Tottenham Hotspur 20/21: WE SIGNED A STRIKER! (I mean, besides Alex Morgan)

DJnVa

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Dele was pretty good, and Dane Scarlett became the youngest ever Spurs player today.
 

coremiller

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0-0 at the Bridge. Mourinho Mourinho'd the hell out of that match. Spurs played a very solid first half where a) they got into some threatening positions, and b) Chelsea's fear of their counters kept Chelsea playing conservatively which limited Chelsea's attacking. Chelsea were keeping their fullbacks back which deprived their attack of width and pressing their midfielders up, but a Kante/Kovacic/Mount midfield trio, while good at pressing, lacks creators and so Chelsea didn't create anything, especially with how compacted and disciplined Spurs' defending was.

In the second half Lampard changed strategy, the midfielders played less aggressively so that the fullbacks, particularly James on the right, could get forward more, and a for ~20-minute stretch Chelsea had much the better of the play and created a few half-chances through James on the right, particularly crosses that Abraham failed to convert. Meanwhile Spurs' counter fizzled out to nothing -- Spurs tired and they played a lot of sloppy passes in transitions.

After that 20 minutes or so Spurs finally sorted out how to handle James' threat down the right (looked to me like Hojbjerg shifted over to help out Reguilon and Bergwijn played deep to help out as well), and Chelsea's attack dried up. Spurs even managed to get into some good attacking positions in the last 20 minutes, but didn't generate any shots from it. I would have liked Mou to make some more attacking subs to try to steal the game in the last 15 minutes, but instead he settled for the draw, bringing on a defender for a winger.

i think the draw was a fair result. Mourinho came with a game plan and Spurs executed the defensive side of it very well. I think Mou had hoped Spurs could create a little more danger from transitions but Chelsea played conservatively and snuffed them out. Chelsea were a little bit better and if Abraham had taken one of his half-chances Spurs couldn't complain about the result but Chelsea didn't really do enough to win.

Standout performances: Ndombele was the source of most of Spurs' creativity. The whole backline played very well. Rodon did well in his first start, although he made a couple of bad errors that Chelsea failed to punish (one in the first few minutes that led to Werner's offside goal, one at the end that led to Giroud's failed chip). Aurier was very solid(!). Hojbjerg is impressive, he covers a tremendous amount of ground.

Mourinho opened the season with the team playing expansively but it appears he has changed emphasis since the West Ham collapse. Spurs scored 15 and conceded 8 in the first five games, with no clean sheets; in the last fives games they have scored 6 and conceded 1, with four clean sheets.

Top of the table for another week. Spurs are by no means favorites for the title but they're definitely in the running so far.
 

DJnVa

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If there is a team that should be ruing a lack of adventure during Sunday’s 0-0 draw at Stamford Bridge, it is not Tottenham. As the away side against a big rival, and with the untested Joe Rodon making his full debut in the heart of their defence, this was a valuable point for Spurs.
[/quote]
Spurs were largely unambitious, certainly, but the onus was surely on Chelsea, as the home side and with a richly-assembled squad, to try and take the initiative.

That they didn’t says a lot about how far Spurs have come this season. Put simply, Chelsea were afraid of the threat of the likes of Son Heung-min and Harry Kane on the counter. It meant they opted against taking the kind of risks required to upset Mourinho’s low block that had no desire to move out of their defensive shape. “I think they also respected us,” Mourinho said afterwards. “They respected us and I believe there was… I don’t like the word fear because I don’t think there is fear at this level. I think the word is responsibility.”[/quote]
 

DJnVa

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Mourinho opened the season with the team playing expansively but it appears he has changed emphasis since the West Ham collapse. Spurs scored 15 and conceded 8 in the first five games, with no clean sheets; in the last fives games they have scored 6 and conceded 1, with four clean sheets.

Here's a good article on what he's doing:

He’s a reactive coach, who eschews an emphasis upon “a defined style of play” and instead works backwards from the opposition, particularly against strong sides.

It’s an approach sometimes criticised for being too negative, too defensive. But in two games against two title rivals, Manchester City and Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur have collected two clean sheets and four points. In fact, it’s three clean sheets in a row for Spurs — a longer run than any other side has achieved in the Premier League this season
 

Zososoxfan

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Spurs were largely unambitious, certainly, but the onus was surely on Chelsea, as the home side and with a richly-assembled squad, to try and take the initiative.

That they didn’t says a lot about how far Spurs have come this season. Put simply, Chelsea were afraid of the threat of the likes of Son Heung-min and Harry Kane on the counter. It meant they opted against taking the kind of risks required to upset Mourinho’s low block that had no desire to move out of their defensive shape. “I think they also respected us,” Mourinho said afterwards. “They respected us and I believe there was… I don’t like the word fear because I don’t think there is fear at this level. I think the word is responsibility.”[/quote]
[/QUOTE]

Agree with this wholeheartedly. While it's easy to be annoyed with Mou for not going for it in the last quarter, I think the point is more important for Spurs. I ascribe this primarily to the fact that Rodon started and Toby was out. This was also an immense match for Bergy, as it could've easily been Lucas instead of him (although likely on the other side). Spurs were a bit fortunate that Chelsky's finishing was shite, but they earned the point. I agree with the author that Chelsea probably should've gone for it more, but Frankie is probably of the mind that Chelsea is more consistent against weak opposition. We'll see where we're at after Arse-Palace-Pool, but the gauntlet is going well so far.
 

DJnVa

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Interesting lineup today--no Vinicius (in fact neither he nor Kane traveled), Son starting up top, Ndombele, PEH, and Lo Celso starting in midfield.

A draw sees them through, but playing rather blah right now.
 

Zososoxfan

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Interesting lineup today--no Vinicius (in fact neither he nor Kane traveled), Son starting up top, Ndombele, PEH, and Lo Celso starting in midfield.

A draw sees them through, but playing rather blah right now.
Hard to stay motivated and focused 100% of the time. This is a quintessential trap game sandwiched between the hugely important Chelsky fixture and NLD. Also a nice silver lining that Arse have to play today as well.
 

DJnVa

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Hard to stay motivated and focused 100% of the time. This is a quintessential trap game sandwiched between the hugely important Chelsky fixture and NLD. Also a nice silver lining that Arse have to play today as well.
Absolutely. You do get the feeling if the Spurs pot one then they'll be off and running.
 

DJnVa

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Or....LASK could score first after Doherty slips and turns it over.

EDIT: And Doherty is still down.
 

DJnVa

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PK to Spurs...handball. Same LASK player that had the OG last time.

Bale converts at the death. 1-1
 

DJnVa

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Ndombele pounces on loose ball, sends nice ball through the channel that Son runs onto and finishes. Spurs up 2-1.
 

DJnVa

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LASK ties it, minutes later Spurs get a PK as Bergwijn is pulled down in box...which Alli converts--into 85th minute, up 3-2.

Blow the whistle and get tf out of town.

EDIT: JFC. 3-3 in extra time. A draw works, but this is gonna be like one of those Patriots games where they get result but play badly and BB will yell at them a lot.
 
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mjm3773

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Ultimately, with Antwerp beating Ludogorets, it didn’t matter whether Spurs got a win or a draw today. Either way, they still need a win against Antwerp in MD6 to get the top spot in the group.

(But it was still a lackluster performance.)
 

Zososoxfan

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My buddy and I were arguing about rotation yesterday. With the depth of the squad, Mou really almost has the option to do a full swap of the XI if he chooses. While this sounds nice in theory, most pundits agree that you can't rotate a full side most of the time. So what's the right balance? Giving the top 3 players a rest? 5?

This stems from our frustration that Hoj played the full 90 yesterday. He's the only player on the squad without a bona fide backup. Going from Kane to Son or Vini might hurt less than going from Hoj to Sissoko or Winks. Son playing 80 minutes also seems avoidable, even with Kane and Vini unavailable. Mou's vendetta against Dele hurts here. Dele needs to be getting some minutes to keep some of his value, keep the locker room in balance, and because Dele is still good (certainly good enough for the UEL group stages, and likely much better than merely that).
 

DJnVa

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Mourinho said that he has a feeling some of the players "don't think they should be here" when they travel to these EL games. As a counter to that he pointed to PEH and Son, who are always ready, no matter where, no matter the opponent.


Kane apparently has a knock, which I completely missed. Should be ready for weekend. Vinicius also apparently has an injury.

Spurs still in market for striker?

 

DJnVa

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Also reporting now that Lloris might be banged up and Hart might be starting this weekend.
 

Kliq

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Hart was terrible against LASK, he was the reason they dropped points. Much rather see Gazzaniga in there.
 

DJnVa

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Because Jose loves him and he's a great locker room guy. And he’s homegrown.

And, to be honest, while he wasn't good yesterday, I should be able to play keeper against LASK and not have to face a team with more possession and more shots. That was a team-wide letdown.
 
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Zososoxfan

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If they can nab Milik without sending lots of money, they absolutely should do it. However, the more important need is another DMF. Other than that, the only other business should be selling. You always keep an eye out for an opportunity to improve the XI (CB most likely), but that would be more expensive and the squad is fairly settled at this point.

And +1 on Gaz > Hart for NLD if necessary. Joe Hart has sucked for a long time and I miss Gaz!
 

Kliq

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Obviously Kane, Son and Hojbjerg were great, but that was probably the best game Serge Aurier has played for Tottenham. He made a pivotal play to launch the counter for the first goal and consistently won his battles in the second half when he had a lot to do.

Bergwijn didn't do anything spectacular but showed a lot of skill in the defensive half winning balls and getting himself out of danger, big effort from him today.
 

coremiller

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Obviously Kane, Son and Hojbjerg were great, but that was probably the best game Serge Aurier has played for Tottenham. He made a pivotal play to launch the counter for the first goal and consistently won his battles in the second half when he had a lot to do.

Bergwijn didn't do anything spectacular but showed a lot of skill in the defensive half winning balls and getting himself out of danger, big effort from him today.
Aurier is definitely playing much better, but the tactics are also helping him out much more. He's getting a lot of support from the defensive midfielders, so he's not on an island defensively anymore and doesn't need to make as many risky challenges. And he's no longer responsible for nearly as much ball progression and attacking creativity. Spurs had used Trippier in that role (which suited Trippier's abilities) and when Trippier left they just plugged Aurier in and hoped for more of the same, which was a disaster. Remember all those games last year where Spurs' attack was hitting long balls to Aurier in space and hoping Aurier could put in a decent cross? That's all gone now.
 

Zososoxfan

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Obviously Kane, Son and Hojbjerg were great, but that was probably the best game Serge Aurier has played for Tottenham. He made a pivotal play to launch the counter for the first goal and consistently won his battles in the second half when he had a lot to do.

Bergwijn didn't do anything spectacular but showed a lot of skill in the defensive half winning balls and getting himself out of danger, big effort from him today.
Aurier is definitely playing much better, but the tactics are also helping him out much more. He's getting a lot of support from the defensive midfielders, so he's not on an island defensively anymore and doesn't need to make as many risky challenges. And he's no longer responsible for nearly as much ball progression and attacking creativity. Spurs had used Trippier in that role (which suited Trippier's abilities) and when Trippier left they just plugged Aurier in and hoped for more of the same, which was a disaster. Remember all those games last year where Spurs' attack was hitting long balls to Aurier in space and hoping Aurier could put in a decent cross? That's all gone now.
North London is White!! Brilliant match yesterday. Took care of an overmatched opponent. Not even upset that the second half was a bit of a snooze.

Everything you both wrote about Serge is correct. He had his best Spurs match in some time and that's primarily due to limiting what's asked of him. I think it was the Fighting Cock that said you can ask Serge to attack or defend, but not both. With a dynamic player like Reguilon on the other side and the attack doing very well, Spurs can afford to keep Serge as a stay home defender. Also like @coremiller wrote, Sissoko and Bergy provided Serge a lot of help and really it was those two who were defending the touchline with Serge tucked in and shielding Toby, especially in the second half. Nevertheless, Serge was a rock and he deserves credit for that. Armchair analysis, but it seems like having Doherty around to push him also helps.

Relatedly, Bergy gets a ton of credit for putting in a shift. He's a talented attacker that's being asked to work in defense a ton and he's doing so ably. I think of him as a younger and more promising Moura. Lucas is a better dribbler, but otherwise I like Bergy's offensive skills more. Importantly both are hardworking wingers that are playing like old school wide MF and it's pretty fun to watch.

Hoj and Sissoko were stupendous yesterday. They both put in a ton of work and kept everyone organized. They are a very solid double pivot pair for Mou's system. Dier and Toby (great and unexpected to have him back) were solid at the back and shut down a mostly anemic Arsenal attack.

What else can you say about Kane and Sonny? Sonny's curler was amazing. While in some regards it was just a typical curler you see most weeks, when you go back and watch the replay and see the distance of the shot--wow. Kane is the second best pure striker in the world at the moment behind Lewa for me. His ability to hold up play and unlock defenses on the counter with vision and long passing is uncanny. His finishing ability, strength, heading, etc.--just a complete package.

GLC was good yesterday and his pressing was his best asset. He created one of the turnovers leading to a goal. All that said, his play still left something to be desired and I don't think he's part of the best XI just yet, but he's the 12th man who can sub for 3-4 different positions without requiring a huge change to the system.
 

coremiller

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I have very conflicted feelings about Sissoko. He reads the game very well, he covers ground, he works hard, his positioning is good. But he's so limited on the ball that it really hinders the team's ability to hold possession and build up attacks when they're not hitting the direct counters. Nobody wants to pass him the ball, and when he gets the ball he never does anything with it, always a sideways or backwards pass. His passing numbers are awful for a midfielder: only two key passes (passes leading directly to a shot) all season. Only two passes completed into the penalty area all season. Only 2.02 passes into the final third/90, only 1.55 progressive passes/90 (both worse than most of Spurs' defenders). And the mazy dribbling runs that he used to pop up with occasionally have completely disappeared.

Now it hasn't really mattered that much lately because the direct counters have been paying off and Spurs have been playing with the lead a lot. But Spurs aren't going to score in the first 15 minutes every week. And I worry that when Spurs play Liverpool Liverpool are going to set pressing traps for Sissoko/Aurier and it's going to be a mess. I just don't know if you can really carry a true pure destroyer/attacking dead weight like that in midfield any more and be successful at the highest level.
 

DJnVa

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I think in a perfect world, that midfield transitions to GLC, Ndombele, and Hoj, with Sissoko playing the FA Cup games, the Europa matches (well, not any more as we move to knockout), and giving the others a game off here and there, and subbing into games where we are protecting leads, etc. But last year Ndombele couldn't get going, and this year it seems GLC is fighting it a bit, so we can't roll that out there yet.
 

Zososoxfan

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I have very conflicted feelings about Sissoko. He reads the game very well, he covers ground, he works hard, his positioning is good. But he's so limited on the ball that it really hinders the team's ability to hold possession and build up attacks when they're not hitting the direct counters. Nobody wants to pass him the ball, and when he gets the ball he never does anything with it, always a sideways or backwards pass. His passing numbers are awful for a midfielder: only two key passes (passes leading directly to a shot) all season. Only two passes completed into the penalty area all season. Only 2.02 passes into the final third/90, only 1.55 progressive passes/90 (both worse than most of Spurs' defenders). And the mazy dribbling runs that he used to pop up with occasionally have completely disappeared.

Now it hasn't really mattered that much lately because the direct counters have been paying off and Spurs have been playing with the lead a lot. But Spurs aren't going to score in the first 15 minutes every week. And I worry that when Spurs play Liverpool Liverpool are going to set pressing traps for Sissoko/Aurier and it's going to be a mess. I just don't know if you can really carry a true pure destroyer/attacking dead weight like that in midfield any more and be successful at the highest level.
I mostly agree with this. However, with all the great attacking tools and Mourinho's setup, a hardworking MF who can let everyone else do their thing is valuable. He protects Serge, he covers for Reguilon when he gets forward--he covers all the spaces that Hoj can't cover himself, he pitches in to help the CBs in the middle, allows GLC to play more forward, helps Bergy on the wing, etc. Many Barca fans were critical of Rakitic over the years, and while Rak fell off a cliff since the WC Final, from 2014-2018 he was the glue guy that let everyone else flourish. Sissoko's not as good as Rak in his prime, but Spurs aren't looking at a 5 or 3-year window--more like 1 or 2 if we're lucky. Moreover, he's still good at hold up play which can help relieve pressure, and if Spurs get into a MF dogfight with any team (looking at you Liverpool) I could see his skillset being more useful. Moreover, even if his hardwork just eases the load on Hoj for an hour or so, bringing on fresh legs to adapt to the game script in the final 15-30 is always a nice option to have.
 

DJnVa

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Solid 2-0 win to win the group--Vinicius with first (off great free kick by Bale) and GLC with second. Antwerp did not have touch in Spurs box until 91st minute.
 
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SeoulSoxFan

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Solid 2-0 win to win the group--Vinicius with first (off great free kick by Bale) and Son with second. Antwerp did not have touch in Spurs box until 91st minute.
GLC got the second goal, although Son was on the play.

Kane was brilliant again on the pass. Mo played one of the better games in recent memory.

I am not getting my hopes up for a fully destructive KBS line this season. Bale's kick essentially got Vinicius the first goal but it's obvious he is still not fit enough to start on EPL matches.

Glad to see Ndombele get back on the pitch as well.
 

DJnVa

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Speaking of Dele (oh, we weren't?)

 

Zososoxfan

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Speaking of Dele (oh, we weren't?)

Levy and Mou HAVE to accept a loan deal for Dele. I hope that Dele's been a professional this year so far, but since he's not even playing in UEL matches I have to imagine his patience will be gone if he's not moved in January. He deserves that.
 

DJnVa

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Blech. I'm unsure why we could sit back and absorb Chelsea and Man City and I felt pretty good, but today Palace seemed scary for long stretches.

But, thanks to Fulham, we're still sitting up top.
 

DJnVa

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Spurs draw Wolfsberger in knockout round. That would *seem* to be a good draw, as they are currently 7th in the Austrian Bundesliga, with only 4 wins in their first 10 league games and a -3 GD.
 

Kliq

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I can't watch today since I do actually have to get some work done, but a very strange lineup from Jose. Bale is apparently ill and won't be available. The big question mark for me is Davies starting over Reguillon...
 

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Well that Firmino goal ranks right below the Sissoko "handball" and costing us Mookie Betts in top three reasons I hate Liverpool.

I don't know what we have to do to see GLC & Ndombele on the pitch together. This was the match for it. This was the match for Jose to say "fuck it" and take the game to the opponent in the last 20 minutes.

I was wondering about the Reguillon starting on the bench thing too, but I thought Davies played well.

Bergwijn & Lucas seem purpose built to frustrate. Jose has definitely brought the best out of both of them, but the lack of (non Amsterdam) finishing from the two of them is so frustrating.
 

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I swear Bergy is snake bitten. I was sure that was going in. Kane's header too.

Mou trolling Klop after the game is not enough to lighten my mood. Should have come away with at least a draw.
 

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I'm continually whining about Mourinho's bus-parking and failure to allow his mustangs to push the ball in attack. Had become quite accustomed to the 70% possession rates enjoyed during the AVB/Poch eras. What I'm trying to wrap my brain around is the more informed rationale that the current team is built to win on the counter, not off possession, and this style of play makes sense.

Can't deny the results overall have been encouraging, just tough for my less well-trained eyes to see.
 

Jimy Hendrix

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The Liverpool match did expose how the counterattack is one piece away from where it needs to be. Could be Bergwijn actually hitting form, could be Bale finding some sort of form and fitness, could be Lucas going on one of his hot streaks.

I listed those in about the order I think they're probable, Bergwijn was really in all the right spots to win that game yesterday, it just didn't land for him.
 

coremiller

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The Liverpool match did expose how the counterattack is one piece away from where it needs to be. Could be Bergwijn actually hitting form, could be Bale finding some sort of form and fitness, could be Lucas going on one of his hot streaks.

I listed those in about the order I think they're probable, Bergwijn was really in all the right spots to win that game yesterday, it just didn't land for him.
Lucas has had just about exactly one hot streak in his Spurs career. It just happened to coincide with a champions league semifinal.
 

scott bankheadcase

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Lucas has had just about exactly one hot streak in his Spurs career. It just happened to coincide with a champions league semifinal.
While I agree, he also seems to get himself in the right place a lot more than Stevie B. I'm still hopeful for Stevie, but Lucas probably buries one, if not both of those chances yesterday.

I'm hoping for the run of games coming up, Bale gets more of a look. He should be the right type of player in our next set of games. Don't need quite as high a workrate as we've needed this last month.
 

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The Liverpool match did expose how the counterattack is one piece away from where it needs to be. Could be Bergwijn actually hitting form, could be Bale finding some sort of form and fitness, could be Lucas going on one of his hot streaks.

I listed those in about the order I think they're probable, Bergwijn was really in all the right spots to win that game yesterday, it just didn't land for him.
I don't think the problem is Bergy, or rather I don't think the problem is Bergy alone. I'm well and truly puzzled why Mou didn't play Tanguy yesterday, even for a 30 minute sprint at the end. Bergy hit the post on an opportunity that would've made Mou look pretty damn smart. But what rubs me the wrong way is that Mou's setup yesterday was intended to create a handful of very good/excellent chances and the players HAVE TO convert at least 2 for it to work. Liverpool had tons of attacks and if any single one failed, the players didn't get too worked up because they knew they'd get another crack. Tanguy would've helped possess the ball, even if just to allow the counter to build before he could release it to the outlet. I understand that he's more limited defensively than Bergy, Sissoko, and GLC but even playing as an AMF in a low block would allow him to provide value. The answer to why he didn't play is because he couldn't do what any of those other 3 MF did on defense, but that just brings me back around to the idea that the setup was too defensive, and not necessarily pragmatic, from Mou.
 

SeoulSoxFan

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The more I get to know about Tottenham v. Arsenal rivalry (holy sh*t), clips like this are seen in a much different context:


Basically, Martin Keown pooping on Son's Puskas winning goal.
 

coremiller

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I don't think the problem is Bergy, or rather I don't think the problem is Bergy alone. I'm well and truly puzzled why Mou didn't play Tanguy yesterday, even for a 30 minute sprint at the end. Bergy hit the post on an opportunity that would've made Mou look pretty damn smart. But what rubs me the wrong way is that Mou's setup yesterday was intended to create a handful of very good/excellent chances and the players HAVE TO convert at least 2 for it to work. Liverpool had tons of attacks and if any single one failed, the players didn't get too worked up because they knew they'd get another crack. Tanguy would've helped possess the ball, even if just to allow the counter to build before he could release it to the outlet. I understand that he's more limited defensively than Bergy, Sissoko, and GLC but even playing as an AMF in a low block would allow him to provide value. The answer to why he didn't play is because he couldn't do what any of those other 3 MF did on defense, but that just brings me back around to the idea that the setup was too defensive, and not necessarily pragmatic, from Mou.
I too would like to see the team play less passively, but it's hard to complain much when Mou's plan worked. Playing away against the best team in the league, Spurs created four big chances to Liverpool's zero. The problem was that Liverpool scored two half-chances (one a super-fluky double deflection, the other from a set piece and created by a borderline foul) and Spurs scored only one of theirs. That happens sometimes.

I think Mou can be criticized much more for his passive approach against weaker opposition (e.g. the Palace game) than for the game plan against Liverpool. Playing more aggressively against Liverpool could have given Pool's attackers more chances to attack the Spurs backline in space/in transition, which is a big mismatch.