Spurs Have Learned Nothing, Apparently

What have we learned from history?

Apparently nothing, nothing apparently

Apparently nothing, nothing apparently

(Young Disciples)

The grass was green, the players lean, their expressions more purposeful than mean but Spurs looked ready. They had something to prove in the first home game of the season, as a unit drilled and instilled in the Pochettino Way, as individuals too. Young men like Mason and Dier, determined to make the most of the responsibility placed at their feet. More experienced players given an opportunity to keep a first-team berth – Davies at left-back, Dembele with a spot to finally show his talents have a place in the set-up. Walker, under pressure now from Trippier at right-back, Alderweireld on his home debut.

By the end, the same old failings. Bright beginnings, earn a lead only to let it slip away with a mistake under pressure just as the game seemed won, by the finish grateful for a point.

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Years ago I wrote a good piece that accurately summarised a match, against Newcastle I think it was. A few paras from the end, I admitted it was cut and pasted from the corresponding fixture the previous season. Nothing changes – I could similarly choose from 50-odd pieces on the blog to sum this one up. Or pick out problems identified in the pre-season preview – a lack of presence in midfield that comes with experience, the two wide forwards set up to attack but unhappy defending, the lack of options up front. All played out before our very eyes – nothing has been done about them. The outcome may not have been a surprise and booing at full-time premature but it’s a sobering start to the season nonetheless.

Seat covered with birdturd – welcome back to White Hart Lane. Being Spurs, they lulled us into a false sense of security. In the sun, it was a busy start with everyone apparently clear about what they should be doing. Mason and Dier were solid in the centre and in front of them the forward 3 of Eriksen, Dembele and Chadli were smoothly interchanging positions. On the right Walker looked to get forward, if not with the ball at his feet then with a late run into space. He reached the byline once but took the soft option and pulled it back twenty yards instead of banging it into the box where danger lurks.

Our work was good even if it much of it was sideways. Credit to Stoke for this – they packed midfield and were hard to break down. Any goal at this point was likely to come from a set piece and Dier it was who was first to a near-post corner to head in. He scored Spurs’ first goal last season too.

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Spurs had all the play, Stoke two good chances, one a header that Lloris saved well, the other when the keeper cleared a ball straight to a Stoke player on the edge of the box. Lloris persistently played the ball out dangerously close to the goal. This is obviously planned – Vertonghen and Alderweireld split either side of the box as soon as Hugo gets it – but it is so easy for the opposition to pressure us despite the latter’s ability to hit a scorching long ball.

After the half hour the game opened up and we went into the break two up. Davies got forward only once, to pick up a ball from Kane. It looked beyond him but not only did he pull it back, he found Chadli at the far post. Earlier the Belgian fluffed his control when clean through, this time his volley was deflected in.

Our best spell came after half-time. With Stoke looking to score, Spurs used the space to develop a few flowing moves. The best ended with Butland saving well from a close-range Kane effort.

Then the errors. Pochettino’s were crucial. He allowed Spurs to drop back and hit on the break. Kane came off – post-match Poch said he was tired, goodness knows what we will do if he is injured – as did Mason, who had a good game in midfield and nearly scored in the first half after a lovely take-down and shot in the box. This gave Stoke the initiative. Our attacks had come from Kane dropping short and team-mates bursting past him. Now that was gone, plus we had no out ball with Chadli at centre-forward. Stoke simply dropped deep to mop up a series of aimlessly drifting long-balls and so they could focus on attack. Lamela and Bentaleb, the two replacements, never picked up the pace of the game. Eriksen was invisible wide left as Stoke poured down our right, a familiar ploy last season against us. Walker had a decent game as did Dembele on the ball but instinctively he drifts in, leaving a gap.

Under not a lot of pressure, Alderweireld committed a foul in the box. After that penalty, Stoke seized control. Vertonghen and Toby were solid with the ball in front of them but we could not deal with a steady flow of inswinging crosses that produced three chances and two fine saves from Hugo before one finally went in.

Mark Hughes clearly had the better of Pochettino tactically. Our manager had a poor game and his chairman has had a poor pre-season. Spurs are a side with top six pretensions and only one striker. It astonishes me even though I have written it so many times. Even Coulthirst, who’s not good enough at this level, has gone out on loan. Kanemania obscures the hideous truth. Welcome Njie, Poch says, yes, he can play up front. No – I want someone with ‘striker’ on his biog. Spurs are a side with top six pretensions and only one striker.

Lamela looked out of his depth. Given a role on the right and a bit of space sometimes, he played at his pace as the game passed him by. No sense of positional discipline or of keeping the ball at a time when clear heads were needed.

Maybe the season really starts once the window shuts. Certainly for Spurs we cannot predict our prospects until we know if we have two more strikers and a central midfielder.

There’s been the usual social media infighting about Bobby Soldado, now mercifully  put out of his misery like a pitpony released from the depths into the green fields above or at least the Spanish sun where he will score the goals that eluded him in his desperate career at Spurs. Rumours that he installed a barn door in his back garden just to prove to himself that he could do it are probably unfounded but never has a striker with such an appalling record been sent on his way with such fond wishes from the supporters.

The reason is that Soldado offered something precious, gold, frankincense and myrrh to supporters – hope. His goals could have transformed the side into genuine contenders. It’s hard to let go of hope and for many their belief remained unshakeable even when confronted by stark reality. It helped that he is a decent, honest bloke. His quote praising the fans for our faith and adding that he was ashamed that he could not deliver was genuinely touching, a rare thing in football these days.

I grumbled toward the end but could not find it in my heart to attack a player who has been scoring goals since he first kicked a football as a toddler and who when instinct failed him therefore had no idea what to do. His form was so wretched, it went beyond anger into sympathy. He had to go, and good luck.

48 thoughts on “Spurs Have Learned Nothing, Apparently

  1. Levy, wake up. This is a warning: the club needs 2 strikers and an experienced central midfielder. By the end of the window Tott will already have lost 10 points due to DL’s last minute ditch on the transfer market. I am actually not sure if he is going to act this year at all. Good luck in the lower half.

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  2. Hi Alan

    Welcome back. It’s déjà vu all over again and it feels like we haven’t been away.

    Perhaps we could just have stock blogs and replies:

    F1 for the underwhelming transfer window
    F2 for throwing away a lead
    F3 for the spanking of a top 4 side followed by
    F4 for the next week’s defeat to a Conference League team
    F5 for a discussion of who the next manager should be once Levy has sacked this one
    F6 for an evaluation of Redknapp as manager…..

    ….. and so on.

    Stoke are a decent team so well done to them. They didn’t give up and deserved the draw.

    Too early for a moan-fest but we really ought to be doing a lot better than this.

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    • Round and round and round we go… It is a sign that key areas have been unresolved despite all the chopping and changing. Worrying in any organisation let alone a football club.

      F7 – away win by fluky goal and everything will be allright again….

      regards, Al

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  3. I don’t know if I’m alone in this, or whether (quite possibly) I’m displaying my ignorance of new and exciting developments in football, but here’s what drives me crazy every time I see it:

    Player A is in midfield, with his back to the goal he is nominally attacking.

    Player B is facing him, further towards his own goal. He pings a hard pass to Player A.

    Player A fails to trap the ball, and chases it several yards towards his own goal. When he finally has it under control, he pings it back hard to player B.

    Repeat.

    Is this what tiki-taka becomes with a team that aren’t technically good enough? Early on in yesterday’s match, this was happening all over, and it does not threaten the opposition. Then, when they started to improve, moving the ball towards the opposition goal instead of sideways or backwards, it stopped happening. Then they scored two goals, could have been more.

    When a hard working opposition team sees them doing that, do they think ‘blimey, it’s bleedin’ Barcelona’ and back off respectfully? In fact, it seems to have the opposite effect. Just a little thing, but it never bodes well.

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    • Mr Teasy Weasy – top class. I am old enough to remember him of course, delighted to find out from wikipedia that he began his career making false beards, presumeably in the days when there was a market for false beards.

      Think the idea of your chosen tactic is to keep the ball moving and keep posession. Eventually an opening will present itself. Your eyes did not deceive you on Saturday – lots of that, lots of endeavour but did we get anywhere? No. Due in large part to Stoke’s refusal to stand back in amazement. Think that tactic is OK if it is the platform for a sudden change of pace, through-ball etc, but we did not come up with that variety very often.

      Regards, Alan

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  4. Being a Spurs fan of long standing, I saw nothing new nor even remotely depressing as I do entertain a simple fact that there are 2 sides playing, not 1? When do you think MP told Toby to cuddle up tight and get close into the Stoke forward? It was a basic human error, but before that both Mason and Dembele had chances to seal the game before the pen, it’s football, and after the summer break and dross I’ve seen on the previous televised games it was so good to be back..of course the result could’ve been better, but hey, it was a good, solid competitive match, with plenty of good football on offer, and after 2 games, I’m happier now than I was towards the tail end of last season by far

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    • Some optimism to lift the spirits, Pete, thank you. Mason and Dembele provided something from midfield, no question, and from my angle I thought Mason had done enough to beat the keeper with his chance.

      In my season preview I stressed the importance of Pochettino getting the team to be more than the sum of its parts. Early days but I was disappointed in that regard with his second half and certainly the feeling that he still does not have enough players of the type he wants.

      Cheers, Alan

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  5. In my mind’s eye (I haven’t trawled through the archives) 2-2 at home to mid and lower table sides is a too common result for Spurs going back decades. What we learn from history is that Spurs learn nothing for history.

    Vertonghen and Alderweireld (and Davies – as most of the dangerous crosses came from Walker’s side it seemed) were worryingly all at sea with admittedly very good, crosses, but we don’t do anywhere near enough to stop the crosses coming in in the first place.

    There was a lot of good (but also confused) movement across the three behind Kane, but they rarely convince me and still Harry doesn’t get the support in and around the area he needs. Indeed he was out most creative player yesterday.

    There were some good periods in the game, however, and I think we will click more consistently as we go along. Nonethelless, given that familiarity with Poch’s system is all, where is the rationale in buying players so late, with little or no time to get used to it? Or maybe he really does see Chadli as a suitable striker alternative! Chadli’s goals are vital for us, but as a player he leaves much to be desired for me attacking and defending.

    Lamela’s inability to et to grips with matches and the league caused me great pain. He was so exciting at Roma and apparently dragged the River side through tough times with strength of character and oodles of talent. He might be next summer’s (or January’s) Soldado.

    On the plus side, I like Mason in the side as he does make good runs beyond the striker. Otherwise we look anaemic. They, Stoke City, ran us ragged for 20 mins at the end there and i was super relieved with a draw at the end.

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    • Agree with all of that, IKAG – and good to see Gilly again at half-time btw. We have to stop those crosses coming in as you say. There were far too many.

      Cheers, Al

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  6. 1. Someone please have some sense and close transfers before the season starts.
    2. Lamela should never play for Spurs again. Sell at whatever price.
    3. If Kane were to be injured we have no replacement. Sign Charlie Austin. Before anyone says he will not come as a sub, he does not have to. There are enough games to go round. At east 70 I would say. Harry played around 50 last time.
    4. Sign Berahino.
    5. Sign Leroy Fer. Dier is doing a good job but what if he were injured? Have a look at Fer’s stats against Schneiderlin’s. Fer is better in may ways.
    6. Do not make silly substitutions. It is worrying that the manger does not know Dele Alli would be a better option than Lamela. Is Poch being told to play Lamela to keep his price up? It is not a good strategy for our results or the price. Must have dropped at least £5 million after that one game, so sell now at the market rate – around £5 million.

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    • How do you fit both Kane and Austin in the same starting line up? Surely a different type of player would be a better option altogether, i’ve nothing against Austin, in fact I’m pleased to see someone from humble origins succeed at the highest level, but IMHO it’ll be another small fortune wasted on just for getting a player in as opposed to getting the right player!

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      • Pete I guess Austin could be the 9 and Kane the 10 as I think Kane can hit a wonderful through ball…though Berahino seems nailed on to come.
        Berahino would help our fluidity while Austin would be a plus against more physical teams.Cant see both though

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        • Big ask RonWol, its a plan I grant you, but it’s one I really can’t see us going for. Kane’s build up and holding play was superb, far better than I ever thought possible, he’s got a better brain than I thought, so yes it could work, but again I think you’ll see Clinton giving us pace on one side, and a little guy where you think Austin would play-if that’s Berahino, so be it, but that’s the option I would go for

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    • Personally I’d have gone for N’Zonzi in the summer before he was snapped up for a relative small fee, but if it were me, I’d go and get Shelvy without hesitation, perhaps not got that silky continental touch, but puts in a shift, hard in the tackle and passes the ball superbly and he’s still young…?

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  7. I am a Spurs fan have been for 40 years , our current manager i feel has not got a clue, just look at yesterday’s subs , at a time we were under extreme pressure, a Sunday morning Manager, could have worked out what to do , not bring on possibly the worst player in the club you could rely on Lamela , a nasty bit of work, always, giving the niggly foul, when he beaten , gives the ball away in bad areas , Harry works well when he , works behind the first striker , picks up loose balls ,very dangerous , so why play him as a target man? Spurs always had high tempo, pressuring teams , not sit back and play games at the back, one mistake bad pass, its all over, Please Spurs wake up a worried fan

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    • Poch has a lot going for him but his judgement was poor, I’m afraid. he has too much faith in some of the players. Lamela cannot play a role where responsibility is the main aspect required, not under pressure at least.

      Best, Alan

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  8. Levy once again shooting us in the foot. He plays the long game with transfers leaving them to the last minute to try and shave a shilling or two off the price. This leaves us under strength and under prepared as new players take time to bed in when they finally sign. By the time they join we are already 4/5 games into the season and 9/10 points adrift. For such a smart business man he really is clueless about what goes on on the pitch. Pochettino is a lemon too. He has seemingly very little tactically nouse and continues to play players out of position. As for Lamela! Fuuuuuuuuuuck Meeeeeee that guy is useless! Biggest waste of money ever. He only gets a game because he’s an Argie like Poch. He shouldn’t even be on the bench. I wish he was sitting on a plane back to Italy. He’s a lazy spineless talentless sack of shit. I’m not sure I’ve ever hated a Spurs’ player more. I’d give him a free transfer, better still cancel his contract and sue him for the transfer fee for fraudulently pretending to be a footballer. I’ve seen better Sunday league players.

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  9. Yes nothing learnt.Same old story,it’s not possession that wins games it’s what you do with the ball when you have it.
    The transfer window has been disappointing because it is quite apparent where our requirements lie.Get two more strikers, a dominant dfm,playmaker and minimum one wide man.Berahino and Austin for sure and why didn’t we move for Cabaye.Lamela will never be good enough and get rid of Ade to the Spammers.
    At this rate I can see Poch gone by the new year.

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    • We shall see how the window turns out. I like Cabaye but I assume he does not put the work in that MP requires. The real issue here is if Poch’s policy blinds him to alternative talents, leaving us with unremarkable men. He’s not short of self-confidence but so far, he’s short of players.
      Regards, Alan

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  10. two sets of comments; one for the first 80 minutes and another for the last 15.

    early, i thought we continue to look more comfortable playing together. attacking players are trying more interplay and seem to be thinking a bit faster in attack. dembele is not ideal on the right but it may be the best place to get him on the pitch and i do think he needs to play for us. a striker-who-likes-to-play-wide would be more ideal but i like that we’re being more flexible this year.

    kane hasn’t scored but his play has been outstanding so far. he’s perhaps our best playmaker and remains a threat to score every time he has the ball. he’s not just a goalscorer and tilts the balance of play our way when he’s on the pitch. i don’t know if he’ll score 30 again this year but he’s an amazing player and a joy to watch.

    another playing out of position but working for now is dier. we should obviously be doing more with this crucial position but to his credit he’s doing a great job. he knows what he’s out there for and doesn’t overextend himself and plays with discipline. my greatest fear is that he plays so well we don’t sign a more experienced replacement.

    at the other ‘pivot’ i much prefer mason over bentaleb. i thought nabil was at fault for the second goal as he loosely marked ireland and i feel like he hasn’t been the same since his contract hold out. he seems to sulk and point a lot rather than work as hard as he did last year. i think mason offers more going forward and when paired with a player like dier, gives us the best balance at central mid. again, a more experienced and established player would make a world of difference but not sure i see a big signing coming a these positions until the stadium is built.

    despite the meltdown yesterday, i feel like we have one of the better back lines in the league. i think we’re comfortably 2 deep at every position and will just keep getting better. i lay the collapse more at the feet of the coach and chairman than the players. this was an important day to get a win and kane and mason should’ve stayed on if they could still walk, especially kane given we didn’t have another striker to replace him with. bentaleb was poor, but taking a striker off was what did us in.

    how long have we ‘needed a striker’? i’m a newish supporter with less than a decade under my belt with spurs but it seems to be a theme. for all daniel levy’s negotiating skills he really does struggle with the high priced goal scorers. he can squeeze an extra million out of a central mid in the last year of his contract but when the prices start soaring on proven goal scorers he seems to freeze up. he doesn’t seem to understand that getting gouged is the price of admission for a player like berahino or benteke or lukaku…. maybe it’s the best business practice but i have to believe that he could’ve change the direction of the club with a couple striker signings at different points over the last 10 years.

    it certainly doesn’t help that the few times we have ‘gone big’ with signing a goal scorer we’ve failed spectacularly with players like soldado and now lamela. if reports are true we’ve signed berahino for £20 million i’ll eat my van der vaart jersey but i just can’t see it. sadly, i’m not convinced we’ll sign anyone to help out kane. same as it ever was..

    sorry for the long rant. it’s been a long summer without spurs. i don’t think i’ve commented here before but this has always been my favorite post game read. alan, you often write what many of us our thinking about the club and have a very clear take on the matches themselves that i find calming in good times and bad. thanks as always and coys!

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    • Rants always welcome if they are as fluent as this and thanks for the kind words about my writing.

      Agree re Kane and this is the problem as well as a boon – for too often on Saturday he was a striker without a playmaker and a playmaker without a striker to play to. He can’t be in both places at the same time.

      Bentaleb is a real talent but he’s not started the season well. Mason was good on Saturday. Probably not a DM, better box to box or more advanced, but the best we have. I’m looking forward to seeing Alli. We need experience in there somewhere.

      Levy has said as much – I gave you all that money and got nothing for it, so why bother. But even without breaking the bank the difference a striker could have made at crucial moments under redknapp and even AVB to lift the team and sustain momentum does not bear thinking about. It could be that targets play for clubs that do not want to sell – or am I being too fair? We’ll see. Levy must respond, he must…

      Regards, Alan

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  11. I thought we played fantastic in the first half Alan.Rarely last season ,if at all, had we seen such a flow to our game.It was all working a dream. Mason surpised me as I had been totally underwhelmed by him.He was in the thick if it. Dier too. Eriksen had a great half too.
    Benteleb was always a strong physical player but I havent been impressed with his distribution. We looked a lot better without him in the first half and when he came on we slowed down and lost any flow.
    I thought Dembeke was strong throughout.Certainly not perfect but worked turelessly and showed elements if class.
    Why Ali wasnt brought on was a shock. If he would have come on instead if Benteleb we nay gave continued the fluidity of the first half.
    Then Lamela.God what a tart. He wastes his time with fluff instead of putting hus heart and soul into the game.He always looks like he is looking for an opportunity for the next rabona.We cant afford such a high maintenence player that thinks Ronaldo but plays like a poodle at the Westminster Dog Show

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      • This N’Jie should take a wing spot and maybe Chadli if we had to and of course there is Pritchard too.
        I think we will be ok.
        I would guess we need to get what 18-20 mil but not sure we can

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      • Thinks Oduwa could have a great season in Glasgow for Rangers. Seen clips of his games.he is 18 and a tremendous player. Youc ans ee in on the Spurs site clips Southend game

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    • Lamela is very talented, there’s a real footballer there but pointless if he can’t show it. He played on our side and looked out of his depth, more of a kid than younger less experienced players. Terrible.

      First half we did well, although a lot went sideways – lack of support for Kane up front. I did not think we would let it slip and I am not the most confident of spectators! Poch in these situations likes to keep an attacking focus in these situations but without a back-up striker, he could not follow this usual course of action.

      Regards, Alan

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  12. I also feel that Levy doing ok.He can only be who he is and is at least building many foundations for Tottenham.
    Joe Lewis had put his faith in Levy and Levy made a mess of the Bale mobey and wasted time but he has steadied the ship,created the training facility,building the stadium and got Poch and Mitchell (of whom both need to make things happen)
    I certainly wasnt happy with Pochs tactics,man management skills and howvhe dealt with piicking captains last season but he does deserve another season.
    Watching tge first half and some if tge preseason gave me hope.
    A couple of signings will be good and I hope Poch deals with Ali and Pritchard with respect in giving them good opportunities to shine

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    • If Levy gets rid of Poch we go back to the manger merry-go-round, and Levy will then be criticised for being trigger happy, so I think you are right. Not just one season, but barring disaster (6th or 7th is not disaster) I would stick with him.

      It baffles me though why he would choose Lame-Ella in from of Alli. This is not good decision-making. Pritchard – why not? In fact, why not any of ur young players or subs in front of someone who has proven time after time that he either cannot play for Spurs or does not want to play for Spurs. Lamela must go.

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    • Levy needs to back his manager. We have been told this is what the board want. I have said on many occasions that levy has been a fool to his own principles – buying two players, three or four better but two would have done, that outlay would have been recouped and more if it gave us two seasons in the CL and/or other success. Football or business – either way it works, yet Levy did not deliver. To be fair – Soldado the fault of his staff not him. Once bitten twice shy?

      Regards, Al

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    • Laugh Ashley,the great state of California would not expect less.
      The first half really was excellent and is cause for optimism.

      And I’m telling you this!!!!! 😊

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      • Yeah, Ron, some good vibrations coming from you, great to hear, I’m with you about the overall optimism…I’m also telling you, it’s hard not to get over any early season stumbles, when you get to interview someone like Lake Bell (wearing mini summer dress, high heeled red pumps and a smile that made me feel, “I give, take me to your leader” this afternoon in the London Hotel off the Sunset Strip. I had gone swimming up at my pal’s private pool in the hills earlier this morning, then sat on the Hotel patio savoring fresh tomato and mozzarella, and fresh cut fruit before chatting with Ms. Bell, and I’m thinking, after all these years supporting Spurs, it just ain’t going to get me down! Good vibrations, indeed, yiddo…and to Alan! 😉

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  13. Wow, what a barrage of comments, Alan.
    A mix of optimism and pessimism.
    I’m somewhere between the two, however.
    The early stages of this season are unfortunately reminding me of the past three seasons under Poch and AVB, and yet I know we now have the players (apart from that desperately needed central playmaker – when will anyone at the club realise we’ve never replaced Modric?! – plus a natural left winger) to generally succeed in both the short and long term. The problem is that Poch still doesn’t know his best team or set-up, and how to blend in seamlessly some players with others. Another problem is that we are continuing to be too narrow, yet we’re not, in turn, pressing that often or high enough up the pitch, as was the mantra.
    So we’re still like this unimaginative possession football team in two thirds or the pitch but with little cutting edge in the final third. We look backwards and sideways too often in our own half too, and then often resort to pumping it long when ideas aren’t forthcoming. We need more width, and a top central playmaker will feed that width, as well as free up Eriksen to work at his creative best behind Kane.
    The more I look at our great club the more confusing it becomes. I do believe in most of the players’ abilities, but they have to be playing in a team that allows them to blend in properly with others, and which utilises their talents and work rate effectively. Take away the Kane and Eriksen contributions last term, along with the often late winners in games, and we’re going to be in big trouble unless we find a team that can play consistently with confidence and without nerves, and can translate dominance into results ..with everyone contributing.
    Tottenham should be playing, as we did in Redknapp’s final term, attractive football, wide football, and expansive football ..and, when necessary, protective football (but not as we are doing, allowing teams to attack us at will when we only have a slim advantage in the final 20 minutes of a game). We have the players in place (almost). Now we just need the manager to show flexibility and a more ruthless side in getting our best team together, and playing without fear.

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    • I think it is baffling, cb. This is what I was referring to in the piece – managers, players, DoFs come and go but we repeat basic errors. Still have the feeling that as you say, Poch is searching not only for his team but for more players to play his way. Shows you how much time we wasted last season.

      And I was having the same thought as you today – if those goals don’t come to save us…. Still, the defence should be stronger, let’s wait for it to bed down and see if we can stop conceding.

      Cheers Alan

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  14. I was at the game yesterday. I have to say we were Ok until Kane and Mason were taken off. Mark Hughes saw an opportunity to nullify pooches substitution by bringing on Steven Ireland and Joselu , then we were under pressure from then on. Walked away from the game in complete shock what I had witnessed 😳

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  15. I don’t blame the players. They can’t help having a dud for a manager. For the second week in a row Pochettino selects ONE specialist striker in his squad of 16. ONE! After the United game I was consoling myself with the fantasy that Poch was sending a message to Levy to pull his finger out. After y’day we know it’s because he hasn’t a clue. I join everyone else at the bewilderment in his game management. Pamela had a poor pre- season yet seems to have some voodoo occult grip on Poch to get the nod ahead of both Alli and Carroll at United and y’day. Eriksen could also have been yanked after he disappeared from action when things got sticky but Poch is very clearly out of his depth in the ways of game management. Hughes showed him how it’s done but we’ll suffer more passive, delayed action before the truth is acted on. None of this is a shock. As the first lines of the season are written we are doomed to watching a season of repeats. A shame really, because the players show signs of how good they might be if let off the leash.

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    • I take a more optimistic view with a doe of scepticism. Poch is our key man, no question. He still does not seem happy with the squad or maybe that’s me. Midfield lacking creatively and when we do not have the ball. Telling quote from Toby – he was not used to defending so many crosses and passes because at Saints Schneiderlin would have stopped them coming in.

      The striker position is absurd. I worry too that Poch puts too much faith in players like Lamela to do a job when manifestly he fails so often.

      In fact, that’s not optimistic at all!

      Regards, Alan

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  16. Start by replacing Walker. Every side we play will make this part of their pre match conversation. “Attack down the Spurs right hand side, even if Walker is goal side, he will be ball watching, and will not get tight” I would be very interested to see what percentage of goals we concede from opposition plays, or mistakes on our part down our right flank. As a ‘supposed’ attacking right back, when was the last time he fired in a decent near, or far post cross. ( think Ben Davies yesterday, or the half dozen crosses that Eric Dier fired in during the last couple of games at the end of last season when he was deputising at right back). We have resolved our left back problems, and now have two interchangeable options in Ben and Danny. Tripper was terrific for Burnley last year, he will defend properly, and get forward when he can. Walker has had his run, he should spend some time in the bench, get his attitude right, and watch how Trippier defends

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    • Totally agree, Richard, Bonzo is feeling Trippier’s pressure, Yes, he made two full blooded challenges (got the ball both times but could’ve been way worse if he’d missed) but as you note, he seriously can’t cross, and his sense of positioning is always off. Ireland ran right by him on second goal, and they were attacking him relentlessly. He just hasn’t developed, I like his enthusiasm but he looks lost. The little I’ve seen of Trippier, let’s get on with it, get him in there…now! MoPo was ballsy with dropping Bentaleb, who seems a little off for some reason? Thing is, can’t see us gelling team-wise until all the new (hopefully) players are in, and till after the international break, so we’re looking at mid to late September. So I won’t be getting my Calvin Klein’s into a twist in the meantime. COYS! 😉

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