Since I last blogged, after the unhappy reverse against Newcastle, Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs side have been on an excellent run of three victories. It seems like that loss has been the catalyst for an upturn in form. The unbeaten run was impressive but there were far too many draws. Now we’ve finally managed to start turning those draws into wins.
One thing that was noticeable in many of our previous performances was a tendency to go all out in the first half but then tire as the game wore on. Pochettino’s pressing tactics are impossible to keep up for a full 90 minutes, especially when you play several games in a short space of time.
Against Newcastle we dominated the first 45 minutes but were unable to seal the three points, letting them back into the game. Similar performances led to draws against Arsenal, Stoke and West Brom, among others. The last three games have been different. We’ve paced our efforts better, starting less frenetically but not fading towards the end.
Dembele was missing against Newcastle, then returned at Southampton. He has become a key part of the side, showing his strength in winning the midfield battle against former transfer target Victor Wanyama. I have long been critical of the Belgian but even I have to admit he has been one of our stand out performers this season.
Kane’s opener against Southampton was one of his best. Beating two or three defenders before calmly finishing. What a 2015 it’s been for the forward. Far and away the Spurs’ player of the calendar year.
Has there ever been a better Christmas present than the results on Boxing Day? A 3-0 Spurs win at Norwich, combined with a 4-0 humiliation for our north London rivals. It was nice to see us get the goals our domination deserved, along with a goal for another young prospect in Tom Carroll.
However, it was Watford who provided by far the sternest test of the festive period. Their form this season has perhaps been even more surprising than that of Leicester having just come up, changed manager and brought in a whole host of new players.
Pochettino shocked us all by deviating from his normal 4-2-3-1 and moving Dier back into a back three. It made a lot of sense against one of the few sides in the Premier League who play two up front, especially given the form and physicality of Deeney and Ighalo. The tactic worked well, apart from a brief slip up for the Watford goal.
The formation also gave Trippier a chance to shine for the first time this season. Given more freedom by the extra defensive cover, he played as a virtual right winger and made some decent crosses, including the assist for the winner.
It was a great finish from Son, who can count himself unlucky to have to make do with appearances from the bench. This is largely because of the form of Ali and Lamela. The energy they show both on and off the ball makes the team tick up front. Ali makes some great runs past the ball carrier, something we were maybe missing last year, while Lamela is adept at running with the ball at a retreating defence, as we saw with the first goal at Watford.
Everton up next. Let’s hope Spurs can continue their excellent form into the new year.
Who have been your standout performers over the Christmas period? Where can Spurs go from here? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section below.