Tottenham cruised past Roberto Mancini’s Nerazzuri, as it finished Spurs 6-1 Inter in our preseason friendly in Oslo.
When Spurs and Inter meet the result is always goals. We weren’t disappointed. The Italians were torn apart by a disciplined and decisive Tottenham as it finished Spurs 6-1 Inter in Oslo.
A performance like this will have Spurs forming part of many accumulator tips next weekend against Everton, but there was plenty to purr about. A full tactical breakdown to come, but here are four thoughts on the game.
Harry Kane as a number ten
The introduction of Vincent Janssen at halftime gave us 15 minutes of salivating football as Harry Kane was moved to the number ten position.
Goals followed as Spurs were able to get between the lines remarkably easily.
Dele Alli and Erik Lamela both pinched in extremely narrow in order to play through balls from these spaces in to and off the front two.
Alli played a wall pass off Janssen to net as he ghosted in from between the Inter midfield and defence.
Erik Lamela then picked up possession between the lines and had the option of Kane or Janssen as the strikers split in classic 4-4-2 fashion.
Mauricio Pochettino used to run this formation with Dani Osvaldo playing behind and off Rickie Lambert. There is a touch of the Lambert’s about Janssen’s strength, movement, passing and hold-up play. This formation, when used, might just free up Harry Kane from the opposing centre back’s attentions.
Unfortunately, Kane was replaced just when this was getting interesting and we were left desperate to see more of just how this exciting tactical move would play out.
Erik Lamela is primed for a big season
The standout player against Juventus, Atletico, and now Inter, has been Erik Lamela. His energy for preseason has been outstanding and infectious. It’s worrying how little time he has been allowed off since the Copa America Final and returning to action, but on the plus side he looks the most advanced player in terms of match fitness and sharpness.
Lamela has been running the channels much better this preseason and it has already seen him score and net twice. What seems to have changed is a better sense of timing and awareness. He looks to have an improved appreciation of what is going on around him and when to make a darting run or quick burst in to a space or zone.
He did it at times last season where he could be unbelievably destructive with the timing of his runs. In our three preseason matches so far he seems to have added consistency. The penny looks to have dropped and this could be a real breakout season for our record signing.
Harry Winks has moved past Ryan Mason
Has anyone furthered their case for more playing time this season than Harry Winks? In our three preseason friendlies, Winks has added a calmness and composure to the number eight role. His passing is often intelligent and on-point to release pressure or get attacks moving.
Entering the game at half time, his passing got us out on many a counter attack. Both teams were trying to press each other until the game got out of hand and Winks’ passing was key to breaking Inter’s attempts to close down and regain the ball quickly.
With Mousa Dembele missing the first four Premier League games of the season, Harry Winks has staked a claim that he should be on the team sheet. He has moved ahead of Ryan Mason and is an alternative option to the robust Victor Wanyama.
Did we see the centre back pairing for Everton away?
Cameron Carter-Vickers started both preseason friendlies in Australia. With the full squad now back, he got the nod today with Kevin Wimmer, who is supposedly still carrying an injury, only fit enough for the bench.
Carter-Vickers inclusion shifted Toby Alderweireld over to the left of the centre back pairing, where he looked surprisingly assured. Alderweireld’s trademark diagonal passes were finding their target to the opposite side to usual. One such pass pinged to Kyle Walker started the move for the opening goal from the penalty spot.
Carter-Vickers, who prefers to play on the right, had moments where he looked assured, but also several errors when he was rushed or indecisive against the Inter press.
Alderweireld and Wimmer made such a good combination when used last season that it would seem the natural way to go against Everton. However, if Wimmer is out or short of match fitness, then we may just see Carter-Vickers alongside Alderweireld operating on the left of the pairing.