Jan Vertonghen challenges for the ball during Spurs 1-1 Burnley at Wembley Stadium.

Spurs 1-1 Burnley: slow struggles to break a solid shape

Tottenham failed to turn up the tempo in wide areas to break down a well-drilled team as it finished Spurs 1-1 Burnley at Wembley Stadium.

A lack of speed, particularly in the wide areas, saw Tottenham struggle to break a resolute and compact Burnley team. Chances were created, but not taken, before Sean Dyche’s tactical change landed a sucker punch at the death. The match finished Spurs 1-1 Burnley at Wembley Stadium.

Burnley solid formation

Sean Dyche lined his team up as expected. Burnley pinched their back four in tight together to take away the centre of the pitch. The wide midfielders were thus tasked with defending the flanks.

Narrow Burnley use midfielders (RM,LM) to defend flanks during Spurs 1-1 Burnley in the Premier League.

Narrow Burnley use midfielders (RM,LM) to defend flanks.

In front of the back four, Dyche employed at least two central midfielders to screen them. However, Scott Arfield often joined them by dropping in to help keep this area congested.

Burnley does this to force opponents in to the wide areas. The ploy is to deal with the resulting crosses and frustrate the opposition before counter attacking.

Spurs lack isolation players

The space for Spurs was out wide where Burnley is content to leave their wide midfielders often in 1v1 situations. Good isolation players are therefore needed to go past the wide midfielder off the dribble or make a run to receive a pass in-behind them.

With Ben Davies and Kieran Trippier as full backs, Tottenham lacked the speed and ability on the ball to make this happen. Both are good crossers, but don’t have the speed or often willingness to run in-behind their opponent to receive a pass.

As a result, Spurs were too frequently crossing the ball from positions far away from goal in very narrow locations. Burnley would simply head clear, happy to let us play in to the congestion.

Trippier crosses from too far out and narrow during Spurs 1-1 Burnley in the Premier League.

Trippier crosses from too far out and narrow.

Spurs best chances against the set Burnley defence, when they did arrive, came from the more willing runs of Ben Davies. The left back nicely overlapped Dele Alli after he beat Burnley’s right midfielder. Before right back Matt Lowton could react, Dele had slid Davies in.

Davies gets in to the space before the defence can react during Spurs 1-1 Burnley in the Premier League.

Davies gets in to the space before the defence can react.

Davies’ pull back from the by-line was fractionally behind Harry Kane. Unfortunately, taking a touch to reign the ball in gave centre back James Tarkowski enough time to recover and block the shot.

The answer was in this move for Spurs. In the second half the pair would repeat the trick. This time Davies’ low pull back would find Kane for a first time shot. However, Tom Heaton got down well to save at his near post.

Davies pass from wide finds Kane's feet during Spurs 1-1 Burnley in the Premier League.

Davies pass from wide finds Kane’s feet.

Spurs set pieces

Working the ball wide in to a crossing position saw Spurs take the lead. Kieran Trippier and Son Heung-Min combined to create a 2v1 out wide and free the full back. Trippier’s cross then deflected out for a corner off Stephen Ward.

Trippier and Son create a 2v1 against Ward to win a corner during Spurs 1-1 Burnley in the Premier League.

Trippier and Son create a 2v1 against Ward to win a corner.

We’d looked in the Spurs vs Burnley match preview at the Clarets poor defending of set pieces. Burnley has given up the second most chances from set pieces in the Premier League this season.

Spurs would punish their lapse marking with an old favourite of a routine. The corner of the six-yard box is left open for Eric Dier to run towards and flick the ball on.

Eric Dier runs towards the vacant near post area to flick the ball on during Spurs 1-1 Burnley in the Premier League.

Eric Dier runs towards the vacant near post area.

Dier timed his run perfectly to met Christian Eriksen’s well-flighted delivery. Dele Alli then pounced on the loose ball as Ben Mee failed to clear. Dele calmly took his time to pick his spot and put us in to the lead.

The goal, as did our other good chances, came from us working the ball wide to create a 2v1 mismatch or use a free player. Kane and Eriksen’s 1v1 opportunities both came from getting them in to these spaces down the sides of the Burnley defence. Ben Davies’ two pull backs to Harry Kane outlined above also did this. However, outside of these four moves, we didn’t use this tactic frequently enough and paid for it.

Sean Dyche’s tactical change

With his team now on the back foot, Sean Dyche wasted no time in making a tactical change. Sam Vokes and Johann Berg Gudmundsson were withdrawn to be replaced by a sizeable twin strike force of Ashley Barnes and Chris Wood. Burnley started to hit long balls forward for the pair and it was effective.

In response Mauricio Pochettino made a tactical teak of his own. Eric Dier was moved in to the middle of a back three. Dier is our best aerial defender and he was tasked with anchoring the back line.

Chris Wood runs in-behind

Burnley wasn’t just playing route one. The initial balls up to the strikers were to clear their lines and negate our pressing, which was hemming them in their own half. However, once they had secured the ball, they were looking for the runs of Chris Wood in-behind.

Wood caused problems with not only his size, but also his movement. Twice he was caught just offside trying to nip in-behind our back line as Burnley searched for him with a through ball.

Wood then caused a major scare. Robbie Brady’s perfectly weighted through ball looked to have him in on goal. However, a tremendous sliding challenge by Hugo Lloris rapidly racing out from his box denied him.

Not heeding the warning and with our back line being caught increasingly square, the inevitable sucker punch came.

Spurs weren’t wise in the build-up. Once more the passage of play started with a long ball forward for Burnley to win the knock down. The play was then moved to Robbie Brady who again looked for Chris Wood’s run.

Kieran Trippier then froze as he was left marking two players. Trippier was attracted by Scott Arfield’s position in front of him with the rest of the back three going with Ashley Barnes’ run. Chris Wood then saw his opportunity to nip behind Trippier and in to the space.

Trippier caught marking Arfield and Wood during Spurs 1-1 Burnley in the Premier League.

Trippier caught marking Arfield and Wood.

The moment of hesitation by Trippier was fatal. Wood could run on to Brady’s pass and prod the ball home before Toby Alderweireld could recover. Suddenly it was Spurs 1-1 Burnley and there was no time to respond. A killer blow at the end of what should’ve been a routine victory.

Spurs 1-1 Burnley overall

Poor in-game situation management rears its ugly head once again. The team is coached to keep attacking and go for the jugular to put the opposition away. It works with a relentless build-up of pressure that has seen us score goals and win matches in the dying seconds.

However, there also needs to be a sense of managing the match situation. Spurs were still going for the second goal in injury time when Burnley struck their equaliser. There was no need for us to get a second goal at this point when being resolute was all that was required. The ball was easily given away three times in the build-up to Chris Wood’s strike when better situation management and controlled possession was all that was required.

Wembley hasn’t been the problem, our lack of speed and good isolation players on the outside has. Mauricio Pochettino’s key players in his system are the full backs as they supply the width and motor up and down the line.

Davies and Trippier are excellent backups, but they’ve been called upon far too often to be consistent contributors. The speed and aggressive runs of Danny Rose and Kyle Walker have been sorely missed, especially to cover the ground of the bigger Wembley playing surface. It’s an issue that must be addressed before the transfer window closes.

Final score: Spurs 1-1 Burnley.
Spurs MOTM: Mousa Dembele.



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42 Responses to Spurs 1-1 Burnley: slow struggles to break a solid shape

  1. James Bailey 28th August 2017 at 2:18 pm #

    That was so frustrating. The last 15 minutes or so were horrible. Why does Hugo keep lumping the ball downfield when we almost never come up with those balls? They either go out of bounds or back to the opposing team within seconds. When we needed to kill time we gave them the ball back over and over again. And the announcers on NBC Gold repeatedly called out Trippier for being too high up the pitch. And then he gets burned on the goal because he was out of position. That goal was so inevitable. And now instead of sitting on a win for the break, we’re stuck with that disgusting taste in our mouths. Ugh. If there’s any consolation, maybe it’s a wakeup. Can’t paper over the cracks when you blow 2 points like that.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 28th August 2017 at 2:36 pm #

      We have been papering over the cracks. If any good can come out of this situation is that it’s a wake-up call when we still have some time to make things right before the window closes. No time for Levy to be hagling to get a deal though.

  2. Matt 28th August 2017 at 2:22 pm #

    Great analysis, I agree every word of the above. I think our only mistake in strategic recruitment has been to allow our team and squad to become too slow. We have no searing pace and only a couple of players who could even be considered fast. Let’s hope we get Aurier. And while I like Davies as a player and a pro, we also need Rose back to add aggressive pace. Then at the end of the season I’d grant his wish to play “up North” i.e. Manchester.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 28th August 2017 at 2:41 pm #

      Our squad is slow without the likes of Danny Rose in it. Attempts to get quicker players in eg N’Jie, GKN, Sissoko just haven’t worked. Tried and trusted players required rather than punts on prospects. Maybe even those with Premier League experience eg Cedric Soares.

  3. Erik Zen 28th August 2017 at 3:22 pm #

    Top analysis. Walker was a huge loss, despite everyone slagging him off for a while. Even with dodgy positioning and crappy crossing, he would constantly stretch opponents and keep everyone busy with his pace and aggression.

    Still I thought we created great chances on Sunday and the contribution of Heaton in goal for Burnley shouldn’t be underplayed.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 28th August 2017 at 3:51 pm #

      So many teams are arming themselves with speed in wide areas e.g. Liverpool, Man City that I fear if you don’t also have rapid players to cope then you’ll just be overrun.

  4. Andy B 28th August 2017 at 3:37 pm #

    Very good analysis.

    To add to that – Spurs misplaced quite a number of long passes. It is possible that the different pitch size (5 metres longer and 1 metre wider than White Hart Lane) could have affected the passing accuracy.

    I believe that instead of doing a preseason public relations exercise (traveling to USA and playing glamour teams, 2 of which they lost) it would have been more productive this pre-season to get the players used to the Wembley pitch size. They could have made a pitch at their training ground, to match the wembley size and then invited three different championship teams to play against them on it. They could still have played Juventus later at Wembley, but with more experience of the wembley pitch size.

    I am sure that the players will adjust to the Wembley pitch very soon, but it would have been better to get used to it, before the season started. The same applies to bringing in new players.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 28th August 2017 at 3:54 pm #

      Yes there was some interesting commentary on the game by Tony Gayle about the pitch appearing bigger than it really was due to the huge stands being more withdrawn from the pitch and that affects perception. We play on full size pitches in most away games so I don’t think the size is the problem but maybe passing perception caused by the stadium is?

      • Andy B 28th August 2017 at 4:05 pm #

        That is very interesting that there could be an illusion occurring, when players are about to pass the ball. Maybe they should have played more pre-season games at wembley, to get used to this.

        I think that the Burnley players and Sean Dyche deserve a lot of credit for how they did a job on Spurs. It was very boring to watch, particularly the first half. It was like watching paint dry. I have always been impressed by Ben Mee. I know he was at fault for our goal, but what a player. He was excellent against us in the last game we played them as well.

        • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 28th August 2017 at 7:02 pm #

          Yes I think we should’ve played some more games there, although we are at the mercy of their schedule and fitting matches in – as our game being pushed back to Sunday by the rugby league cup final proved.

          Mee was underrated in that partnership with Michael Keane, definitely proving that at the minute.

  5. YouShubes 28th August 2017 at 9:29 pm #

    What I don’t get is why Kane did not run that ball to the corner flag, to look to kill the game. Why look to play in Winks with only 2 minutes left on the clock in a game we were winning…

    I think where Walker had the speed and the acceleration to get him out of jail Trips does not have this…he was probably tiring as I don’t think he is still fully fit..

    We build from the back, and we defend from the front…I love Harry but he needs to hold his hand up for that poor decision.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 28th August 2017 at 10:42 pm #

      Its the go for the kill mentality Poch has instilled. Sharpening our mental toughness was one thing he talked about a lot in his first season. Pochettino has done that, but maybe we now have gone too far and its at the expense of being situationally smart. Our team is still very young and if this is a lesson learnt then maybe it is a good time to learn it.

  6. David Taylor 28th August 2017 at 9:57 pm #

    Long time (60 years) Burnley fan here. Kudos to the author(s) of this “Spurs Fanatic” blog – whoever does these pre and post-match clearly devotes a lot of time to analyzing opponents strengths and weaknesses, and I often take a look at them after a big Spurs game (and not just vs Burnley!) because they are really well done and free of the fan hyperbole that pervades most supporter blogs.

    The analysis of Burnley’s defensive game plan is spot on. We never try to play the opponents passing game against teams like Spurs, Arsenal, Chelsea, Man Utd, Man City, Liverpool – we just don’t have the players to match up. So the defensive 4-4-2 or 4-3-2-1 set-up (shown really well in the first screen) is designed to frustrate the ball playing attackers and prevent their passing games from generating clear shots from around the 12 yard box. And it’s not just a simple matter of “parking the bus” as many of Burnley’s detractors describe it, the back 4 especially as well as the 3-5 CMs spend a lot of time practicing cutting down on the shooting lanes so goalie Heaton has less goal to cover and generally doesn’t need to move too far to get behind a shot. It’s kind of like setting up a blocking wall for a free kick, except it’s a fluid blocking wall that has to move with the attacking player who’s being set up for the shot on goal. I lost count of how many shots our defensive line blocked in this game.

    So how does Burnley get beat with this defensive scheme? One way is exactly as outlined in this blog – some skillful and pacey players on the wings that can take on the wide RM/LM and beat them and go wide, which pulls the RB/LB out to try to block the cross. The beaten RM/LM is supposed to track back and infield fast to cover the area vacated, but a speedy winger will beat that and get the cross in every time. Putting in crosses from a narrow location (see 2nd screen) doesn’t work, because the 12 yard box defense is well positioned and we have some really good headers of the ball to clear the lines.

    The second way is for a ball playing mid-fielder to cut inside and pull the RM/LM inside, then slip a pass out to the vacated wing area for the overlapping attacking RB/LB, who can then get a cross in, as you can see in the 3rd/4th screens where Davies got loose and the Burnley RM was caught out of position. You don’t need speedy full backs to do this successfully – Burnley do this a lot and we don’t exactly have speedy FBs, as you also saw in the 2nd half from Ward, who got down the left virtually unchallenged and zipped in a low cross that only needed a touch from anyone to wind up in the net.

    But Spurs didn’t do either of these well, preferring mostly to try and work their way through the congested mid-field in front of the 12 yard box, which just plays into the shot blocking set up.

    The third way is to play those long diagonals against a defensive line moving the wrong way, which allows an almost free ball into the box for a striker to run on to. Both Spurs and Burnley did this quite a few times and I was sure a goal was coming from this approach – and it would have for Burnley but for that perfectly timed Lloris tackle on Wood at the edge of the box, and it did for the equalizer.

    If you look at that last screen, you can see the tough spot Tripper was put in, and I don’t think you can lay all the blame on him. All three of the Spurs back line – Vertonghen, Dier and Alderweireld – for some reason got dragged to one side by Barnes, leaving Trippier stranded between Arfield and Wood. Wood stuck his arm up to Brady and drifted left to create even more space before cutting in behind Trippier, and the other three defenders were caught going the wrong way. If Trippier even saw Wood and moved out to cover him, Arfield would have been in the clear. Trippier should have been further back in line with Alderweireld, then he would have had a shot at stopping this attack even with two to cover, but he was retreating from an attack at the time. But, it was still 4 defenders against 3 attackers, and should have been easily dealt with. Likewise, you’d think having already had a close call, the 2 Spurs defenders in front of Brady would have closed and blocked that diagonal cross.

    Defensive discipline, something that Dyche drills the Burnley defense on all the time – defend first, attack second. It took Dyche almost a year of working with the attack minded Trippier before Dyche could get him to play defense effectively, he seems to have lost some of that, or at least he didn’t show much of it in this match.

    A last comment – and sorry for the long post but this stuff really intrigues me – with only 5 minutes of stoppage time to play and a 1-0 lead, what the heck were Spurs doing attacking like it was still earlier in the game? OK if you’re trying to add to a 1-0 lead and have time to score a second if the other side nicks an equalizing goal, but so close to the end of the game? Damn, Spurs have the ball players to play ticky-tacky keep-away passing-around and let Burnley huff and puff and chase them all over the pitch for 5 minutes! That’s what a West Brom or Stoke (or even Chelsea or Man Utd) would do in the same situation.

    Good luck to Spurs this season, I was really rooting for you guys to pip Chelsea to the title last season because I really don’t like Chelsea, nor Arsenal for that matter. Both Chelsea and Arsenal have the biggest set of whining, flopping, surround-the-ref over-every-decision-that-goes-against-them players in the EPL. And forget the Wembley “hoodoo”, I think Spurs will be OK once they adjust to the different sight lines, whatever the press hoopla is. I still remember going to the 1962 cup final at the old Wembley, I was only 17 and it was a memorable occasion even though Spurs beat us 3-1!

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 28th August 2017 at 10:58 pm #

      Thank you for the excellent post David. A real insight in to the way Burnley play and very interesting about the use of a blocking wall to narrow down how much goal the keeper has to cover. Maybe that is why Heaton was down so early and in the right place to turn that Kane shot away from the foot of the post in the second half?

      I was disappointed with how much Flak Trippier took for the equaliser. It was easy to blame him and have a scapegoat for what most thought would be an easy three points, so he was an easy target. He had a split second to make a decision between two covers and it was his hesitation that cost him. We’ve all been there in 1v2 situations and been back-doored at whatever level of football we’ve played, its just the spotlight of scrutiny is harsher at the highest level. I’m sure being ex-Burnley he was kicking himself.

      I’m not sure how this “Wembley hoodoo” will affect Spurs. Once the media has a taste for this stuff they can continually bring it up and it starts to play mental games with the players. The longer it goes on, the more they may just start to believe it. Its a similar thing with Kane scoring in August. He is thinking too much about shots at the minute and you can tell the “Kane never scores in August” thing is in his head everytime he gets a chance. The look on his face afterwards definitely says so.

      Best of luck for the season. Having away form this term should make the season more comfortable when it hits the business end.

      • David Taylor 29th August 2017 at 7:01 am #

        Thanks Mark, these analytic posts you do are really terrific, maybe you should be on the Spurs staff – your pre-match analysis was similarly spot on!

        I think you’re right about the Kane effort in the second half that Heaton saved was an easier save because of the shot blocking scheme Burnley use and train on a lot. The point is that, just like for a free kick wall, Heaton behind the back 4 can whose shaping for a shot (especially when it’s the key striker who’s got the ball), can see where the potential shot is coming from and where the blockers are, and so what part of the goal it’s mostly likely to go, which helps him a lot with his saves.

        It’s not perfect of course since it’s a fluid not a static free kick situation, and if the blockers miss the block or deflect the ball, Heaton can wind up stranded. But he has fast reflexes and is a darned good shot blocking goalie and can usually deal with shots that make it through. His 1 on 1 block against Kane was as good as Lloris’s tackle on Wood, either of those 50/50s could have gone in.

        And you’re probably right about both “Kane in August” and the “Wembley Hoodoo” tags. The press will keep on about such things and it does get to the players. Last season, Burnley were hesitant and defensive in the first half dozen away games, then, despite playing a lot better they kept losing away by the odd (sometimes late) goal), until the “Burnley can’t win away games” seemed to get into their heads and stuck there almost the entire season. Thank goodness for the home form! At least this season we’ve got rid of the “Away Hoodoo” early!

        Cheers and keep up the good and insightful work. When I have more time I might try doing something similar for the Burnley blog!

        • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 29th August 2017 at 10:49 am #

          Some good points raised. Heaton has always been a good keeper and deserves the recognition he is getting with the England call ups. Best of luck with the Burnley blog.

  7. gino litvak 28th August 2017 at 10:48 pm #

    WE already dropped more points at home. Fucking hell! Trippier s a disaster, disaster, Walks would have intercepted that pass when they scored with ease. Trips has no willingness to go forward but even less to get back and defend. Poch is an idiot should have never started beef with Walker. He never planned to leave and now his move started chain reaction

  8. gino litvak 28th August 2017 at 10:49 pm #

    Dropped more points at home vs last season. 5 vs 4 last season

  9. Sharkio 29th August 2017 at 12:08 am #

    Great analysis as usual, Mark.

    Just wondering, do you think Dier left Trippier too much to do? Should he have marked Arfield instead of chasing after Barnes,and instead left Vertonghen and Toby to close him down?

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 29th August 2017 at 10:46 am #

      Good question Sharkio. With Jan, Toby and Dier all going after Barnes there is some fault. Jan is the only one not at blame as he was playing left centre back of the three. For me Toby was unnecessarily marking Barnes and should’ve helped Trippier out as he was on the right of the three centre backs and the closest to provide cover.

  10. Antony 29th August 2017 at 5:10 pm #

    Our speed weakness out wide has been clear for some considerable time now.

    It defies belief that Poch has not been asking for this to be addressed.

    If our chairman indulges in his last minute haggling and fails to deliver then Poch must consider his own position

    Let’s hope not

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 29th August 2017 at 11:54 pm #

      Yes I imagine Poch has been asking for this type of player for a while and whilst I understand negotiations can be complicated and drawn out as millions of pounds are being spent, it’s getting to the point of being ludicrous now. If Aurier falls through then we are properly in trouble.

  11. Antony 30th August 2017 at 7:11 am #

    If we are serious about becoming a major force in football then our bazar, haggling approach is not going to get us there. We had the chance to bring in one or two top level players this time round and we chose not to.

    Now as you say we are on the edge again, with Poch going public about bringing in three or four more players, which is what managers have to do when management is not listening.

    Money is not the issue when our real owner Joe Lewis made over 250 million last year in his tax free Bahamas and is worth over 4.5 billion.

    We will see where we go from here as we do not seem to have any clear management strategy except haggle at the last minute for what is left over.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 30th August 2017 at 10:30 am #

      Yes it’s all about revert to type from Levy after backing Poch in his first few transfer windows.

  12. Toby4eva 30th August 2017 at 2:40 pm #

    Hats off David Taylor!!!

    Says everything about this site.

    We gave up a point by some pretty naive late game field management.

    Hardly rocket science.

    But he is the great Poch – not Mark Hughes or Big Sam ffs.

    He makes some mistakes, not a lot of mistakes.

    The stranger thing was Dele’s goal “celebration”.

    The “dark side” site says Poch went nuts at him at half time due to him being in a non-Wembly post code early doors.

    Interesting re Aurier – seriously we don’t engage for 23 mill if the Home Office are at a HR training course this week – do we?

    I feel there will be a late wild card.

    Whether it’s enough to get us to top four this season – I don’t know.

    I predict we will finish fifth.

    The salient point is five points dropped at home already – only four last season.

    Sanchez and Aurier will deliver – a back three will work.

    A seriously disciplined back five late on would have delivered three points late on Sunday.

    COYS!!!

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 31st August 2017 at 12:18 am #

      Dele’s celebration was rather low key, pretty similar to his effort in the first half and the first few games of this season. Very much drifting through games at the minute, but amazingly still has 2 goals!

      Going to be tough this season. Five points dropped already at home is going to make it difficult as we gathered so many of our points at the Lane last season. I am slightly concerned that moving in to the new stadium we’ll see a similar effect as the players will have to get used to that arena too!

  13. Toby4eva 30th August 2017 at 3:16 pm #

    LLORIS

    DAVINSON ALDERWEIRED VERTONGHEN

    AURIER WANYAMA DEMBELE ROSE

    DELE ERIKSEN

    KANE

    3-4-2-1 in attack – what a brutish rear 7.

    AURIER DAVINSON ALDERWEIRED VERTONGHEN ROSE

    DELE WANYAMA DEMBELE ERIKSEN

    KANE

    5-4-1 in defence – wing backs and Dele/Eriksen drop back.

    I don’t see too much of a problem. Let’s learn from what others do against us.

    If not for two late minute goals we would be sitting in the top five early doors and telling ourselves it’s all rosy.

    Bench is Vorm, Trippier, Davies, Dier, Winks, Son/Lamela, Janssen.

    Sissoko free zone.

    Happy days.

    Says Glass Half Full man….

    Thanks Mark.

    COYS!!!

  14. Erik Zen 30th August 2017 at 5:52 pm #

    Nice half-full glass Toby!

    Aurier looks like it’s now a deal and though he seems a top player I’m worried he could create bad vibes in our lovely fluffy dressing room.

    I don’t know if Levy has reverted to type. He never really gave Poch the players he wanted, so not much change there (e.g. Musacchio and Schneiderlin). There was no second striker for quite some time, and Poch had to be quite creative with how he used his resources (e.g. transforming Dier into defensive midfielder).

    I don’t buy the Levy holding back Spurs line. He is the reason we are punching above our weight sustainably, without petro dollars. Does anyone really believe a different chairman would mean we’d win the league? Levy’s reputation as a tough businessman didn’t appear over night. There’s reasons why certain clubs have backed off from our prime assets. Plus all our best players cost next to nothing.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 31st August 2017 at 12:24 am #

      I think Levy has backed Poch more than our other managers, but this is as he’s had a change of plan. He’s been burnt by spending big too often and this time wants to develop players and have a manager that wants to do that too. Levy hasn’t got Poch all his targets during the last 3 years, but he’s got quite a few for Poch to develop in to the awesome team we have. This season though he has really let Poch down and seems to be reverting back to his previous ways. I just hope Poch doesn’t leave as a result.

      • Erik Zen 31st August 2017 at 6:54 am #

        True Poch could leave but that is also sadly inevitable one day. As much as I adore him he will not stay forever. A sustainable system is more important.

        You only have to look at Arsenal to see wat happens when wage bills get bloated in order to keep a couple of disgruntled star players.

        Once the wage structure breaks you end up with a bunch of spoilt former marquee players sticking around for the money. Remember Adebayor.

        Arsenal enjoyed incredible success, and that was also largely because of Dein’s careful stewardship. Now all those fans are miserable with a sense of entitlement. At best we could win one title but then be fucked financially for decades.

        • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 31st August 2017 at 12:40 pm #

          Spot on. Arsenal really are falling apart and paying for their contract situation. Think I read somewhere that 11 of their players have between 1 and 2 years left on their current deals. This is why they are in the mess that they are with the likes of Oxlade-Chamberlain and Sanchez. Players with limited time left on their contract have all the bargaining power to walk away as the club has to sell or risk losing them for nothing. Levy is smart as he is constantly getting players to sign new deals so they are tied to the club and therefore he can extort maximum value and sell players on his terms.

  15. Brian Cross 31st August 2017 at 4:26 am #

    Hi Mark

    Once again I thought your remarks wer spot on mark.Bioth our Full backs lack the pace,to put any
    pressure on teams defending deep.Plus I thought that our delivery into the final third,
    was very predestrian.We at present seem to lack the the penertration that we had ,during the latter stages
    of last season.One can only hope that Pochi,we solve thr problems,besetting us at present..
    Otherwise its going to be a very frustrating season for us.

    Many regards Brian

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 31st August 2017 at 12:36 pm #

      Hi Brian, we definitely need some more speed otherwise more and more teams are just going to sit back and counter attack like Burnley and Chelsea both did. Big deadline day coming up!

  16. Toby4eva 1st September 2017 at 11:00 am #

    Hopefully Aurier will provide plenty of toe down the right.

    Llorente a smart buy I’d suggest, even though pace not in the equation there!

    Not quite the wild card I was thinking of – but will bring more street smarts to the team.

    He’s a winner, but having elected to play for Swansea his sense of purpose could be questioned.

    That said – he did bag 15 goals in a poor (Siggy excepted) side – and especially when the Swans needed them.

    0-0.

    78th minute.

    Home or away to obstinate bottom half teams well versed in London Transport kerbside logistics.

    Stick him in the six yard box.

    Put some crosses in……

    Surely that’s the plan?

    Experienced back up for H and a cattle-prod for Vinny.

    Speaking of whom, it’s good to see the lad wanting to fight on. I like him, but he looks to be in no mans land now.

    And we’ll get big Ross for a tenner in January to fill the no8 shirt.

    More tinkering from The Gaffer due I think.

    Plenty to ponder from the last two games.

    COYS!!!

  17. Matt 2nd September 2017 at 3:17 pm #

    Pleased with that window. Stronger squad and possibly first 11, with more individual and tactical options. I’d like to see a 3 more often with verts Toby and Sanchez. I just wonder if Tripps is going to be a backup again if Aurier is as good as people say.

  18. Toby4eva 13th September 2017 at 1:55 pm #

    Where is our peerless leader?

    Glass (now) three quarter full man not otherwise worried.

    Toffee rarely tasted so good.

    And doesn’t the number 6 shirt look in safe hands!

    COYS!!!!!

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 17th September 2017 at 6:21 am #

      Apologies for the lack of posts recently mate. I’m working in China at the minute and difficult to write up games. I’ve also missed a fair few recently. Dortmund game seemed like an excellent result, but was Swansea as bad as many making out?

      • Erik Zen 17th September 2017 at 6:03 pm #

        Missing your level headed analysis!

        Swansea was definitely not as bad as people make out… As usual the doom merchants squawk when we don’t win every game 3-0. Thought the formation changes were interesting, also positive from Sanchez and good to see Aurier come on. I was also puzzled as to why Dele wasn’t taken off. And I think we’re missing Vic’s commanding presence.

        Rather frustrating, but to think we are going to do well in the CL and also win every PL game is a bit over-optimistic. Still a learning curve…

        • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 18th September 2017 at 11:11 am #

          I saw Son was used again as a wingback. Is he getting any better at it or was it as crazy a decision as in the cup semi-final last season? Also is Sissoko any better playing in a central midfield position?

  19. Chas 19th September 2017 at 2:07 am #

    Missing your posts, Mark!
    Son was a non-event as a wingback – and yes… crazy decision.
    Sissoko much improved and is putting in a shift as a CM
    Davison was impressive again as the central “sweeper” of our back 3..
    Trippier disappointing but did play on the left for half the game.
    Alli had one to forget and Ericksen was average.
    Aurier made a difference… energy and speed! Tripps will be making way for him.
    Dier slows us to a walk every time he gets the ball and it seems to spread to Jan and Toby at times. Ponderous sideways passing with no objective whic allows a stacked defence to organise and keep Kane and Alli close-marked.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 19th September 2017 at 11:54 am #

      Thanks for the update Chas. Poch seems to have a thing about trialing Son at wingback. Wonder if that means that Danny Rose is either further away from coming back than expected or he may be in the dog house for his comments during the transfer window?

      Sissoko in CM is an interesting one. There was much speculation on forums/twitter about him playing there when he joined but it never happened last season. Maybe Poch is trying to add some speed and more cut and thrust from the centre of the pitch now too?

      I’ve always preferred Dier over Wanyama in defensive midfield. That was because Dier not only has a better passing range, but always had a much better relationship with Dembele. With Sissoko in there alongside him, maybe it has upset his game a bit or maybe he is still getting used to playing with him? Curious to see if this was a one off or if the pair really are really not great together…

  20. Toby4eva 27th September 2017 at 11:09 am #

    Hi Mark and crew

    Hope all is going well in China for you Mark.

    What a good week to be a THFC fan!

    Here is a little gem I found at another site that really captures everything we should be thinking about “one of our own”.

    I’ve liked him for three years, but keep putting Toby, Chris and Dembele at the head of the importance queue.

    No longer.

    Harry Kane is simply a freak.

    “Harry Kane is on fire. He’s now scored nine goals in eight games this season – impressive enough in itself, but remarkable when you consider he didn’t score a goal in the whole of August. He’s now scored four in the last three Premier League games and five in two Champions league games. That’s on the back of winning the past two Golden Boots for scoring the most goals in the Premier League. British people love to put down heroes and many people were saying that Kane was a one-season wonder after following up his first Golden Boot with a dry spell in August. However, he put that behind him with another season-defining display for Tottenham. He’s also scored 10 goals in 21 appearances for England – and fans of the national team will be hoping that he can continue this blinding form in the upcoming fixtures. One thing is for sure, Kane is a not a one-season wonder, or even a two-season wonder. He’s one of the world’s best strikers and he wants to match the achievements of players like Lionel Messi and Christiano Ronaldo. Tottenham fans will be hoping he does all that from North London.”

    Bravo!

    COYS!!!!!