Some belated thoughts on last weekend’s game against Stoke, the transfer window and this weekend’s trip to Leicester –
- 2-0 and cruising at half-time, it was a tough way to draw a game. There were positives in attack, especially the forward passing and runs in behind Stoke but some of the same old defensive problems resurfaced.
- The Vertonghen / Alderweireld centre back partnership wasn’t quite as solid this time out. Alderweireld gave away a silly penalty – although it seemed a very soft one. We allowed Diouf several chances from crosses. For all their ability on the ground, is there some weakness in the air?
- Alderweireld’s passing has become a key feature of this year’s Spurs team. Against Stoke he made more passes then anyone apart from Dembele (61) and played twice as many long balls as the next highest outfield player (14 vs 7).
- Mark Hughes must be grudgingly commended on the changes he’s made at Stoke. There can’t be many times Spurs have led Stoke in Aerial Success (57% to 43%) and long balls (75 to 47) but lost out to them on Pass Success (80% to 82%).
- Harry Kane was the only striker in the matchday squad. We can’t rely on him to carry us all season. Once he went off we were a much less effective side. He hadn’t even played that well missing a great chance to make it 3-0. For all his qualities, Nacer Chadli doesn’t have the instincts to play the role. We need at least one other player who can lead the line or it’s going to be a long season.
- Finally, after a two year wait, we have signed an attacking player! Clinton N’Jie joined Tottenham this qeek. I have to admit, I don’t watch a lot of Ligue 1 football but the descriptions of him I’ve read are promising. Spurs have been crying out for some pace up front since a certain Welshman left and the ability to stretch the play vertically and perhaps provide some width should open up spaces for some of our other creative talents. The fact that he can play wide or as a forward may even offer us some cover for Kane.
- Now we have a raw, pacey forward player in N’Jie, Berahino is less of a necessity. Pochettino may look more for a direct Harry Kane backup. Someone willing to play second fiddle to the great man. Maybe Charlie Austin could be a good fit?
- It’s maybe unfair to judge from one game but the central midfield partnership of Dier-Mason gave us more going forward but less solidity than Dier-Bentaleb. Mason leaves a lot of holes that put pressure on our defenders but he does drive us forward.
- We could have really done with an experienced holding player in the second half here to shield the defence and help us control the game. The rumours about Bender seem to have gone quiet. Wanyama sounds the most likely candidate and I wouldn’t be too unhappy if he became the first in a long list of Southampton players linked with Spurs, to actually make it to White Hart Lane.
- Levy has left it late in the transfer window again. It may secure the best deals financially but it must severely disrupt the manager’s early season planning, not to mention the valuable points we lose in the first month of the season.
- Pochettino’s men visit second in the table Leicester City this weekend. If you include their fantastic end to last season, the foxes have had an incredible run of results. They have only lost to Chelsea in their last 11 league fixtures. The game before that run started? A 4-3 Spurs victory.
Prediction: Leicester 1 Spurs 2 – No clean sheet but a first win of the new season.
What did you think of Spurs’ start to the season? Do you think we’ll beat Leicester? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.