Tottenham Hotspur 2019-20: Jose can you see?

coremiller

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Hoo boy this is not good:


Sources have told ESPN FC that some senior players are not happy with the tactical systems, starting with the diamond midfield 4-3-1-2, recently used by Pochettino. It enables Son Heung Min and Harry Kane to play together up front but the midfield is more exposed, as are the flanks, and Spurs have only kept two clean sheets this season (against Crystal Palace and Colchester) in 10 matches in all competitions.

Then there is the flat 4-4-2, also used this season, which left Tottenham too weak in central midfield, as we saw against Arsenal. Against Bayern, Pochettino started with a 4-3-1-2 and then moved to a 4-4-2 after 30 minutes when his team started to struggle. Neither worked. "We get tired too quickly physically when we play with a diamond midfield," Moussa Sissoko admitted on French TV channel RMC Sport on Tuesday night.
FWIW I tend to agree with the players here, the diamond has been ineffective for quite a while now.
 

Zososoxfan

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Other xG models have Bayern even lower. I'm increasingly convinced this match was a gigantic fluke. But it looks really bad to ship seven goals at home.
At 2-1 or even 3-1 I think it would've been fair to call this fluky, but the 4th goal was anything but. It was a reflection of Winksy's horrendous day.
 

SeoulSoxFan

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Hoo boy this is not good:
FWIW I tend to agree with the players here, the diamond has been ineffective for quite a while now.
SK press is running with the idea that Son & Kane combo short of a fully healthy DESK line no longer works.

FWIW, there are YT clips of Spurs fans talking about a rift between Vertonghen & Kane, due to Kane sleeping with another teammate's wife (obviously an unconfirmed rumor).
 

Kliq

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SK press is running with the idea that Son & Kane combo short of a fully healthy DESK line no longer works.

FWIW, there are YT clips of Spurs fans talking about a rift between Vertonghen & Kane, due to Kane sleeping with another teammate's wife (obviously an unconfirmed rumor).
The one I heard was that Eriksen was slepping with Vertonghen's wife.

I'm not sure what to make of yesterday's game. When they were playing the diamond, they were doing great, but after the Kimmich goal they switched back to the 4-4-2 and conceded the midfield, were they proceeded to get annihilated. Maybe, as Sissoko alluded to, the players don't have the fitness to play the diamond with that kind of intensity for 90 minutes, and the plan was always to come out pressing earlier and then switch back to a more conservative approach after 30 minutes. The issue was that the entire back line was a disaster for the entire game, and that coupled with a lack of effort at the end and fantastic finishing from Bayern, led to the lop-sided score.
 

OilCanShotTupac

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Was listening to a PL podcast on my commute- it was pointed out that the Bayern game was Spurs' worst home loss ever (137 years).
 

coremiller

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The one I heard was that Eriksen was slepping with Vertonghen's wife.

I'm not sure what to make of yesterday's game. When they were playing the diamond, they were doing great, but after the Kimmich goal they switched back to the 4-4-2 and conceded the midfield, were they proceeded to get annihilated. Maybe, as Sissoko alluded to, the players don't have the fitness to play the diamond with that kind of intensity for 90 minutes, and the plan was always to come out pressing earlier and then switch back to a more conservative approach after 30 minutes. The issue was that the entire back line was a disaster for the entire game, and that coupled with a lack of effort at the end and fantastic finishing from Bayern, led to the lop-sided score.
Yeah, the big rumor is about Vertonghen and Eriksen, but they've both denied it:

View: https://twitter.com/JanVertonghen/status/1179397641131741186
 

Kliq

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Eh, this thread has already been miserable enough without a reminder of what every stupid Gooner said in their media piece.
 

Zososoxfan

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How about this--let's leave aside the actual performance against Brighton because I take that as a symptom not the illness. The illness IMO is some established players bristling under Poch, Levy, and Spurs generally. Who are those players?

#1 in my mind has to be Lucas. Lucas was a hero down the stretch last year, but he has been mostly stapled to the bench this season. Even after GLC went down and Dele was still injured, Lucas wasn't seeing much PT. Lamela has stepped in admirably, but I thought the spot was Lucas' to lose. Others have guessed Dier, but he's so bad at the moment that his lack of PT doesn't tell me he's in the dog house, but rather he just may not be good enough.

Eriksen was benched early on and has since only looked like himself a couple of times. He agitated for the move to Real this summer and he's likely not on board anymore with this project.

So who else fits the bill of a player that could've been used these past couple of months who hasn't gotten the PT you'd expect? KWP, Serge (although he's finally started the last ~3/5 or 4/6 matches), Davies, Wanyama (doubtful he's capable of upsetting this locker room)?

Kane, Winks, Sissoko, Son, Dele, Lamela, and Tanguay have all played a lot and I doubt they are the problem.

This leaves Toby, Jan, and Rose. All were rumored to be heading out this summer at one point or another, but Rose and Toby both started from the beginning. Jan was benched for the first 2-3 matches but has since reentered the lineup as a regular.

So the question is, if you are on team Poch/Levy (I am), who are the players fomenting this unrest and do they need to go?
 

Kliq

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How about this--let's leave aside the actual performance against Brighton because I take that as a symptom not the illness. The illness IMO is some established players bristling under Poch, Levy, and Spurs generally. Who are those players?

#1 in my mind has to be Lucas. Lucas was a hero down the stretch last year, but he has been mostly stapled to the bench this season. Even after GLC went down and Dele was still injured, Lucas wasn't seeing much PT. Lamela has stepped in admirably, but I thought the spot was Lucas' to lose. Others have guessed Dier, but he's so bad at the moment that his lack of PT doesn't tell me he's in the dog house, but rather he just may not be good enough.

Eriksen was benched early on and has since only looked like himself a couple of times. He agitated for the move to Real this summer and he's likely not on board anymore with this project.

So who else fits the bill of a player that could've been used these past couple of months who hasn't gotten the PT you'd expect? KWP, Serge (although he's finally started the last ~3/5 or 4/6 matches), Davies, Wanyama (doubtful he's capable of upsetting this locker room)?

Kane, Winks, Sissoko, Son, Dele, Lamela, and Tanguay have all played a lot and I doubt they are the problem.

This leaves Toby, Jan, and Rose. All were rumored to be heading out this summer at one point or another, but Rose and Toby both started from the beginning. Jan was benched for the first 2-3 matches but has since reentered the lineup as a regular.

So the question is, if you are on team Poch/Levy (I am), who are the players fomenting this unrest and do they need to go?
I'm not super clear on what his health status is, but Dele hasn't played nearly as much as he probably should be. He should be starting every game and playing the full 90' a lot. Unless he is really hurt, I don't see how you can reasonably bench a player that has been so important to the team success over the years and can play a number of different roles all over the midfield. Why you suddenly can't play both him and Eriksen at the same time is a mystery to me.

Rose had that Watford rumor at the end of the transfer window but has arguably been their best player this season. His pace, endurance, creativity and general feisty-ness from the LB position has been one of the few positives from the season.
 

Zososoxfan

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I'm not super clear on what his health status is, but Dele hasn't played nearly as much as he probably should be. He should be starting every game and playing the full 90' a lot. Unless he is really hurt, I don't see how you can reasonably bench a player that has been so important to the team success over the years and can play a number of different roles all over the midfield. Why you suddenly can't play both him and Eriksen at the same time is a mystery to me.

Rose had that Watford rumor at the end of the transfer window but has arguably been their best player this season. His pace, endurance, creativity and general feisty-ness from the LB position has been one of the few positives from the season.
My understanding is that Dele is still working back into fitness from injury. And I love Rose's game unconditionally. He didn't lose a 50-50 ball from January-June of this year.
 

Kliq

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With Lloris out until January, how do you guys feel about Gazzaniga? I haven't seen anything of him outside of his first appearance.
He doesn't have Lloris' skill on the ball (Southampton miscue aside) but I'm okay rolling with Gazzaniga. He has great size and is a pretty good shot-stopper, and played pretty well last season when he took over the backup role from Vorm when Lloris missed the first few games of the season.
 

coremiller

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How about this--let's leave aside the actual performance against Brighton because I take that as a symptom not the illness. The illness IMO is some established players bristling under Poch, Levy, and Spurs generally. Who are those players?

#1 in my mind has to be Lucas. Lucas was a hero down the stretch last year, but he has been mostly stapled to the bench this season. Even after GLC went down and Dele was still injured, Lucas wasn't seeing much PT. Lamela has stepped in admirably, but I thought the spot was Lucas' to lose. Others have guessed Dier, but he's so bad at the moment that his lack of PT doesn't tell me he's in the dog house, but rather he just may not be good enough.

Eriksen was benched early on and has since only looked like himself a couple of times. He agitated for the move to Real this summer and he's likely not on board anymore with this project.

So who else fits the bill of a player that could've been used these past couple of months who hasn't gotten the PT you'd expect? KWP, Serge (although he's finally started the last ~3/5 or 4/6 matches), Davies, Wanyama (doubtful he's capable of upsetting this locker room)?

Kane, Winks, Sissoko, Son, Dele, Lamela, and Tanguay have all played a lot and I doubt they are the problem.

This leaves Toby, Jan, and Rose. All were rumored to be heading out this summer at one point or another, but Rose and Toby both started from the beginning. Jan was benched for the first 2-3 matches but has since reentered the lineup as a regular.

So the question is, if you are on team Poch/Levy (I am), who are the players fomenting this unrest and do they need to go?
Lucas has been fine and has played well in his limited minutes. I don't think he's the problem.

Some mixture of Toby, Jan, Rose, Eriksen, Wanyama, Aurier, and maybe Rose are the likely trouble-makers. Those are all the guys who either tried to leave or whom Poch tried to get rid of this summer. Rose has played ok, the other haven't. Aurier has been a disaster, his decision-making is terrible. He got sent off against Southampton, maybe should have gotten sent off against Bayern, and got repeatedly roasted by Serge Gnabry (it's not a good sign when the guy you're marking scores four times).

The dirty little secret to this season so far has been the decline in Toby and Jan. Spurs could get away with a weak defensive midfield presence in the past because those two would clean up the mess and prevent opponents from getting good shots even as opponents frequently got into dangerous positions. Opponents are getting more of those good shots now, there are fewer successful tackles/blocks/interventions. That in turn is making the midfield issues more glaring. They're both over 30 and in the last year of their contracts; seems a good possibility at this point they'll both be gone by next summer if not sooner.

But the malaise has really infected the whole team. NOBODY was trying on Saturday. When Winks came on he was notable not because he was good (he wasn't), but because, as 'Arry would say, he fucking ran around a lot. There was no movement off the ball in possession, no intensity to regain the ball when it was lost, no hustle at all. Even players you don't normally think of as troublemakers, like Kane and Lamela, were terrible.
 

Zososoxfan

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Mauricio Pochettino plans to accelerate a clear-out of his underperforming Tottenham Hotspur players in January after a turbulent start to the campaign.

Eric Dier is among several players who will be made available with the aim of freshening up a squad that has lost more matches than they have won since the start of February.

The England midfielder, 25, started his first league match of the season in the 3-0 defeat by Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday and will be joined on the list by Christian Eriksen, Serge Aurier, Victor Wanyama and Danny Rose, all of whom Tottenham expected to have sold in the summer. The negative atmosphere at the club has partly stemmed from players finding out that they were not wanted, but then not sold.
...
Eriksen has admitted that doing well in the past five years has raised the pressure on the Spurs players. The Denmark playmaker said that he felt they had not enjoyed the rub of the green this season. “Expectations for us are at a completely different level,” he said. “We have to win every time and it’s the same feeling we have as players as well. A lot of focus quickly becomes negative, but the cause of the results is difficult to answer. We do not have the same luck as before. This is perhaps what we have been missing more than anything. We can’t close the matches.”

Welp, there's a likely list of the culprits. First of all, I had no effin idea that Dier is 25 years old. I pegged him at 30+. I guess injuries just ravaged him?

Of that list, I would miss Rose the most. He's a phenomenal all around player who is brave and wins a ton of loose balls. If he's not buying into Spurs/Poch anymore, I can see how that is a real blow to team morale. Sess needs to get healthy because I don't know how many matches I can stomach Davies starting at LB.

Eriksen is obviously a hugely skilled player but he hasn't shown the consistency to be at a bigger club. Perhaps getting surrounded by more talented players will allow him to reach a higher level or become more consistent, but this may just be more of WHL/Poch becoming stale to him. More importantly, Spurs have other players who can fill his role.

I love me some Serge but he's not good enough to be complaining about his place here. If he's not into the program, he should go but some real options also need to be brought in.

Wanyama??? LOL.
 

coremiller

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The real problem here seems to be that Pochettino's plans for the squad didn't match up with Levy's transfer policy. Poch should not be telling players they're not part of the future and should expect to be moved on if Levy isn't actually going to move them on and bring in replacements. That's a recipe for dysfunction.
 

Time to Mo Vaughn

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Welp, there's a likely list of the culprits. First of all, I had no effin idea that Dier is 25 years old. I pegged him at 30+. I guess injuries just ravaged him?

Of that list, I would miss Rose the most. He's a phenomenal all around player who is brave and wins a ton of loose balls. If he's not buying into Spurs/Poch anymore, I can see how that is a real blow to team morale. Sess needs to get healthy because I don't know how many matches I can stomach Davies starting at LB.

Eriksen is obviously a hugely skilled player but he hasn't shown the consistency to be at a bigger club. Perhaps getting surrounded by more talented players will allow him to reach a higher level or become more consistent, but this may just be more of WHL/Poch becoming stale to him. More importantly, Spurs have other players who can fill his role.

I love me some Serge but he's not good enough to be complaining about his place here. If he's not into the program, he should go but some real options also need to be brought in.

Wanyama??? LOL.
The rest of the players make sense, but why would any club give up almost any money for Eriksen. As of January, they'll be able to sign him to a contract with free summer transfer. The only reason you'd pay a fee for him now is if you desperately need him for the remainder of the season. Maybe Real Madrid will feel like they're in that position with their current form, but he also can't play in the Champions League.
 

67YAZ

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As a Liverpool fan, this would be wonderful entertainment, though you Spurs supporters seem like decent folks who don't deserve this.

I wonder why Jose hasn't been angling for Milan. Serie A seems like a league where his general tactical approach would still work well enough, and Milan has the talent to push for a Champions League spot. And unlike Spain and England, I don't think Mourinho's reputation has gone to shit there.
 

Zososoxfan

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Yeah I don't see that happening at all. Merely crap against the wall during an international break because reading about Foyth's performance isn't riveting enough on its own (he looked pretty good and is definitely healthy!).
 

coremiller

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Yeah I don't see that happening at all. Merely crap against the wall during an international break because reading about Foyth's performance isn't riveting enough on its own (he looked pretty good and is definitely healthy!).
I guess he was healthy enough to play, but it seems weird to me that Spurs would have released him for international duty when he hasn't been fit enough to play for Spurs yet this season.

I think the RB role is Foyth's for the time being if he wants it -- neither KWP nor Aurier has staked a solid claim to be first choice -- although with the Toby/Jan drama his future may lie elsewhere.
 

Zososoxfan

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I guess he was healthy enough to play, but it seems weird to me that Spurs would have released him for international duty when he hasn't been fit enough to play for Spurs yet this season.

I think the RB role is Foyth's for the time being if he wants it -- neither KWP nor Aurier has staked a solid claim to be first choice -- although with the Toby/Jan drama his future may lie elsewhere.
He's been on the bench for the past 2-3 weeks apparently. IOW, Poch's decision for him not to play, not a question about health/fitness. Insert DOUBLE shruggi emoji.
 

DJnVa

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He's been on the bench for the past 2-3 weeks apparently. IOW, Poch's decision for him not to play, not a question about health/fitness. Insert DOUBLE shruggi emoji.
He was on the bench for the Southampton game, but that's it. He was not on the squad for Brighton, Bayern, or Leicester, and I can't find their subs for Colchester.
 

Zososoxfan

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He was on the bench for the Southampton game, but that's it. He was not on the squad for Brighton, Bayern, or Leicester, and I can't find their subs for Colchester.
Good catch. Nevertheless, my understanding is that Foyth has been cleared by medical staff for weeks and Poch hasn't selected him for the squad (until Southampton that is).
 

Zososoxfan

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Another week another disastrous result. Dele was terrible IMO but recuperated his day by scoring an opportunistic goal. MF was terrible. Winks just can't handle it alone. I'm an unabashed Super Jan guy, but he wasn't at his best today. Same with Rose. Same with Aurier. Not sure what it will take to turn this around.
 

Tangled Up In Red

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Helps that it's Red Star, but the 4-2-3-1 sure looks better.
2-0 after 20.
I really like the positivity and forward looking of Ndombele!
 

SeoulSoxFan

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I thought Ben Davis was superb. Ndombele finally looked settled in too.

Son was the first Asian player to make the Ballon d’Or shortlist of 30 and so happy he potted two.

That was one of the better Kane-Son-Dele showing in a long time.
 

DJnVa

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Sissoko and Ndombele seemed to work much better than Winks with either of them. Winks always seems to play well when I watch him, but the team seemed to play well yesterday without him.
 

coremiller

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The good news is that the thing where the players laze about looking totally uninterested in trying to win a football match has gone away. The lack of commitment and mental collapse we saw in the second half against Bayern and against Brighton has gone. They showed up and fought, and weren't totally outclassed away to the European champions/league leaders. That's progress, I guess?

The bad news is that they still didn't play that well. Winks was really awful yesterday. He got repeatedly steamrolled by Liverpool's midfield: he couldn't hold up in 50/50 challenges, he gave away several fouls in dangerous areas, and he offered no positive passing or possession play. Eriksen was bad too and had a terrible time tracking Robertson but at least he was being used in defensive wide-midfield role for which he's not very well-suited -- he just doesn't have the pace/athleticism to run up and down with Robertson all day. That was a tactical sacrifice Poch made to get Eriksen's creativity on the pitch. But Winks is a deep-lying CM -- if he can't win tackles and hold onto the ball, what is he even there for?

The team looked much better once Ndombele came on for Winks -- suddenly they had a midfielder who was unfazed by the counterpress and could get the ball to the forwards in space quickly and accurately. Ndombele was the best player on the pitch for the 25 minutes he played. I have no idea why he didn't start.
 

Zososoxfan

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The good news is that the thing where the players laze about looking totally uninterested in trying to win a football match has gone away. The lack of commitment and mental collapse we saw in the second half against Bayern and against Brighton has gone. They showed up and fought, and weren't totally outclassed away to the European champions/league leaders. That's progress, I guess?

The bad news is that they still didn't play that well. Winks was really awful yesterday. He got repeatedly steamrolled by Liverpool's midfield: he couldn't hold up in 50/50 challenges, he gave away several fouls in dangerous areas, and he offered no positive passing or possession play. Eriksen was bad too and had a terrible time tracking Robertson but at least he was being used in defensive wide-midfield role for which he's not very well-suited -- he just doesn't have the pace/athleticism to run up and down with Robertson all day. That was a tactical sacrifice Poch made to get Eriksen's creativity on the pitch. But Winks is a deep-lying CM -- if he can't win tackles and hold onto the ball, what is he even there for?

The team looked much better once Ndombele came on for Winks -- suddenly they had a midfielder who was unfazed by the counterpress and could get the ball to the forwards in space quickly and accurately. Ndombele was the best player on the pitch for the 25 minutes he played. I have no idea why he didn't start.
TBF, Tanguy has not looked great so far. IMO Poch has given him as much PT as he has due to injuries and the ceiling he offers--i.e. these were necessary growing pains. But you are absolutely correct that he and the team looked infinitely better when he came on.

I think your criticism of Eriksen is fair and spot on about getting his creativity on the field in an unusual manner. However, I think Dele should be criticized even more. If you never understood the saying that a player was anonymous in a match, you should watch this. Dele was given minimal defensive duties (pseudo checking of TAA, but with a better defensive FB behind him in Rose than Eriksen with Aurier) and contributed very little in attack. With Lamela's hot start I'm legitimately shocked Dele got this start and stayed on the pitch as long as he did.

This is going to sound completely batshit insane, but I honestly think Spurs have the ability to make their weakness in MF into a strength this year. The return of Gio bodes very well--he is an incredibly versatile MF who can play deeper alongside Sissoko and do more of the central passing (the Winks attack role) or he can play ahead of Tanguy and be a creator (the Eriksen/Lamela role). A MF 3 of Sissoko/Tanguy/GLC or even a MF 4 of Sissoko-Winks-Tanguy-GLC seem like they would function well and complement one another. The former can look like a 4-2-3-1 if desired too.
 

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I was flitting between the Arsenal/Palace match and the Liverpool/Spurs match, but until reading the post above - i had no idea Dele was playing yesterday. I'm not trying to be snarky or smug or anything.
 

Zososoxfan

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I was flitting between the Arsenal/Palace match and the Liverpool/Spurs match, but until reading the post above - i had no idea Dele was playing yesterday. I'm not trying to be snarky or smug or anything.
Like I said, Spurs fans have generally given Dele a pass and I'm not clear why. He was mostly anonymous and poor against Watford too, but does get credit for his hustle goal at the finish to save a point.

Similarly, people were criticizing Sissoko after yesterday and I just don't understand why. He's the closest thing we have to a true DMF and has played well when deployed as such. He's pretty good getting the ball forward too, although he badly misplayed a thru ball to Son on a promising attack in the waning moments yesterday that was cringeworthy. But again, if you consider him as a pivot making that mistake (as you should IMO), it becomes less scathing.

No matter how you setup Spurs, they really are lacking any viable option for a RM/RFB. When Sess is healthy, they may as well try Rose there.

TL;DR: Zoso's Current Best XI (4-1-4-1):

Gazz
Foyth-Toby-Jan/Sanchez-Rose
Sissoko
Son-Tanguy-GLC-Lamela
Kane

Definitely a lopsided formation, but Son will drop a bit and help in the Tanguy-GLC area of the mid and be the width player on the right. Rose pushing up and giving support on the left, so as always more of a 3-2-4-1 in attack with Tanguy-GLC giving cover when Rose gets far upfield. Lamela ahead of GLC and Tanguy, mostly centrally, but combining with runners and Kane hanging on the backline. Dele, Eriksen, and Lucas giving options off the bench.
 
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67YAZ

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However, I think Dele should be criticized even more. If you never understood the saying that a player was anonymous in a match, you should watch this. Dele was given minimal defensive duties (pseudo checking of TAA, but with a better defensive FB behind him in Rose than Eriksen with Aurier) and contributed very little in attack. With Lamela's hot start I'm legitimately shocked Dele got this start and stayed on the pitch as long as he did.
This is right, and it killed Spurs. TAA has a monster game yesterday because he had no respect for Dele as an attacker or defender. Contrast that with the ManU match where Trent’s youthful impatience really showed. Ole has Rashford or Periera playing in the space behind and Ashley Young pressuring Trent whenever he had the ball. This led to a bunch of easily cleared early crosses and pointless overlaps by Jordan Henderson (I love the captain, but I think every opponent is happy to see him trying to swing in crosses). But too often Rose was left on an island trying to track TAA, Henderson, and Salah moving through his space.

On the other flank, Son was fantastic. He largely kept Robertson in check by dropping to pressure the ball and then exploding towards goal on every transition. By any measure, Son really has become on of the most exciting and complete attackers in the EPL. He's my nephew's favorite player, and I can't even give him grief about it.

In any case, Dele has lost the smirk and twinkle in his eye that he used to carry around the pitch like he was hatching some impish plan to embarrass the defenders. Poch has got to figure out how to rekindle his confidence. The Dele I've seen the last two weeks seems to be lost trying to process the game and when the ball does find him, he unloads it as quick as possible.

Spurs might look to what Jesse Marsch has been doing with his squad at Salzburg. He's got them playing a high press that's 4-4-2 in defense, 4-2-2-2 in transition, and 4-2-4 in attack. The way they're running it creates lots of vertical passing lanes, the kinds that would allow Kane & Son to terrorize defenders.
 

Dummy Hoy

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I was flitting between the Arsenal/Palace match and the Liverpool/Spurs match, but until reading the post above - i had no idea Dele was playing yesterday. I'm not trying to be snarky or smug or anything.
I first saw him in the 87’ or something like that.
 

Zososoxfan

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This is right, and it killed Spurs. TAA has a monster game yesterday because he had no respect for Dele as an attacker or defender. Contrast that with the ManU match where Trent’s youthful impatience really showed. Ole has Rashford or Periera playing in the space behind and Ashley Young pressuring Trent whenever he had the ball. This led to a bunch of easily cleared early crosses and pointless overlaps by Jordan Henderson (I love the captain, but I think every opponent is happy to see him trying to swing in crosses). But too often Rose was left on an island trying to track TAA, Henderson, and Salah moving through his space.

On the other flank, Son was fantastic. He largely kept Robertson in check by dropping to pressure the ball and then exploding towards goal on every transition. By any measure, Son really has become on of the most exciting and complete attackers in the EPL. He's my nephew's favorite player, and I can't even give him grief about it.

In any case, Dele has lost the smirk and twinkle in his eye that he used to carry around the pitch like he was hatching some impish plan to embarrass the defenders. Poch has got to figure out how to rekindle his confidence. The Dele I've seen the last two weeks seems to be lost trying to process the game and when the ball does find him, he unloads it as quick as possible.

Spurs might look to what Jesse Marsch has been doing with his squad at Salzburg. He's got them playing a high press that's 4-4-2 in defense, 4-2-2-2 in transition, and 4-2-4 in attack. The way they're running it creates lots of vertical passing lanes, the kinds that would allow Kane & Son to terrorize defenders.
Great post. Wide players (even FBs) are key at the highest level and Spurs are really hurting with no wide defensive player on the right side to push Aurier. The best option at this moment is to have Son track back a bit more but then you necessarily take away from his elite offense. Against most clubs, Poch has correctly just decided to have the right flank be a gap but against even or better sides, having Son as a true RMF may be the best option for now. I irrationally love Aurier but even I can see his glaring weaknesses at this point.

Your description of Dele is perfect--I've always been frustrated by his style (I'm a workrate FB, so it follows I would be annoyed by a wide player who doesn't track back effectively and holds the ball in attack) but have come to respect his ability to unlock defenses. One thing I've noticed with him this season is that he's not drifting inside much and it's hurting his game and the team's spacing. Dele has decent finishing ability and is a good passer, so I've been surprised that he hasn't cut in more. Rose gets upfield enough that he can be the wide player and it would be better for spacing. Under normal circumstances, it would be a good time to let Lucas get some run and have Dele watch a couple of matches from the bench but I get the sense that Lucas is one of the guys in Poch's doghouse.
 

coremiller

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Jul 14, 2005
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This is right, and it killed Spurs. TAA has a monster game yesterday because he had no respect for Dele as an attacker or defender. Contrast that with the ManU match where Trent’s youthful impatience really showed. Ole has Rashford or Periera playing in the space behind and Ashley Young pressuring Trent whenever he had the ball. This led to a bunch of easily cleared early crosses and pointless overlaps by Jordan Henderson (I love the captain, but I think every opponent is happy to see him trying to swing in crosses). But too often Rose was left on an island trying to track TAA, Henderson, and Salah moving through his space.

On the other flank, Son was fantastic. He largely kept Robertson in check by dropping to pressure the ball and then exploding towards goal on every transition. By any measure, Son really has become on of the most exciting and complete attackers in the EPL. He's my nephew's favorite player, and I can't even give him grief about it.

In any case, Dele has lost the smirk and twinkle in his eye that he used to carry around the pitch like he was hatching some impish plan to embarrass the defenders. Poch has got to figure out how to rekindle his confidence. The Dele I've seen the last two weeks seems to be lost trying to process the game and when the ball does find him, he unloads it as quick as possible.

Spurs might look to what Jesse Marsch has been doing with his squad at Salzburg. He's got them playing a high press that's 4-4-2 in defense, 4-2-2-2 in transition, and 4-2-4 in attack. The way they're running it creates lots of vertical passing lanes, the kinds that would allow Kane & Son to terrorize defenders.
It helped a lot that Salah missed the ManU match with injury. Liverpool's right is not nearly as threatening without him. I actually thought Danny Rose played a fairly good game matched up against Salah and TAA.

Also, Dele was not playing on the left, Son was. It was basically a 4-2-3-1 with Dele in the center of the attacking band, Son on the left, and Eriksen on the right, although it became more of a lopsided 4-3-3 in practice because Eriksen was forced deeper to deal with Robertson. Son was on TAA's flank, not on Robertson's side. Son did a fairly good job of helping out there, and he and Dele rotated through the space nicely when Son attacked the space in behind TAA. Eriksen was on an island on the other side against Robertson and it was a disaster.

I would have liked to see Dele man-mark Fabinho more. After about the first 20 minutes or so Fabinho became the key to Liverpool's attacking play because he was the one playing the quick, long lateral passes to switch the play to whichever fullback was open in space. We know Dele can be very good defensively in this kind of role (remember when he destroyed Jorginho against Chelsea?), but Fabinho was allowed too much time on the ball.

I too would have liked to see Lucas against Liverpool, but for Eriksen, not Dele. Having Lucas's pace on the left would have punished Robertson more from coming so far forward, and Lucas might have done a better job at tracking Robertson.

Spurs couldn't play an aggressive high press with that personnel because the Winks-Sissoko midfield pairing, and Winks in particular, aren't good enough. Winks can't cover ground and tackle in space defensive, which your CMs absolutely have to do in a high-pressing system like that. And against an even better counterpressing side in Liverpool, those failures would have resulted in Liverpool's front 3 repeatedly getting 1v1s in space against the Spurs back line.

I think Spurs will start pressing more aggressively once they finally drop Winks from the first XI in favor of Ndombele/Lo Celso.
 

Tangled Up In Red

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Fwiw, more than one ITK (including one I know personally) have commented that Dele had gone through some rough personal stuff recently, and is just coming out the other side of it. Coincides with him dropping commercial endorsements and hiring a personal nutritionist/chef in the past month. I don't know the details, but hopefully whatever the trouble was is long behind him.
 

Gunfighter 09

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So Ndombele is an every match that matters starter now, and LoCelso or Lamela (when healthy) over Eriksen, correct?