Tottenham: Lessons from the North London Derby

1. Pochettino needs to get proactive, again.

Against Manchester City and Arsenal, Spurs sat deep for large portions of each game, inviting pressure and looking to play on the break. One could argue these aren’t bad tactics for high profile away matches, but they only make sense if confident that the defence can actually hold out. Spurs’ can’t and everyone knows this by now.

The team is far better going forward, and against Arsenal they created chances almost at will when they actually pushed up the pitch and attacked. They might well have won this game if they’d spent more time doing that in the second half than waiting in their own penalty area to concede.

2. Danny Rose should be dropped

At times last season Rose appeared to be getting back to his swashbuckling 2015/2016 levels, but it hasn’t lasted. He’s stopped producing assists, he’s no longer a goal threat at the back post, and he’s become a liability defensively. His inexplicable fiddling about with the ball that led to Arsenal’s goal right before half-time was pretty much a droppable offence on its own. Ben Davies isn’t about to win any Ballons D’or, but he’s a reliable chap which can’t be said about Rose at the moment. Sessegnon may be the future, but the present needs to be a little more secure.

3. Speaking of the defence, it seems to have gone to pot.

A couple of seasons ago, this was the meanest defence in the league. The lack of a proper right back since Kyle Walker, the decline of the aforementioned Rose and the loss of the veritable barricade that was peak Dembele-Wanyama have left the still competent but now older Alderweireld and Vertonghen over-exposed. A proper midfield once Ndombele returns, might help.

3. Son can be more selfish

Countless times over the past few years there has been a moment, right before Son Hueng-Min has blasted the ball into the back of the net, when it has appeared for all the world that he’d made the wrong choice in going alone. He’s almost always right to do so.

In this game there were a few notable opportunities to run at Sokratis which the South Korean turned down, opting instead to turn inside and pass. Most of the Spurs squad seem to be lacking in confidence at the moment, and perhaps Son is no exception.

4. Lo Celso will delight

He only got another 10 minutes of action here, but there were enough clever passes, first-time flicks and displays of close control to know that a fully fit and integrated Lo Celso is going to be a massive asset to Spurs. The “Lo Celso vs. Arsenal” youtube video doesn’t exist yet, but look out for it.

5. Aurier must surely be reintegrated

Davinson Sanchez did alright given what he was up against, but he is not remotely a right-back. Kyle Walker-Peters is injured, but even if he wasn’t, he’s barely played any Premier League football. Juan Foyth is injured, but even if he wasn’t, he’s not a right back. Eric Dier is injured, but even if he wasn’t, he’s got the turning circle of a woolly mammoth and is not a right back.

Pochettino has been reluctant to pick Aurier since February and that’s entirely understandable. Aurier is erratic and seemingly a bit bonkers, but Spurs haven’t been able to sell him and as such, he’s one of only two right-backs that they have. He now needs to be reintegrated, because he’s still a better option than any of the above.

1 reply »

  1. Could other points

    1. Don’t understand the fawning over eriksen yesterday. Tap in goal and beat assist for Kane. Aside from that, invisible man

    2.subs.gkc for lamela. Sure. But son off and no Moura? To play on the counter you need speed.

    3. GOAL KICKS. spurs clearly had no plan for taking goal kicks under pressure. That is bad coaching! There, I said it!

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