Aston Villa 1 Spurs 2: battle of the left won on set pieces

An amazing turnaround sees us snatch victory from the jaws of defeat, as it finishes Aston Villa 1 Spurs 2 in our Premier League clash.

It wasn’t pretty, but the introduction of Harry Kane was pretty effective in turning the game around, helped by the dismissal of Christian Benteke.

Early pressure

Of all the things that happened in the game, the most curious was a 5-minute spell of pressing at the start of the match.

We closed Aston Villa down quickly, forcing Brad Guzan to send the ball long.


Spurs pressure.

We also harassed Villa’s backline to earn corners and Roberto Soldado fizzed an effort past the post from outside the area, after Carlos Sanchez was relieved of the ball.

It was a bright start, but this period of pressing lasted just a mere 5 minutes. It was curious why we didn’t continue as we’d started brightly, but after that the game settled down in to the expected flow. We were controlling possession; Villa were content to drop off, engage the ball as it entered the middle third and play on the counter attack.

Battle of the left

Much of the first half was spent by each team getting at each other down our left flank.

This was a key area we looked at in the Tottenham tactics for Aston Villa vs Spurs as the Villains have been vulnerable and have conceded goals through here. They don’t protect their right back and the opposition player on this side can get forward.

The same was true here. Charles N’Zogbia was playing as a wide forward on this side and offered little help to Matthew Lowton. This saw Danny Rose get in to acres of space for several crossing opportunities.

The first one arrived after just four minutes after Lowton was caught inside with Nacer Chadli and Emmanuel Adebayor.


Danny Rose had oceans of space.

Seconds later and he was in again as Lowton was unable to get out to him.


Danny Rose has space to cross.

Two minutes later and he had the freedom of the flank as Lowton was caught inside once more.


Danny Rose on the overlap.

Not long after he had the opportunity to cross for a fourth time with Lowton again stretched.


Danny Rose in more space.

The problem for Rose was that his delivery was not great and we failed to take advantage of these opportunities.

The best chance from getting in to Lowton’s zone came from Ryan Mason. His short cross found Christian Eriksen. The Dane’s shot was deflected and Roberto Soldado’s reaction header trickled agonisingly past the wrong side of the post.

N’Zogbia was offering little help to Lowton, but equally Nacer Chadli was of similar aid to Danny Rose.

This saw Lowton and N’Zogbia combine to take advantage as Jan Vertonghen was being pulled out from his centre back position, leaving Younes Kaboul 1v1 with Christian Benteke.

The Villa centre forward was able to exert his aerial dominance, but also strength and power which was too much for our captain to handle.

Lowton got free to send in a cross that Benteke headed wide, but N’Zogbia going behind Rose had removed Vertonghen from the centre.


Lowton crosses as Benteke left 1v1.

We then got several other warnings as Benteke pinged a driven shot off the post and a header over, before Villa took the lead. Predictably it came from getting in to the space behind Danny Rose and Jan Vertonghen was pulled out from the centre by N’Zogbia’s movement.


Weimann hits the hole.

This left a huge space behind Vertonghen and Andreas Weimann ran towards it. Etienne Capoue for some reason stopped tracking Weimann and the Austrian slid in to knock the ball in to the net with the outside of his boot.

More chances followed for both sides down this flank and it was amazing that neither manager reacted until half time. Paul Lambert switched the sides of N’Zogbia and Andreas Weimann to have the much better defensive player in the Austrian on this side.

Spurs through the centre

The baulk of the first half and much of the action centred on our left flank, but there was also a threat to release Emmanuel Adebayor to run in behind. This was especially true after a turnover when Villa were caught up the park in counter attack mode.

The first opportunity saw our striker caught offside as Christian Eriksen tried to release him.


Adebayor goes too soon.

The next opportunity saw him time his run perfectly as Soldado supplied the ball.


Perfect timing.

Adebayor saw his effort tipped around the post by Brad Guzan when he should’ve near posted the goalkeeper rather than go across him.

Second half squabbles

After the game had been reasonably open in the first half, especially on our left flank, Lambert’s switch of Weimann to this side shut that down, for both teams.

The space was naturally now on N’Zogbia’s new side, the right, and we created a couple of half chances. The best of these came as Soldado fed Nacer Chadli in-behind Aly Cissokho. His shot across the goal was partially saved by Brad Guzan and Emmanuel Adebayor couldn’t squeeze home the rebound.


Chadli’s shot is almost mopped up by Adebayor.

The game was petering along until the introduction of Harry Kane. On replacing Adebayor, he immediately got in the action as he too got in-behind Aly Cissokho and fired a cross that was saved by Brad Guzan’s legs.

Kane then headed the resulting corner straight at the keeper when either side of him would’ve given Villa problems.

The game then descended in to a series of squabbles after Jan Vertonghen’s challenge on Ashley Westwood. The Belgian cleanly won the ball, but went in two-footed, which angered the Villa man and his team mates.

With Villa baying for red and Vertonghen receiving a yellow, this led to several more little incidents breaking out in the passages of play afterwards. There were two or three periods when the players were caught in small bunches hacking at the ball and each other, which lead to the game’s pivotal moment, a red card for Benteke.

It developed from one of these messy periods of play as several players were caught in a small area. The ball pinged around between them with plenty of physical contact.

Benteke had knocked Lamela in the back and then Ryan Mason, but as Mason bumped the Villa man, Benteke put his hand up on his face and a melee ensued.

Benteke received his marching orders and the game changed. Villa had to play even more on the counter attack and we needed to stretch them, but that was a problem having played in a narrow formation all game.

Mauricio Pochettino reacted to the red card by taking off Etienne Capoue and introducing Andros Townsend. The winger immediately went to the right side and continually cut inside, not helping the width problem.

Winning set pieces

The game was meandering towards an inevitable conclusion until two set pieces swung it.

The first was a rare sight, a Spurs goal from a corner. Nacer Chadli’s comments afterwards seemed to indicate that this was a routine. His movement to the back post saw him run past both Weimann and Agbonlahor who barely moved.


Chadli marked by Weimann.

Lamela delivered a perfectly crossed deep ball right to the Belgian at the back stick, if this simple movement was indeed was the plan.


An unmarked Chadli fires home.

The second arrived from a deflected Harry Kane free kick, which was won by Andros Townsend. With us requiring width, Andros was naturally in the centre of the pitch, but won the ball back on the edge of the area, before being felled as he stretched and nicked it away from Carlos Sanchez.

Kane refused to give up the free kick to anyone else and was rewarded as his shot flicked off the top of the wall and behind Brad Guzan. The travelling army of fans went nuts, as did the players, sparking joyous celebrations by the corner flag which hadn’t seemed remotely possible ten minutes prior.

Aston Villa 1 Spurs 2 overall

The result papered over a lot of cracks as we snatched a late victory.

We were far too narrow, far too open on our left side and the formation with Soldado playing behind Adebayor didn’t work. It forced Christian Eriksen to play in wider positions where he didn’t look comfortable and wasn’t effective. Soldado himself also looked much more at home after Kane came on and he was pushed up top with Harry behind him. It also relegated Erik Lamela to the bench and we lacked jump and energy without him.

Mauricio Pochettino rightly praised Harry Kane afterwards and the forward is making a serious case to be starting in the Premier League now.

The late goals may just boost squad moral after some indifferent results and the crticism we’ve taken in the media.

Sometimes it’s not the performance that matters but the results. Getting three points any way we can improves the overall confidence, rather than playing well and getting thumped like we did at City.

Final score: Aston Villa 1 Spurs 2.


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32 Responses to Aston Villa 1 Spurs 2: battle of the left won on set pieces

  1. SpurredoninDublin 3rd November 2014 at 4:51 pm #

    There was really very little to like about this game except the result and the application shown by Kane. Deservedly, there is talk about him being selected by England.

    This makes me recall the parting shot of Thud when he moved to Hull talking about the promises that Spurs had made to build a team around young English players. Don’t misunderstand me, I liked Thud, but he displayed all the mobility of an Aircraft Carrier in dry-dock, and other than being the best passer of a ball we have have seen in the past 20 years, his game never developed as it should have.

    So looking at the team now, we have Kane, Walker, Naughton, Dier, Townsend, Rose and Mason currently in the squad, and players like Fredericks and Carroll on loan with six of these have come through the youth system. I think that puts Thud in his proper place for his sour grape rant, as well as something else to cheer about

    • Alan 3rd November 2014 at 7:54 pm #

      You didn’t mention Bentaleb, Pritchard and Veljkovic as well so the academy is really beginning to deliver..

      • SpurredoninDublin 4th November 2014 at 9:07 am #

        I forgot Pritchard, but my comment was about Thud decrying the policy that we had abandoned the policy of building a team with young English players at the core.

        But nevertheless, you are right about the Academy beginning to deliver. I cant remember the last time we had so many home grown players in the squad, that were genuine future PL regulars.

        I have to say also that I have recently been having my doubts about Levy, but then you think to yourself, “This upsurge in the academy did not happen by accident”.

        • Alan 4th November 2014 at 1:45 pm #

          Sorry Spurredon – I didn’t pick up on the fact they were all English players you mentioned and Bentaleb and Veljkovic are, of course, not English.

          Have to say I am a fan of Levy. He’s a brilliant businessman and negotiator and I believe, he genuinely wants Spurs to do well but we are just not in the league of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, Man City and Man U when it comes to income. It’s a crying shame that we had to sell Luka and Gareth but, if I’m honest, who wouldn’t want to play for Real Madrid – probably even if you were at Man U for example?

          • SpurredoninDublin 4th November 2014 at 7:22 pm #

            Regarding Levy, recently I’ve been thinking that if we keep changing managers and that is not working for us, then perhaps Levy is the problem.

            But then I look at the progress we have made under Levy with our small ground and therefore extremely limited resources, and all of a sudden, we have an academy that is turning out quality players that we have developed since they were in primary school, and you see how much difference he has made.

            Over the past few years. we have had a terrible knack of being challengers who fall at the last fence. But in terms of comparison, Wet Sham have a ground nearly the same size as ours, and we regularly finish well clear of them. I don’t want to seem lacking in ambition but we have the 12th largest ground in the PL, and we are not even in the top 80 grounds in Europe but we have still played and beaten regular CL teams.

            At the end of the day, I realise that it is because Levy has done a lot for this club that we can genuinely have realistic CL aspirations at the start of each season.

            • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 5th November 2014 at 10:41 am #

              Some very good points Spurredonin Dublin. Levy des have us punching above our weight for what we have in terms of ground and also the revenue we generate. We have developed a decent academy that is producing some good players and we also have one of the best training facilities in the country. It does make a change from the days of Irving Scholar, crippling financial debts and points deductions.

              On the flip side Enic are running us as an investment for sale at some point. The recent rumours of Cain Hoy take over and Joe Lewis wanting £1bn might have just been to flush any potential buyers out indicating taht he could be ready to sell and to let them know that he wants top dollar. Levy and Enic have done some good things in turning the club around from where it was under Sugar and Scholar and stablilising it and we should be thankful for that. Make no mistake though, they are running it as an investment vehicle for their return.

              • SpurredoninDublin 5th November 2014 at 12:14 pm #

                With the greatest of respect, can someone please explain to me why the idea that ENIC should be looking to make a profit has such sinister connotations.

                It is not as if they are trying to pull a fast one in order to sell the stadium to developers so that we have to ground-share with Orient.

                A football club is no different from any other business insofar as the person who owns it has paid for it at some time, and if they do well, they can sell at a profit, and if they have been useless, that is reflected in the price they eventually get paid.

                I am delighted that the club is being run by a hard-headed businessman (Sugar failed because he could not devote the time that was needed), hope that he makes billions when he sells, because the better the team does, the more he will earn, and I want the tram to be world champs.

                • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 5th November 2014 at 2:33 pm #

                  It’s not sinister, i was highlighting that there are two sides depending on what viewpoint you have. Fans obviously want an owner to invest heavily in the team such as what Chelski and City have done, whereby the owner takes on some or a great deal of debt. And then there is the business case to take on something, build it up and sell it on at a profit. A large majority of fans have less interest in the balance sheets compared to spending on players to perform on the pitch.

                  • SpurredoninDublin 5th November 2014 at 6:27 pm #

                    Thanks for your reply.

                    Not looking to get involved in semantics or similar, but the number of times I have seen comments about DL “only being in it to make money for himself”, as if he’s acting against the best interests of the team always leaves me puzzled. Somehow or other, you get the feeling that these people believe that DL has no ethics and will do anything to make a fast buck.

                    I remember a few years ago, the Wrexham chairman who lent the money to the club, knowing that they couldn’t repay it, so that he could foreclose. Fortunately, the courts intervened because of dodgy dealings.

                    But if you think back to the time ENIC took over, I think they paid Sugar £54 mill. If they were looking for a fast buck, they could have recovered this with immediate player sales, as well as the ground being flogged, and doubled their money overnight.

                    I note your reference to Chelsea and Man C, but these cases, together with the Oligarchs at places like PSG and Monaco, are not people who have any love for their team, and are doing it purely as a prestige event. I think DL does care about the team, but he also probably cares more about making money.

                    I would love us to have Sugardaddy like Chelsea or City but then we are living in very unstable times. If there is a coup in Dubai tomorrow, or an Oligarch offends Putin, the whole thing will collapse like a house of cards.

                    Just one other point, do you think if Mansour was asked what he thought of the contribution made by Bell, Summerbee, and Lee at Man C, or Abramovitch the same question about Osgood, Tambling and Harris they would have a clue what you are talking about? And if you asked DL about Perryman, Roberts and Chivers, Do you think he would know?

                    Give me DL over these posers every time.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 4th November 2014 at 10:23 am #

      Good post SpurredoninDublin. We did sign Dawson, Jenas, Reid, Lennon, Hudd, Carrick, Routledge, Danny Murphy, Paul Robinson and then Darren Bent and a certain Gareth Bale the next season in that period when Hudd arrived, so i’m not sure he could say something like that. It is a British core rather than English, but still.

      I think that was the plan to build around a ‘local’ core of British players, but we’ve moved on from then and the breif now seems to be to build around a young international core. This could be to provide a team that graces our new stadium, whenever this is built. But for Levy is probably to maximise sell on value should he unearth the next Gareth Bale.

      • SpurredoninDublin 4th November 2014 at 11:01 am #

        And look at how things have moved on since, We bought all those players, when they were just showing potential (Murphy excepted), and with the exception of Reid and Bent, they all “did the business” for a while. Bent wasn’t given the opportunities with Keane and Defoe ahead of him, but we got most of our money back on him, and the same applies to Reid.

        As to your mention of a “core of British players”, I can only think of two non-English players in the recent past that fit this criteria: Bale and Ramsey, But DL is right to look at sell-on value, as I think we can expect to be regularly raided for the brightest jewels in our crown and are in no position at the moment to fight off Real and their like. I really can’t believe that we were able to buy Dier so cheap.

  2. Johnny 3rd November 2014 at 5:11 pm #

    Very interesting read. Spurs passing wasn’t great throughout, but it did look as if we had a goal in us if we could keep going, unlike the previous week against Newcastle. The team lacks confidence, that is clear. Interesting about all the Spurs youngsters… it’s a really promising sign. Bentaleb should develop in to a very good midfielder too, along with Mason, Caroll and Pritchard. But you’ll still need the Lamelas. Here’s hoping we might try to buy Bony or Benteke in January. Can’t see it happening and tough on Villa and Swans but we need far more energy and mobility up front – plus confidence in finishing. Kane can’t do it on his own and Adebayor’s barren periods go on for far too long. I do really wish Siggurdsson and Dawson were still at the club to give us goals and stability at the back. I’m beginning to wonder if it might be better to try Chadli as an out and out striker, even Lamela too (with Kane).

    • SpurredoninDublin 4th November 2014 at 9:27 am #

      Have to disagree with you. I actually think Kane can “do it on his own”. I think he will be our next Teddy Sherringham.

      Remember the pass he made to Dier against Wet Sham? I think one of the assets you need to lead the line is a “football brain” and he has shown that he has that.

      As for Ade, when he’s on form, he’s as good as it gets, but we all know that “when” is very much up to him. I think that he didn’t like AVB and made very little effort for him. Had he done so we would have made up the point difference and been in the CL in AVB’s first season. Anybody recall shortly after his recall by Sherwood, that he was carried off on stretcher?

      We were all praying that our rejuvenated Ade was not seriously injured, and we later discover it was cramp. Who gets carried off on a stretcher for cramp? Plenty of evidence of his unfitness, and justifying AVB’s decision not to pick him.

      • Alan 4th November 2014 at 2:04 pm #

        Have to agree with you again Spurredon. Despite all the naysayers on various forums I also have thought that he had the all round ability to be a Sheringham type player. Won’t necessarily be a 20 goal a season striker (although I hope he proves me wrong there!) but he will create as many as he scores.

        I hope that Poch is holding him back to prevent the early burnout of many a young “star of the future”.

        • SpurredoninDublin 4th November 2014 at 7:35 pm #

          For what it’s worth, I was a naysayer until last season. I watched him in the EL game against Hearts and wondered why we were bothering, and then I saw the improvement when Sherwood let him in last season.

          It was clear by this time, that this was a player with good technique and a brain, who deserved to play and I was absolutely delighted when he proved me wrong.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 4th November 2014 at 9:57 am #

      I’d like to see if Kane can do it on his own, but i’m in two minds whether he can. SpurredoninDublin mentions that he will be our next Teddy Sheringham, but Teddy always needed, and worked best, with a partner who could take advantage of his footballing brain.

      • SpurredoninDublin 4th November 2014 at 11:33 am #

        You should be aware that they both come from Walthamstow, and it’s to do with them playing near the reservoirs on Ferry Lane that makes them so similar.

        It’s a well known scientific fact that it’s to do with the water. Don’t you know nothing? (LOL)

        • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 4th November 2014 at 4:11 pm #

          I bow to your local reservoir knowledge :) Anyone else supping at the Ferry Lane font we should know about?

  3. SamAbe 3rd November 2014 at 7:08 pm #

    I think Capoue has become a problem for us – he seems to have offered next to no protection over the last few games and, crucially, failed to track Weimann’s run (which went right past him!) into the box for the Villa goal.

    This is a bit of a bummer as, (although I know you’re a fan, Mark), I’m not at all convinced by what I’ve seen of Stambouli so far (not all that much in fairness), and we’ve got no-one else to go into that spot.

    Elsewhere, with Eriksen and Lamela yet to influence matches as we would wish, we’ve become reliant on Chadli’s scoring, outside of which his contribution is limited.

    Being more positive, however, Mason’s looking good, and by starting with the two strikers in this fixture, Pochettino has shown he’s not afraid to mix it up – and I really think Soldado will become an important player for us this season (god willing) – I certainly want to see more of his link-up play with Lamela.

    On another note, we really have missed Walker so far this season – there are lots of occasions where Dier/Naughton aren’t available further up the pitch and an opportunity to break is missed, meaning that Mason or Capoue have to instead turn inside and slow the pay down, for example. So his return to fitness (early December?) is hopefully another plus waiting in the wings…

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 4th November 2014 at 10:02 am #

      Capoue’s form has dropped and it would be good to give Stambouli a go, i’m not sure his range of passsing is quite that of Capoue’s, butthe othre facets of his game are as good and his ball recovery is better.

      Walker’s return will make a huge difference and as well as Naughton has done, he isn’t as attack minded. Part of me thinks it’s not naturally in his make-up, but i also see a player who is afraid of getting burned defensively after a lot of the stick he got when filling in at left back. He does seem to go forward cautiously.

  4. Andy 3rd November 2014 at 9:44 pm #

    For the sake of sounding like a broken record Soldado has to start! Give him a run in the team & play to his strengths. Kane impressed when he came on and the pair look like they could work well together. Bring in Lamela (on the wing) & Erikson (in the middle) and stick with it and we have the basis of a decent team. I think there is a lack of confidence and understanding which will take time to develop.
    At the back we look shaky (when wasn’t this the case with Spurs?!!!) so we need to be positive. Give Poch time to get his pressing game going. I agree with other posts that we’ve really missed Walker this season.
    On another note, I thought Rose was very poor. His crossing was woeful and constantly seemed to be out of position. Danny you need to spend sometime on the training ground or Ben Davies will soon be our first choice LB!

    • SpurredoninDublin 4th November 2014 at 9:36 am #

      Rose didn’t have the best of games, but what I have seen of Davies, I am praying that nothing happens Rose.

      If you look at our “Cup” team, most of the dangers we are facing are in the left back position. Davies usually takes up residence on the touchline about 10-15 yards inside the other half and he seems to think that the job description of a LB is to lob crosses in from that position. As soon as the ball to their right winger, Davies is nowhere to be seen.

      • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 4th November 2014 at 10:05 am #

        Davies still looks like a player acclimatising to moving to a ‘bigger’ club and the playing style. He looked much better for Swansea, but his movement is tentative and his crossing has been less than stellar so far.

  5. Mike Sz. 3rd November 2014 at 10:02 pm #


    Assuming a Soldado start, as well as Lamela on the wing and Eriksen in the middle — as you describe — would you then play Kane on the other wing? I guess it would have to be…at least in a 4-2-3-1. Or are you thinking a different formation? Or not starting Kane?

    The defense…ah, the defense. Just when it seemed Kaboul was taking this captain bit by the horns and bringing it into his playing…

    Naughton isn’t the attacker Walker is, but he needs to start at RB right now. I think (?) Davies is getting better and better. If it isn’t that, then it will be Rose’s inconsistency that might give Davies a shout for an EPL start. But it would mean even less width. Still, I still think Davies is pretty solid crosser of the ball.

    Dier partnering Vertonghen, because…well, why not? We haven’t tried that yet!

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 4th November 2014 at 10:10 am #

      Playing Soldado and Kane is where the system runs in to problems as both players really need to be in the middle. Soldado looked uncomfortable playing in the role behind Adebayor, but much more at home when up top after Ade went off. Kane looks better when allowed to roam from the position just off the striker. This means that Eriksen gets pushed to a wider position where he is ok but not at his best and one of Lamela or Chadli needs to be dropped. Unless of course you went super offensive with a line-up of Chadli, Eriksen, Kane and Lamela behind Soldado with just Capoue holding!

      • Mike Sz 4th November 2014 at 2:58 pm #

        So…a 4-1-4-1? Interesting.

        • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 4th November 2014 at 4:13 pm #

          Yep, very attack-minded going forward, but also more open at the back.

          • Mike Sz 4th November 2014 at 4:15 pm #

            …which would scare me with our defense being what it is right now.

  6. Matt 4th November 2014 at 12:22 pm #

    Hi Mark,

    Great analysis as usual. One question i have been thinking for a while is that of Nacer Chadli. Noone can question his importance to the team at the moment given his scoring record this season but my question is, is Chadli only suited to our team away from home? At home teams tend to sit deep and there is no space for Chadli to run in behind which is his main strength as was shown by his goal on Sunday. Do you think we would be better suited with Eriksen/ Townsend and Lamela flanking Kane behind Soldado or Ade to give us more presence in the box when teams invariably sit deep on us at the Lane? Too often in the home games as seen against WBA and Newcastle that when teams let Chadli dribble the ball and try to beat men, we end up going nowhere and our front man becomes isolated.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 4th November 2014 at 4:06 pm #

      That’s something i have been pondering too Matt. His 2 goals at home against QPR apart, all of his strikes have come away in the Premier League. When he pinged the shot off the post at home to Southampton, that also highlighted his game to play on the counter, as he had acres to run in to beyond their defence. I think there is definitely a case to be made for not playing him at home against teams that will sit back.

  7. Dr JAB 6th November 2014 at 3:08 pm #

    Hi Mark

    I always look forward to your analyses both pre and post matches. My only concern is that they are so insightful I am worried that the manager of the opposing teams checks them out and uses them to counter our plans!

    Regarding the Villa match and others recently, I am puzzled by the lack of the pressing game which we saw from Poch at Southampton and during our pre-season. You mentioned that it featured in the first 5 minutes and died away as it has in other matches. I realise that it cant be done for the whole match, but his main strategy seems to have fallen away completely.

    I was in the UK and at WHL for the West Brom match – the first time I had seen them lose at the Lane. Again I thought that the energetic pressing game at just been replaced by lethargy. A lot of sideways and backwards creeping in. Shades of AVB.

    This leads me to the conclusion that we do not have a clear plan how to utilise our assets effectively any more. Not a case of no Plan B. Just no plan at all. The second half of the Villa match was chaotic and our pattern of play reminde me of the scientific term Brownian Movement which is the random movement of particles (players) with no clear effect.

    Like most observers Rose leaves me unmoved. You were charitable in describing his deliveries as “not good”. The ratio of successfuls ones to those into row X is poor.I would prefer Davies to be there to try to shore up the defence. The first rule of medicine is do no harm. The first rule of defending is do no conceding.

    In terms of formation and game plan I feel it is best to leave the axis of Chadli/Erikson.Lamela intact to build up greater understanding. We went with a 442 on sunday, playing Erikson out of position, on the expectation of getting early goal(s) and once we went behind the plan evapourated. I know it is not Poch’s preferred plan but what about 352. We have a surfeit of midfielders and this would give us 2 strikers.

    A couple of last gripes. Does anyone else think our heading is abysmal? We simply head away into the distance which is picked up by the opposition and sent back our way. How about trying to pull it down off the chest and on to the ground. That is the way we are supposed to play.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 6th November 2014 at 3:41 pm #

      Thanks for reading Dr JAB, glad you enjoy them.

      I too was puzzled as to the pressing, but the lack of it has been a continuing theme this season. We’ve only really seen a sustained pressing game ie more than 45 mins against Sunderland away. Maybe Pochettino doesn’t feel he has the players to carry this out? or maybe he is still getting to know their attributes and doesn’t want to go down this route until he has more of the players he wants?

      Danny Rose’s crossing has left a lot to be desired, but so too has Ben Davies. We lack full back balance when Dier plays at right back, but also we lack consistent delivery, which is a problem when our formation is so narrow.

      Our heading has never been great, it’s usually to clear rather than to start a counter attack.