Two Spurs home wins in five days have improved the mood after the demoralising loss at Palace.
In the league game against Sunderland, Spurs ran out 2-1 winners with a last minute goal yet again. As habits go it’s not a bad one to have.
Unlike previous dramatic late victories this felt a little different as Tottenham dominated the match and fully deserved the three points. 65% possession and, maybe more pertinently, 25 shots to 8 tells its own story.
We also easily won the tackle count, 21 to 13, despite having so much of the ball – an indication that Pochettino has instilled a hunger to win possession back as soon as possible.
The League Cup win was less impressive. Pochettino played a strong team, even including Eriksen and Kane. Some fans were hoping for a hat-full of goals to enable us to rest players for the return leg but against a well organised Sheffield United team that was always unlikely.
At least we did score and the one goal advantage will force our opponents to open up a little in the return leg which should suit us more.
For both games, Mauricio Pochettino made a change to his recent line-up, moving Kane back to play off a target man, and consequently pushing Eriksen out wide. It didn’t seem to quite work – with Soldado playing up top, or with the returning Adebayor.
Much has been made of Kane being more of a number 10 than a number 9, but for me, in Pochettino’s system, Kane is the perfect front man. He can play as a target man but, rather like Lambert at Southampton, also has the skill to drop back for the ball, pull defenders out of position and play through balls to runners from midfield.
I don’t see Adebayor or Soldado having the energy or the guile to match him.
One interesting statistic about Tottenham this year is the high percentage of shots we have taken from outside the penalty box – second only to Everton in the division with 52%.
This may partly be a function of the number of teams that have set out to defend deep against us, particularly at White Hart Lane. However, we don’t seem to be able to play the sort of incisive through balls that are a feature of some of the top sides.
On a positive note, this may also reflect a tactic Pochettino has used to great effect. Spurs often try to get the ball forward as quickly as possible down the flanks, then feed it inside to Eriksen or Kane on the edge of the area for them to take snap shots. The winner at Sunderland came from just such a move and there have been many other examples.
Vertonghen has been so much better this season. The piece of skill he used to make room for the shot that led to our first goal against Sunderland underlines his class. It’s a surprise he doesn’t get more goals. Or maybe not with disgraceful refereeing decisions like the one that chalked off his second.
Dier has looked much more comfortable in the centre of defence than he did at right back. Fazio has forged a good partnership with Vertonghen in recent games but I see the young English defender as the future. As well as being a useful aerial presence, as his two headers on goal in midweek demonstrate, he has a reasonable turn of pace unlike the Argentine and ultimately that should tell.
In the league game Stambouli topped the tackle count with an impressive 7, also making the most passes. The French midfielder had his best game in a Spurs shirt and this performance should have put him above Capoue, Dembele and Paulinho in the pecking order.
Neither Adebayor, nor Soldado did a lot, although the latter did win the penalty that ultimately gave us the win in midweek. I still think Spurs need another option up front but we may have to wait until the summer to get the player we want. Until then we just have to hope one of the misfiring pair steps up to the plate.
What do you think of our Spurs victories? Let me know your opinions in the comments below.