Spurs 21/22: Conte? Conte!!

DJnVa

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I think you're probably right, but I won't be surprised if Lucas is playing centrally and it is more of a 3-5-2. Excited to find out.
At practice yesterday they ran out two squads in a scrimmage and both played in a 3-5-2 according to observers, but we'll see soon.
 

Kliq

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Lucas knows how to take care of business against Dutch teams.
 

Kliq

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The defense feels like a team still learning how to play all their new positions but the attack...oh boy.
 

Kliq

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The defense is clearly going to need more time to figure out what the hell they are doing; just got to hope to outscore Vitesse here.
 

Kliq

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Romero gets a red card AND injured on the same play. What a moment.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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35 thrilling minutes, and then a huge mess.

Wonder how much is getting used to the tactics, vs. how much is just running out of gas because this is a high intensity system and an out of shape team.
 

Kliq

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Vitesse player picks up two yellows in five minutes fighting with Kane. 10 v 10 now.
 

Kliq

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Lo Celso, who has fucking sucked this year, blows a chance to seal the game.
 

SeoulSoxFan

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That was one of the nuttiest games I've seen in recent memory.

Ndombele's Marseille turn (I think) resulting in GLC's open shot was a thing of beauty.
 

Zososoxfan

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Proper introduction to Spurs for Conte that! And TBH, if that's what we're in for for a couple of months while Conte sorts out this mess, sign me up 5x. I haven't had so much fun watching a Spurs match in quite some time.

Early takeaways--Kane is still super important. Son is still excellent. Lucas definitely has a role to play, but he's going to have to adapt quite a bit and fit into a strict system. GLC better pick it up if he wants to be a starter. Lots of competition for the central MF spots, although there probably is some division between DMFs (Skipp and Hoj), CMFs (Skipp, Hoj, Winks, Tanguy, GLC, Dele), and AMFs (Tanguy, GLC, Dele, Lucas?, Bergy?, Gil?). Emerson, Reguilon and every other wingback should be psyched about Conte's arrival. Who knows what Conte thinks of the CB pecking order.

Quite smart to have Hugo in net for that one!
 

Kliq

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LOL at reading anything DGM wrote about Kane at this point.
 

OCST

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Suprised to see Spurs essentially park the bus at Goodison. It's not a bad tactic against the way Everton have played their best this season, but this was a depleted Everton squad reeling after three losses in a row, including two of the worst halves of football they've played in recent memory.

Everton did play well, mostly because the corpse of Fabian Delph defied history and logic and put in an 8 performance in the middle of the park. But they were there to be gotten at, Goodison would have turned toxic very quickly if Spurs had gotten on the front foot, and Spurs' attacking talent, even with Kane looking poor, is more than capable of getting through the Toffees' makeshift defense.

Conte's got his work cut out for him, but Spurs were second best on the pitch against a team that was ripe for the taking. I was surprised.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Suprised to see Spurs essentially park the bus at Goodison. It's not a bad tactic against the way Everton have played their best this season, but this was a depleted Everton squad reeling after three losses in a row, including two of the worst halves of football they've played in recent memory.

Everton did play well, mostly because the corpse of Fabian Delph defied history and logic and put in an 8 performance in the middle of the park. But they were there to be gotten at, Goodison would have turned toxic very quickly if Spurs had gotten on the front foot, and Spurs' attacking talent, even with Kane looking poor, is more than capable of getting through the Toffees' makeshift defense.

Conte's got his work cut out for him, but Spurs were second best on the pitch against a team that was ripe for the taking. I was surprised.
Spurs play was I think less a specific choice to park the bus and more a natural result of putting a team out with no real creative midfielders and less than a week training the tactics. It was good enough to create chances against Vitesse because they're a weaker team, but against even a mid-table PL team on a bad run they need to get soemthing from the midfield, or get a lot from the wingbacks, and neither happened.

We'll see what happens as Conte gets to grips with who can actually do what in the squad, but I think he might need to either go with a riskier 3-4-3 with one of the midfielders more attacking, or sacrifice Lucas (who was in peak "sometimes I just dribble right into guys and lose the ball" form against Everton) to move to a 3-5-2
 

Kliq

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Suprised to see Spurs essentially park the bus at Goodison. It's not a bad tactic against the way Everton have played their best this season, but this was a depleted Everton squad reeling after three losses in a row, including two of the worst halves of football they've played in recent memory.

Everton did play well, mostly because the corpse of Fabian Delph defied history and logic and put in an 8 performance in the middle of the park. But they were there to be gotten at, Goodison would have turned toxic very quickly if Spurs had gotten on the front foot, and Spurs' attacking talent, even with Kane looking poor, is more than capable of getting through the Toffees' makeshift defense.

Conte's got his work cut out for him, but Spurs were second best on the pitch against a team that was ripe for the taking. I was surprised.
The problem for Spurs yesterday was the same problem they have had for a while; there is no creativity on the field beyond Kane/Son, who can only do so much when they have pretty much no support from anyone else. Many times this season either Kane or Son have gotten the ball in an attacking position only to realize they only have one player (usually the other) in support and multiple defenders to get through. A midfield of Skipp/Hojbjerg just isn't going to do a lot in that regard, and Lucas was bad. A lot was riding on the FBs who just haven't been that good this season. The best chance of the game probably came from Kane hitting a cross to Reguilon who had a great chance to get it on target but failed miserably.

The team has never found a replacement for Eriksen, or dealt with Dele becoming terrible. GLC has been really bad this season and Ndombele has been a complete roller coaster.
 

OCST

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Totally get it. Sounds like it was worse that I thought (I have not seen much Spurs this season).

Just surprised that you couldn't win the midfield battle against 31-year-old Delph, who has been hurt for 3/4 of his time with Everton, who never did anything positive when he was healthy, and who was purportedly brought in to provide veteran leadership but instead has been a malcontent and clubhouse cancer; and 30-year-old Allan, who is a great midfield destroyer but cannot function without high-energy legs next to him, and who was fighting a bad case of the flu as it turns out.

That Delph, who is maybe the most despised player in the last 4-5 seasons (certain Icelandic pedophile notwithstanding) and is made of tissue paper, probably saved the season and Rafa's job with a dominant performance, was certainly not something I had on my 2021 bingo card.
 

Zososoxfan

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Agree with what's being said in here. The MF is the problem right now, but I think Conte is focused on defensive solidity and getting control over matches before worrying too much about attacking plans and automations.

After seeing the team play a couple of matches under Conte, I think we see a few things.

  • CB. Ben Davies can get his friends and family some nice gifts this year. What a swing for the player, and I've shat on Davies a ton, but he's looked downright competent in a back 3. I hope we get to see some Rodon and Tang get a chance. Sanchez is fooked and likely on the way out in January.
  • WB. Emerson looks like the best WB so far. Reggie has all the talent in the world, but he needs to start paying off soon. I can't wait for Sess to get back. Doherty playing on his weak side yesterday at LWB was subpar, but I have to think he'll get a chance to give Emerson a spell on the right eventually. Maybe once Sess gets back.
  • MF. Skipp and Hoj are probably good enough to play in a CMF 2 defensively, but not nearly good enough offensively. In a 3-4-3, I think it's got to be one of them plus GLC. Dele might be worth a shot there but who knows. Tanguy can certainly provide the creativity from there, but his deployment under Toni so far indicates that Toni thinks he can't cut it defensively (at least not yet).
  • Wing. Surprised that Toni has played GLC and Tanguy on the wings--they haven't looked comfortable.
  • FWD. Kane and Son are the only hope right now.
IMHO, Conte has to see the squad and think they need to be in a 3-5-2. He needs a creative presence in MF to connect the lines, and that means either Tanguy, GLC, or Lucas as the 10. In Lucas' case, he could also have Kane play as a false 9 and put Son and Lucas ahead of Kane. But with the lack of players who can play as the wing in a front 3, and the lack of MF pieces that fit his 3-4-3, the 3-5-2 might provide the best path forward for the time being.
 

coremiller

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Lucas is a good presser who works hard and he's good in transitions but he just offers no creativity on the ball, he doesn't have the vision or passing range. It's weird that he keeps being used as a 10.

What was better yesterday was that Spurs handled pressing decently. You could see there was an intended structure for how they wanted to work possession to progress the ball up the field, with players moving to open spaces to create triangles and then reacting to each others' movements. Often it didn't work that well but this was the first time in a long time where it looked like they had actual ideas for how to play with the ball.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Underrated subplot of the season could be Cristian Romero making a run at the all time PL record for yellow cards (a lot of players are tied at the top with 14). I really like what I've seen from him so far in general but, man, the guy loves a booking.

Transfermarkt says that he had 13 and 10 the last two years in the much less rowdy Serie A and he has picked up four in the six PL matches he has played meaningful minutes.
 

Kliq

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Kane with three goals and an assist in the first half today against Albania; so he can still score, but not for Tottenham.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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Spurs Women 15 minutes away from nicking a first ever NLD win if they can hang on.

NBCSN right now
 

67YAZ

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Miedema ties it in stoppage time, Spurs hanging by their fingernails for the draw.
This is the first time Arsenal have dropped points this season. Disappointing to lose the lead on a late equalizer, but quite a good showing.
 

DJnVa

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I'm just going to assume that at halftime today the Spurs suddenly GOT IT in regards to Conte's formation and strategy, because they looked pretty good in second half.
 

67YAZ

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Spurs get the Swiss Ramble treatment.

My take away is that Spurs have been very well run for the past 10 years and made the well calculated decision to externally fund a new stadium to help push them up to the next level of revenue generation. But the pandemic and some pricy transfer business put them in a tough short term position, but it’s very recoverable. (If it were desperate, Kane would have been sold.)

And this doesn’t even take the EPL broadcast rights sales into account.

 
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Jimy Hendrix

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Every time there’s a lineup where I’m like “oohh, interesting” Spurs just get brutally clowned.

Speaks both to the depth problems and my lack of ability to learn.
 

Zososoxfan

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I know Conte complained about the postponement yesterday (10 matches between now and 1/1/2022 IS absurd) but personally it feels like more training time with the squad before matches is good.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I know Conte complained about the postponement yesterday (10 matches between now and 1/1/2022 IS absurd) but personally it feels like more training time with the squad before matches is good.
If anything, it feels like you dodged a bullet. Going to Burnley in the freezing cold three days after a match in Slovenia in which Kane played all 90 and you had 10 men most of the match is a recipe for getting turned over.
 

DJnVa

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I know Conte complained about the postponement yesterday (10 matches between now and 1/1/2022 IS absurd) but personally it feels like more training time with the squad before matches is good.
Do you mean he didn't think it should have been postponed or he's simply lamenting the crowded schedule? Because I saw a quote yesterday where he seemed to say he agreed with postponing game.

 

Zososoxfan

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Do you mean he didn't think it should have been postponed or he's simply lamenting the crowded schedule? Because I saw a quote yesterday where he seemed to say he agreed with postponing game.

To clarify, I was just commenting on his lamentation about the crowded schedule. It seems like everyone involved yesterday agreed it was not a day for football. There was a funny article the other day too, about Dyche walking about the heated pitch (!!) without a jacket with a shit-eating grin on his face. As the official postponement noted, it was the fact that the snow was still coming down hard that rendered the heated pitch useless.

In any event and IOW, every day that Conte gets the squad before a match is a plus to me.
 

DJnVa

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Romero injured his hamstring on international duty and is out at least until January.
 

DJnVa

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That was a nice win. Up to 6th, with a game in hand. A win in that game would carry them to 4th.
 

Zososoxfan

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Good to get the points. Mixed performance though IMO. Skippy was excellent. Even though both wingbacks' crossing needs work, Reggie hit an important cross for Son to salt the match away. Hoj wasn't as good as Skippy but he was good enough. Kane had a subpar match but his passing was key to the plan today. He set Reggie off for the key pass on Son's goal. Dier and Davies look very comfortable in this setup and Dav had a much better outing than in Slovenia. Moura was pretty good, and Son was a madlad today.

Winks LOOKS good in the system, but he made some weird decisions--the optimist in me says everyone's learning a new system and you can expect some uneveness but the cynic in me says WTFFFFFFFFFF. I really think GLC would be an awesome CMF in the system next to Skipp.
 

Kliq

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Good to get the points. Mixed performance though IMO. Skippy was excellent. Even though both wingbacks' crossing needs work, Reggie hit an important cross for Son to salt the match away. Hoj wasn't as good as Skippy but he was good enough. Kane had a subpar match but his passing was key to the plan today. He set Reggie off for the key pass on Son's goal. Dier and Davies look very comfortable in this setup and Dav had a much better outing than in Slovenia. Moura was pretty good, and Son was a madlad today.

Winks LOOKS good in the system, but he made some weird decisions--the optimist in me says everyone's learning a new system and you can expect some uneveness but the cynic in me says WTFFFFFFFFFF. I really think GLC would be an awesome CMF in the system next to Skipp.
Agreed on Skipp, he really caught my attention at both ends.
 

scott bankheadcase

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I think you're being a bit uncharitable here. Even Carty Free called that match dominating and they hate the Spurs. Anyway, onto Norwich.

Yeah, I think if you're really used to Poch's lots and lots and lots of possession system, then Conte's system might seem a little uneven. But that game was never in danger. Conte is going to give a lot more games that look like that than when we were dominating possession under Poch.
 

Zososoxfan

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Splitting hairs here I think as I was very pleased with the performance, but note that this is still very much a work in progress. Overall, I thought the defense was excellent, but the attack is still going to take some time to reach it's limited potential. Consequently, this team will drop points even when they outplay the opposition.

I think the WBs are the perfect microcosm of this. Overall, I'm thrilled with Emerson and Reggie and they're a big reason why I'm optimistic about the system working THIS season. They're both lungbusters that can create the number overloads required by Conte's various systems. They're not Marcus Alonso level, not yet anyway, but they both have the potential and that's good enough for now. That being said, they both sucked at crossing yesterday and likely left a goal or even 2 on the field with just that aspect.

On the good side of the ledger, I think Conte will be able to piece together capable defenses with this bunch. Conte said it himself yesterday that Rodon is the backup to Dier at CB and that he's doing very well in training. I hope they get him some reps soon because the holiday fixture crunch, like winter, is coming. We've talked about Davies a lot already but Conte is clearly going to squeeze every ounce of potential out of him and the player is already playing with lots of confidence. He fits Conte's needs at LCB to a T. I'm more bullish on Dav than most--I think the tools are just too good. Even though I think he's a 4ATB CB and actually not particularly well suited to 3ATB, I think he'll be fine for the remainder of the season if he sticks around, especially as a backup RCB to Cuti. I'm not really sure about Tang. His stints at both CB and FB in 4ATB formations would seem to bolster his case as an outside CB in 3ATB, but I think it actually accentuates his offensive deficiencies and doesn't best utilize his considerable defensive prowess. Nevertheless, I love the player and I bet Conte values his combativeness. He also seems very coachable. So I don't worry about him sticking around, but I also think he's a prime candidate for sale.

Skipp is here for the longhaul. He's Conte's guy. Finding the right CMF pair for him is the challenge. Hoj is getting the chance so far because he's defensively stout, has the stamina, takes instruction, and is a warrior. But he has limited upside in attack. That's a problem because this team has awkward fits at winger right now (more on that below). Tanguy is the most talented CMF we have by far, but he's not the best fit for Conte. That's not to say it won't work or Conte isn't building or won't build a system that features him, but it's probably a bad allocation of resources ATM. I've made my case for GLC and I still feel that's the case. GLC is a defensive workhorse who is probably the best MF presser in the squad. He's shined for Argentina in a stodgy MF3 with Paredes and De Paul. He's also at his best in the center of the park where he can utilize his elite (IMO) passing skill. Winks, who knows. He could be better than Hoj and GLC in this system or he can cause the whole thing to fall apart. I would've thought that Dele is a winger in this system (where the wingers play very narrow) but the conventional wisdom is that Dele is at his best facing goal in the final third. Considering his defensive workrate under Nuno, I wonder if he's a darkhorse candidate at CMF? Probably not because he's just too cavalier with his passing but I'm still interested in the idea in a vaccuum--in reality, there's too many and better options at CMF. Now if Conte works in more 3-5-2...

Up front, Conte likely doesn't take the job without an elite striker like Kane in the fold. Kane can pretty much do it all with his well-rounded skillset. Conte has said that he wants to get Kane closer to the opposition box, but yesterday's match was a perfect example of the team's transition as the second goal came from Kane dropping deep and being the creative motor. The real issue at the moment is at winger. Son is a beast and his performance yesterday showed that he can do the job at wing. But having him bust ass and defending in the middle third probably isn't the best way to use him. I imagine that Conte is trying to install and rep the 343 before moving onto the 352, but looking at the squad I think it's much better suited to the latter. This team has 2 elite attackers and a bevy of options at CMF/AMF. That screams 352 > 343 to me.

Lucas is a bit underrated by Spurs fans generally IMO. His skill on the ball and defensive workrate shouldn't be overlooked. In Conte's system, the front 3 but especially the wings are the outlet ball and they frequently receive hard passes under pressure. The ability to receive a pass, withstand pressure, and have the endurance to constantly be working for position in both attack and defense are why Lucas has started so much. All that said and I don't think the best XI includes Lucas. Right now he's the more defensive winger opposite Son while Conte installs the 343 and that's fine. But his biggest deficiency is in combination play and that's kinda the key to Conte's philosophy. Maybe Conte's more rehearsed combinations will mitigate that a bit, but my guess is we see Lucas sold in the summer.

What's weird about Conte's fit with this squad is that young players like Bergy and Gil don't neatly fit into the picture (IMO) despite being very talented and promising. Perhaps Bergy is just waiting to break out but I kind of expected him to get the first shot at winger opposite Son. Maybe his defensive work just isn't up to snuff yet. I thought Dele would be a good fit at winger as well but that hasn't happened yet--again, still early.

With the caveat that I don't know where Sarr fits into this picture, but I expect for Conte/Paratici to prioritize 1. CMF, 2. CB, 3. winger, and 4. backup striker in the next 2 windows. Lastly, I wonder if Conte considers Son an option at striker in the 343. He's certainly versatile to file a variety of roles up front in a 352, but the 343 distinguishes quite a bit more between the striker and wing roles.
 
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DJnVa

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Splitting hairs here I think as I was very pleased with the performance, but note that this is still very much a work in progress.
Understood, great post.

Snipped out the rest, but while Emerson and Reggie will struggle some with the crossing, it's awesome to see they are getting into those positions. That skill should improve as they grow into that role. I remember when Reggie first came over he seemed pretty adept at whipping crosses in.