
Pochettino may not have quite delivered on style just yet but he did deliver on his reputation for giving young players an opportunity. The manager bravely threw 20 year old Eric Dier into the game for his competitive debut and was rewarded with a man of the match performance and a goal.
He also gave Nabil Bentaleb, 19, a surprise start in central midfield. The Algeria international was quieter but equally self-assured.
With substitute appearances from Townsend, Holtby and Kane, the
eleven ten Tottenham players that finished the game had an average age of just 23.3
Spurs got off to a winning, if slightly unconvincing start to the new season, with a 1-0 victory over last year’s bête noire, West Ham. Read my match report here.
Do you agree? What do you make of Spurs this season? Please let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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