The Day The Light In Dier’s Eyes Went Out

Kyle Walker takes a throw-in towards the end of the match in front of the Shelf. Whatever his faults, he always finds some energy if Spurs are chasing the game late on. Eric Dier is in front of me, in space, about 10 yards away from the thrower, but the midfielder is looking at the ground. His eyes are weary, his expression pained. He doesn’t want the ball. Despite his relative youth and inexperience, all season his broad shoulders have carried the weight of expectation and the burden of performing in the clatter and clutter of a Premier League midfield. Such is the fierce strength of Dier’s intensity, when he came near the Shelf you could almost warm your hands by it. Here it had become a guttering candle. Eric Dier had reached his limit.

I’m not blaming Dier for the defeat against Newcastle. He did not have a good game but that can be said for half the team and after all, his near post header from a first-half corner put Spurs ahead. Anyway, after what he’s put in lately, I’d forgive him anything. But this apparently insignificant scratch to the veneer of Spurs’ polished season summed up the team’s performance in a nutshell.

Newcastle forced their way back into the match, repeatedly slicing through our midfield with a series of fast, direct counters. In a five-minute period, four last-ditch tackles denied clear goal opportunities, two by Alderweireld, one by Rose and one by Vertonghen. The game was turned on its head after Tottenham’s first half superiority.

This was the moment when Spurs ran out of steam. Tired legs and tired minds, exhausted by the strain of relentless decision-taking and the pressure of being really quite good. When the legs give out, it’s usually because the mind has gone first. The pressing game requires countless by-the-second decision-taking – where should I be, where is everyone else, do I go or sit tight? That’s before you get the ball and switch instantly into attack and create mode, let alone think about moving into the top four with a win. You could almost hear the rush of the wind as the season caught up with us.

You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone. Since August wave after wave of opposition attacks have foundered on the rock that is Eric Dier. The magnificence of his contribution showed up in stark relief by its absence. A couple of weeks ago I described Dembele as the most influential midfielder in the league right now. My goodness me how we missed him, not just his strength or touch but also the way what he does makes the team so much better. He holds to give others a precious second or two to get into place, his barrel chest a counterpoint to Alli’s lithe skills, Kane’s touch and intelligence, Eriksen’s movement. He makes us better.

This season I’ve frequently used the word ‘drive’ to describe the big difference in midfield when we have possession. Dembele, Mason and Alli look to get the ball forward, to make something happen, to impart impetus into our tempo. Yesterday, we had too many players who did not make their mark on the game. I like Tom Carroll, the way he scurries around, always makes himself available and looks to pass early and forward. His ball inside the full-back for Rose in the first half was typical, that exaggerated body position, the care and precision of the pass. Yet as the game went on he made no difference and was substituted into anonymity.

They all faded. Alli full of flicks – ‘I won’t bother breaking my stride, I’ll just volley this pass 20 yards to Kyle over there’ – but little influence. Eriksen too, Kane not in the game enough although he had a couple of decent shots. Lamela’s EL hat-trick against Monaco was fun, the third was particularly sweet. Yesterday he drifted infield where on Thursday with more room he was so effective, here he became clogged up with the others as Newcastle cut down the space. Time and again our one-twos were easily blocked and we passed through gaps that didn’t exist. Width would have helped but we never did anywhere near enough to shift the Newcastle defence out of position.

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Fans were muttering darkly about this return to the Spurs we know and love, always doomed to fail just as we think we might have turned a corner. In reality this failure points up how consistently well we’ve played up until now. It also proved what many of us have felt so far. We have a fine, highly promising side capable of taking on the top four if everyone is right on their game. There’s little margin for error, although the defence have been resilient of late. Dier off the pace, Mason and Dembele absent and that left a big hole. Kane was isolated. Son came on as a sub to show why Poch did not pick him as a starter. He looks stiff-legged and anxious, trying too hard and so failing to do anything much. Kane remained isolated therefore.

And much as I love him Hugo was off yesterday too. The first goal found him back on his heels so he could only watch a long cross then push out a tame close-range shot straight to Mitrovic. Late on Perez shot from wide, from that angle I was certain the ball would go wide as Lloris parried his low near-post shot, only to see it roll in. It was a fine effort from a tight angle, low and hard in the spot close to their bodies that keepers dread, but Hugo has saved so many of those in the past….

Hugo’s distribution was poor when we need our captain to exude confidence from the back. I get that he is trying to pass the ball out rather than just kick it away. That succession of efforts to the left were probably a pre-planned tactic. It’s just that if he’s going to pass the ball, then he has to be judged as you would his team-mates. Part of that is all about making good decisions, and he didn’t.

Newcastle played well in the second half, discovering a pressing style and purposeful movement that has been missing under McLaren. They should move up the table if this and their excellent reserve keeper are anything to go by. However, Spurs should have put this one to bed in the first half with Kane, Rose and Lamela failing to capitalise on our superiority.

Plenty to be optimistic about. 14 games unbeaten is a start. So far this sequence of winnable matches between now and the New Year has not gone well but it’s very close at the top of the table and the quality remains. We’re learning, let’s not forget that.

For Pochettino, this is a step into the unknown. How will this relatively inexperienced squad cope with the physical pressure of the Christmas and New Year period (including 3 games in 7 days in the second week of January) and the mental pressure of the expectation of success? Dier, Kane and Eriksen need a breather but of course we are short of cover, especially up front. This harks back to my concerns about our business in the last window. Inflexible at the best of times, his squad gives him limited opportunities to freshen it up.

oooo s g

48 thoughts on “The Day The Light In Dier’s Eyes Went Out

  1. Apologies for not responding to comments last week, rest assurred they have all been read but infernally busy, back on it this week.

    Regards,

    Alan

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    • Thanks very much!

      Joni was ‘don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone’ – they paved paradise and put up a 60,000 seater stadium…or something like that.

      Regards, Alan

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  2. Thought we looked flat yesterday. Tired physically and mentally – no ideas or creativity.

    At half time I was getting ready to be cheesed off we had ‘only’ won 1-0. So that (rightly) put me in my place.

    It struck me that everything was going through the middle. No width or pace.

    Still, who else but Spurs would mess up the opportunity to go 4th by losing at home to Newcastle?

    Oh well.

    To keep things in perspective, though, we have a terrific young side and a really good manager. This was a blip, albeit a deeply frustrating one.

    The future looks really bright and encouraging.

    COYS

    Liked by 1 person

    • Newcastle at home becoming our bogey side – implosions and a Perez goal sound familiar. He scored from a header year before last, didn’t he? I thought we’d get away with it, a sign of our confidence in Poch and the team but as you say, we were knackered.

      Regards, Al

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  3. We can probably accommodate one player having a duff game, but not 3 or 4. I thought Carroll was shockingly exposed – too slight, too weak & too timid. Kane’s isolation not helped by Carroll’s inability to find him or retain the ball. I don’t think he’ll make it (Onomah might) I’d have started Son wide actually and pushed Eriksen behind Kane with Alli dropping back alongside Eric.
    It’s a long time since we lost. Maybe it was needed to puncture any over confidence. It was certainly inevitable

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    • I feel the team will come back after this one rather than be knocked out of our stride totally but I fear the lack of cover in key positions will cause tiredness in the second half of the season, just when we need to step our game up.

      Carroll’s lack of influence was in stark contrast to Mason’s effort or Dembele’s strength. It was his debut as a starter, surprisingly as his debut was 4 years ago. It’s certainly knocked him down the pecking order once everyone is fit. I would have played the same front 6 as you. Son not right after his injury however,

      Regards, Alan

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  4. Great article but more Springsteen’s ‘Blinded by the Light’ – ‘Mama always told me not to look into the sights of the sun. Whoa, but mama that’s where the fun is’. We’ve been dreaming too long but this was the day we crashed to the ground, players and fans alike.
    The kids that had looked like men, looked like kids again. Carroll looked way short of what is required; a Premiership player perhaps but looking increasingly unlikely to be at Spurs. A rare off day for Lloris, a slightly too common off day for Eriksen. Alli spending a bit too much time eyeballing the opposition and not concentrating on his own game. Son, another Soldado; a talented player but not fitting in. Dier, just knackered. Too many wayward passes and not enough possession in that second half. No width.
    It was a long drive home. Let’s call it a heavy adjustment of expectations and say no more about it.

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    • Son has a better chance of fitting in though – Soldado depended on service whereas Son can offer something more. He’s decidedly off since his injury.

      Recent success due to teamwork with everybody playing at or near their best and relying on Dier and Kane to perform. Not on Sunday.

      Never quite loved pre-Born to Run Bruce, too many words… could try an entire season of summing up Spurs performances with Springsteen lyrics…or not…

      Cheers Pete.

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  5. I agree re Dier, Alan. He flagged noticeably and did little (apart from his goal) to protect the defense or to help drive us forward. I also agree he wasn’t the only one who couldn’t find it in themselves to be up for this game. Forget Thursday (many of Saturday’s starters didn’t play then, plus it was reasonably relaxed and at home anyway), they shouldn’t have been tired, or ‘gone missing’. They’re a young fit squad, not yet halfway through the season! I believe they simply had an inherent belief that victory would come against an ‘inferior’ side, without sweating too hard. They got ahead of themselves, and, being a young fit confident squad, they needed their manager to keep them focused and on the right side of arrogance. Have they, and Poch, not studied Spurs’ history??!! It’s littered with the beating of top sides followed quickly by losses to bottom sides. I first experienced this huge deflating let-down as a schoolboy early in the 1966-7 season when, 1st in the old Division One after 11 exciting games, we ‘entertained’ the bottom (22nd) side Blackpool at the Lane, and promptly lost 3-1. Five games later we’d sank to around 10th, although we recovered to win the FA Cup and finish 3rd that season. But it’s a trait that (1951 and 1961 apart) when we’ve had good, or potentially good, teams, we’ve always punched below our weight in the league, yet had decent cup runs and cup success. It’s akin to a one-off ‘up for it’ game mentality. Consistency and Spurs have always been ill bedfellows. I’ve said before, and I know it’s hard to apply …but until we start treating every damn game like it’s Arsenal, we will never fulfil our potential (good players will continue to get frustrated and leave, and so the never ending cycle will continue). Are Leicester easing up!? Do we honestly think we don’t have a better squad than them? So, do they have a greater togetherness then? I thought the unity of our squad under this manager was better than it’s been at Spurs for many a year ..and as good as anywhere, One for all, and all for one. I still have that faith, but our pressing game, so evident against West Ham, Man City and others, was absent Sunday, while we lacked the creativity to make up for this more than occasional (and worrying) drawback. And why does Poch keep persisting with Alli up front? Many pundits compare him with Gerrard, so let him maraud forward from central midfield as the Liverpool legend did! Recently Poch has been putting Dembele alongside Dier, and thrusting Alli forward. I know he scored against WBA, but Alli’s game has been off for the past 3 or 4 matches, and against Newcastle he was simply awful. If he hadn’t created an England reputation early for himself this season, he would have been hauled off by most managers on Sunday before the hour. We all know that Dembele’s best position is further forward, not as a DM, so what exactly is Poch’s thinking?? Kane too had a very poor game on Sunday (his only decent effort being borne more out of frustration, as purpose). When I think of Spurs’ flow without either of them against Monaco, it’s bewildering. Alli should have linked with Dier, and Carroll (in Dembele’s absence) should have been up with Eriksen just behind Kane. It didn’t take a genius to see these problems early on in the match, so again I ask what Poch was thinking? Lamela was my man of the match, and, although Son was anonymous after he came on, I don’t think he knew how to fit in with a ‘system’ or ‘mess’ that had Kane, Eriksen, Lamela, Alli and occasionally Carroll all getting in each other’s way in the final third. Chadli is no answer (I still don’t get what Poch sees in him). No proper width in the side (can’t keep relying on Rose and Walker) and no creativity from deep in midfield can only be glossed over if our pressing game is on key, but it wasn’t, and often hasn’t been (hence the fact we’ve only won 6 PL games with Christmas nearly upon us). Newcastle only played well in the 2nd half, growing in confidence, knowing that Spurs were creating little and falling over themselves and each other in front of Newcastle’s back four. The Toon, however, resembled in the first half, the same side that had leaked umpteen goals previously this season. Yet for all our possession in that opening 45, one goal and a few snatched opportunities, they blunted us and reached half time with an optimism that eventually took us out of the game. Am I being negative? Possibly. Am I being hyper-critical? Probably. I do believe this young squad is outstanding, with enormous potential, but like AVB before him, Poch is making some strange decisions, and seems frightened to make hard changes during the course of a game when things aren’t working properly. And no, they shouldn’t have been tired! I’m sick of hearing about ‘lacklustre’ Spurs, and how a ‘good’ team weren’t at the races today!
    How badly do they want top four? ..because they certainly have the talent and, more than likely, the togetherness. So let’s see more commitment from the players, and more leadership from the coach.

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    • As I said in the blog CB, I think it’s mental fatigue that gets to the younger players. Constant decision-taking. Doesn’t sound like much but under pressure to succeed, it takes its toll.

      But we forgot the basics – plan b, get some width and at least pose some questions by stretching the defence. Alli alongside Dier with Son in the team a better selection – both Poch errors. Also, we have cover at DM but it just proves how influential Dier has been this season.

      Best, Alan

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  6. Hello Alan.
    This has been an odd season results wise throughout the PL.
    Yesterday was Newcastles turn to confound the pundits and looking at their second half performance I doubt that they have much to worry about.
    A frustrating loss was bound to happen sooner or later with such a young side and you’re right that it shouldn’t detract from the good start that the team has made.
    I too have been a little concerned about Lloris recently, he made an astonishing save from a similar attempt by Chelsea and shouldn’t have been beaten by yesterday’s shot. I expect alot from him.
    With respect to him however, it should be a case of “En Avant”
    Coys!

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    • We’ve every right to expect the best. The winner was a fine shot from that angle though so I’m not too critical. I don’t normally bang on too much about his distribution but you could feel the anxiety in the air as the game wore on and he played the ball into situations where we could easily lose possession.

      We’ll see – Saturday a real test but still good reason to be optimistic

      Regards, Alan

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  7. Hi Alan
    Was at the game yesterday and for the first time in my time going to Spurs I kicked the chair in anger when they scored the winning goal. Not like me, but I could see in the last 10 minutes that they would score the way we were defending, and because I was proved right that they would, I kicked out at the chair and my friends were laughing at me lol.
    One point I will say where we went wrong,was playing Carroll alongside Dier and Delli in the Middle, where I think Carroll should of been where Delli was and Delli in his usual role alongside Dier..so why did Poch change a winning formula? This is where I think is the reason we were outfought in the middle of the park.
    Still think there is enough about us to reach top 4 as long as we learn from our mistakes.
    Keep up the good work Alan 👍

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    • Thanks my friend. Agree re the team selection – Alli’s future probably in a more attacking position but Son plus Alli deeper and able to get forward is a better blend it seems to me.

      Hope you didn’t break anything!

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  8. One of my favourite movies is ‘Blow’ and there’s a quote in the movie from the lead characters father that says, “Sometimes you’re flush and sometimes you’re bust, and when you’re up, it’s never as good as it seems, and when you’re down, you never think you’ll be up again, but life goes on.”
    That’s kinda like what watching Spurs is like this season. We are improving all the time but we do have an incredibly young side and there are gonna be hiccups along the way. We have to expect some bumps in the road sometimes.
    I don’t want to get carried away with title talk when we win and I’m not going to cry about the odd defeat here and there. We are moving forward, of that there is no doubt. I am very excited and proud to be a Spurs fan these days. I think we all should be… And finally, (if fit) Bentaleb should start over Tom Carroll every day of the week!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I could make that quote the blog’s new subtitle – nice one, so Spurs.

      Still good to be a Spurs fan, proud of what they’ve achieved.

      Regards, Alan

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  9. Great insight into the game Alan.
    I was one angry Spurs fan after that loss but have had time to reflect and know we can go on from here.
    Every team can have an off day and anyone can win this PL. What about Chelsea, they are having a lot of off days!!!!
    Keep all those positive thoughts going Spurs fans!!!!
    COYS

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  10. Great write up, once again. Second half was hard to watch. Love Kane, love his hard work, but he does tend to disappear as a striker in the second half of games.
    COYS!

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    • I think the problem comes when he’s hunting on his own, either up top or when he drops back to change the system. He’s at his best when others are running into space and he’s got someone to pass to or pass to him. Let’s give him a few more crosses, not wait for him to spark.

      Cheers, Alan

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  11. Hi Alan

    Typically Spursy is how I would describe Sunday’s non performance
    Take a successful formula (4-2-3-1) and change it (4-1-4-1) for no good reason. Play a young inexperienced slightly built player against a team that were always going to try and rough us up. Put our only creative player out on the left wing where he wasn’t going to do anything creative and put a defensively minded midfielder at centre forward
    I think the Poch has to take some responsibility for this one !!!
    The only consistency with this performance was our inability to beat the first defender with 5 out of 6 corners (and I know we scored from one but maybe that was the cunning plan all along)
    The players now need to stop believing all the hype about winning the league and get back to basics. The next few games are all winnable with the right tactics and team. No more Carrol and Chadli for me
    An early Merry Xmas to all of your readers and to you and your family Alan

    Up the Spurs

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    • I know how much you and Mark love those corners, Steve! It’s because we’re going for that near post effort all the time. Fine margins if it goes wrong. Why not give it more air and have someone else behind in case it goes too high. Carroll a disappointment and as you know I’m not a Chadli fan.

      Happy christmas to you and yours, and look forward to your company in 2016.

      Regards,

      Alan

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  12. Thanks Alan,

    Yes, we sort of subsided second half, though credit to Newcastle. That Perez always looks lively when I see him, usually against us! I’m not too worried, we are a good side and I expect us recover quickly.

    Fiorentina will be tough, but an exciting tie to look forward to. We should have beaten them last season in my opinion. Like us, they are better than they were last season. Three at the back (with a spare man it’ll lonely for Harry up there unless we can get him more support) and two marauding full backs and they love to hog possession.

    They have some fine technical players like Bernadeschi (exciting young Italian wide player) and Ilicic (Slovenia) They are perhaps a little light up front (Kalinic who played unsuccessfully for Blackburn around 2010, though he’s technically a good player and is scoring now) but it should be a very good game. Though who knows what form we’ll all be in come late Feb.

    The excellent Giuseppe Rossi will have come back and likely gone back out with a long-term injury by Feb.

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    • Thanks for the info. I like a good tie during the knock-out stages so bring them on. We were disappointing last time so a chance to show how much we’ve learned.

      Regards, Alan

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  13. Well that result sure took the wind out of my sails. Still, a defeat at some stage was inevitable but the mark of the quality and mental strength of this squad is how they react to setbacks so here’s hoping the reaction is a positive one. I won’t deny though when the winner went in I was well miffed ( and even more peed off than I was at half time on Thursday when BT Sport’s agenda driven pundits dismissed Lamela’s hat-trick as if it were an irrelevance, instead of versus a team with a decent European pedigree. Fair enough, their goalkeeper for the second was more Mimms than Jennings, but still) .
    Let’s hope Sunday was a blip and we return to winning ways soon, and maybe a setback may even act as a kick in the backside not to get too complacent and confident. Something which I was as uncharacteristically guilty of as anyone!
    Some thought provoking & different perspectives in your blog and the responses, all of which again give me some comfort in not being the only one with a sunken heart and a grey outlook on the world, all because of a defeat to Newcastle, dammit!!

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    • Plenty of sunken hearts mate, not alone.

      I really don’t think we were complacent, that good football was real. What was obscured or more probably we chose to forget was the strain for the younger players. This was inevitable – as you say, what matters is how they respond.

      Cheers Danny

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  14. Sry but poch got to take the blame great managers can mess up dier was tired from doing more running because carrol out of his depth so he takes off carrol puts son on who is not a cm subs not rite should of took Kane off son on carrol off bentalab on then takes off lamela off puts chadli who’s had no game time with nji and osama been good impact players .

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  15. I think if this game was played at Newcastle we may have won it.
    There seems to be a certain complacency at home when playing the “smaller sides”.
    —-
    Not sure about the rotation policy of our manager. Carroll plays his first full senior game on Thursday, and then is expected to replicate this form at the first time of asking on the Sunday, when Bentaleb is on the bench.
    —-
    Also while I am having a moan – This substitution thing in the last 4 mins of a game. How is that really going to change the game for us?
    Chadli has been out for a while and would need a bit of a warm up before having an impact of the game. Sometimes I feel Poch thinks everyone has a bit of Solskjær (checked spelling in Wiki 😉 in them.

    Remi Garde did the same thing on Sunday. He brings on Adama Traore for the last few minues, when Villa needed an injection of something from the start of the 2nd half. He was great when he came on and may have caused real problems to Woolwich if he came on earlier.
    —-
    On the positive side giving the Toons 3 points has put Chelsea closer to the relation zone!!
    —-
    Ok. Feel better now . . .

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  16. Sometimes it isn’t just the players, it might be the manager, too, who had a bad day. (Chelsea, step forward, or backwards, more like it). Couldn’t argue with any of your thoughtful reasons but you let Poch off lightly. Carroll (who I like but is still wearing trainers), Eriksen and Lamela all do their work on the edges. More substance was needed and I’m baffled why Poch overused Carroll when Bentaleb could have been thrown on. We weren’t robbed in this game, Newcastle had three very good chances in the second half but Poch acted late, if at all. Ah well, time to press the reset button which might not be a bad thing. (Alan, Kate Bush last week and Joni Mitchell this. What’s going on? You might have picked an equally apt line from the same song: “They paved paradise, put up a parking lot”.)

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    • Look David – just between you and me – the Kate Bush thing was to fill up a bit of space because I couldn’t think of much else to write about another game v WBA, plus a reason to tell someone else that 40 years ago when I watched Top of the Pops her intense arm-waving made me laugh. And still does.
      These are the secrets of a writer. Surely my Guardian profile by Simon Hattenstone is only days away.

      Agree – MP needs to learn from this and too many players doing fiddly things on the edges. Partly why I focussed on Dier – he is such a warrior and makes it all work.

      Paved paradise and put up a 60k seater stadium?

      Always a pleasure to read your comments, sincere thanks, Al

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  17. This season we have really seen a great improvement in our game. The defence has more mettle,the midfield is more fluid,the attack still with one striker has be adept well at least better than last season.
    So why all of a sudden do we have this knot in our stomachs.
    Poch’s system has been working.The pressing,the gang tackling and the higher tempo this season has loosened defences and has given us more opportunities. The problem is that we still lack some key ingredients. We are not creating enough chances. We had two creative players on fot this one Carroll and Eriksen and I think they lacked the ability to create. I think its because they are stuck in the system that has given us success but also has taken away individual exceptionality. At some point in the second half we needed players to go beyond the constraints of the system to find a few magic moments to drive home a badly needed win.
    Poch was too smug.We were too smug.
    I watched Dembele for most of this season and saw him go beyond the box he had to be in.He fights for every ball. He looks for opportunities. He was sadly missed in this game.Kane was AWOL,Eriksen did couple of good things earlier but looked lifeless in the second half but it seemed nobody except Lamela seemed to be fighting for a win. Shockingly Poch took him off for Chadli.
    Poch seems to be living and dying with the system and a contained vision within that.He seems at the same one pace many players were playing at. Waiting for tge system to win the game. There waa no spark to ignite this team to win after two dour draws. No spark. Its quite unbelievable that the one player that seemed to have a fighting energy,Poch took him off.
    We had no creativity. Poch showed no creativity. We bored everyone to death. An opportunity of 3 games that we should have fought to win with everything we had.
    I put it down to Poch allowing the system itself to dictate rather than him
    .

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    • MP needs to learn from this for sure. With a sound DM pair behind him and everybody pressing, this allows Son to offer that extra bit in attack that as you say we certainly need. MP pushed Alli up beyond Kane but Son’s selection would have posed more problems for a hitherto troubled defence. Problem is, Son is off the pace atm. Needs game time where others needed a rest over the past month.

      Regards, Alan

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  18. Fess up, I do have a hat but couldn’t be arsed to write out your names and put them in it, so I used a random number generator, counted the comments and the winner of the Art of Football t-shirt is Dave N.

    Cue excitement, fireworks, tickertap. And that. Congrats!

    Alan

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  19. Three humdrum games.Forget footie for a moment,put on a good album,watch a good film (ok not ‘ In Bruges’)
    There is life outside the walls of Tottenham.
    My wife wants to buy me a nice tie. I said we’ve had a few too many if those recently.
    Watch ELO at the BBC 2 for an hour on You Tube.Its enjoyable and you dont have to get through any traffic at the bell

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  20. Alan,
    Welcome back so to speak.
    The Toon attack in the second half was not unexpected considering that we could not find that elusive second goal and after the hour mark they put on two strikers, they obviously felt the game was there for the taking. The lack of Dembele was very obvious there was nobody to hold up play, consolidate possession and make the front men track back. Too many loose balls and so few chances when they pushed forward, one of the few BPL games where that has happened, more similar to one or two of the Europa League games. One disturbing feature of this year is our lack of late goals, something we frankly over depended on last year.
    All in all it has been a fine start, let’s take this loss in stride and step forward from it, a win at Saints would be a huge push forward. One of the reasons that the past few games have created angst is with the overall weakness at the top, a few wins would have catapulted us well into the top four.
    COYS
    Hope you have a wonderful Christmas
    Cheers
    Ed

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  21. Happy New Year Alan! Hope all’s well at your end…no TOMM posts since December 14th, maybe you’re taking a well-earned winter break.

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