Dele Alli scores the opening goal during Spurs 2-0 Arsenal in the North London derby Premier League match at White Hart Lane.

Spurs 2-0 Arsenal: exposing the sides of three centre backs

Relentless at getting down the sides of three centre backs saw the score finish Spurs 2-0 Arsenal in the last North London Derby at White Hart Lane.

Tottenham ripped the makeshift Arsenal back three to shreds as they swept forward in waves. Outside centre backs Gabriel and Nacho Monreal were picked apart by deft movement to isolate and expose them. The score finished a comfortable Spurs 2-0 Arsenal but it could’ve been many more.

Press vs half-hearted pressure

Derby matches, especially a North London Derby, are expected to open quickly. The game did as both teams tried to restrict time and space on the ball. Spurs went about their usual quick closing down. Arsenal half-heartedly tried to do the same.

Arsenal’s pressure was intended as they wanted to disrupt us building from the back. However, they were let down by the lackadaisical effort of Mesut Ozil. The Gunners tried to push up with their front three, backed by Granit Xhaka and Aaron Ramsey.

Ozil was tasked with shutting down Jan Vertonghen and his half-hearted effort allowed us break out from this flank many times during the match.

Mesut Ozil is slow to close down Jan Vertonghen during Spurs 2-0 Arsenal in the Premier League at White Hart Lane, London..

Mesut Ozil is slow to close down Jan Vertonghen.

Spurs down the left

Mesut Ozil’s slackness had a knock-on effect for those behind. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain at wing back was often left 2v1 against Ben Davies and Son Heung-Min on this flank. Right-sided centre back, Gabriel, was thus also often drawn out to help.

Arsenal’s first warning was after just 25 seconds. The astute Eric Dier found Dele Alli, which drew out Gabriel. Seeing this, the predatory Harry Kane snuck in to the channel down the side, as Arsenal’s three centre backs were stretched.

Kane gets in through the three centre backs during Spurs 2-0 Arsenal in the North London Derby in the Premier League at White Hart Lane.

Kane gets in through the three centre backs.

We can see exactly what Spurs were trying to do in the following short clip. Jan Vertonghen has time and space to pick his pass, as Mesut Ozil is slow to close him down. The German jogs forward and then stops ten yards away. Vertonghen can spray a beautiful chipped pass down the line to Ben Davies. Arsenal is immediately on the retreat and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is left 2v1 as Son Heung-Min gains possession. Both Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gabriel are drawn inside creating space for Davies to cross.

This pattern happened time and again and was a major factor in one of the biggest chances of the first half. The excellent Victor Wanyama playing an exquisite ball for Son to run in-behind down the sides of the three centre backs.

Wanyama finds Son's run down the side of the three centre backs during Spurs 2-0 Arsenal in the Premier League match at White Hart Lane, London.

Wanyama finds Son’s run down the side of the 3 centre backs.

Son fired down the line, jinked inside Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, only for Christian Eriksen to shoot over the bar.

Spurs down the right

Gabriel and Oxlade-Chamberlain were being let down by Mesut Ozil. On the other side, Alexis Sanchez, was more interested in attacking than aiding Kieran Gibbs and converted centre back Nacho Monreal.

Monreal’s positioning was often erratic. He was having trouble with the movement of Dele Alli and Christian Eriksen. The Dane drifting inside off the line and Dele making runs from between the lines saw him in fits over who to cover. It opened the door for Harry Kane.

Spurs had got down the sides of Arsenal’s back three to create Eriksen’s glorious chance that skimmed off the bar. Minutes earlier and Harry Kane had exposed Monreal’s positioning to create and even better chance for Dele Alli.

Eric Dier had the ball on the halfway line. Nacho Monreal was attracted out of the back three by Dele Alli’s positioning.

Monreal drawn by Dele allows Kane in-behind during Spurs 2-0 Arsenal in the Premier League match at White Hart Lane, London.

Monreal drawn by Dele allows Kane in-behind.

Kane snuck off the back of Monreal and down the side of the three centre backs who were all over the place. Laurent Koscielny raced after him, but could only deflect Kane’s shot up in the air. Arriving at the back post, Dele Alli somehow construed to glance the header wide when any kind of firmer contact would’ve seen the ball nestle in the back of the net.

Spurs down the sides of the centre backs to score

Getting down the sides of Arsenal’s back three had created the two biggest chances of the first half.

At half time, Mauricio Pochettino made an interesting change. Son Heung-Min and Ben Davies had been superb at exposing Ozil’s positioning to get at Oxlade-Chamberlain and Gabriel. However, Pochettino switched Son to other flank.

The manager did this for two reasons. Firstly, to expose the brittle combination of two left backs on that side of Arsenal’s defence. The dysfunction between Gibbs and Monreal had become increasingly apparent and we weren’t attacking it enough. Christian Eriksen drifting inside wasn’t going at this. A combination of Son and Kieran Trippier would start to expose this space.

Trippier finds Son's run behind Gibbs to pull Monreal out during Spurs 2-0 Arsenal in the Premier League match at White Hart Lane, London.

Trippier finds Son’s run behind Gibbs to pull Monreal out.

Secondly, Alexis Sanchez was coming in to the game as an increasing force. Sanchez had unleashed two fizzing shots towards the end of the first half from the corner of our penalty area. Moving Son Heung-Min to this side was an attempt to force Sanchez back towards his own goal to help Gibbs and Monreal behind.

Sanchez didn’t really take any notice and continued to play high. It was a minor factor that compounded in to a major problem, as Spurs took the lead by getting down the side of Arsenal’s three centre backs once more.

Arsenal was trying to press as Hugo Lloris threw the ball over Sanchez to Kieran Trippier. We ended up gaining a throw in that Trippier took extremely quickly. Sanchez was stood by the thrower and didn’t react. In a split second, Arsenal went from a position of being solid to in disarray.

The throw put Harry Kane right on Arsenal’s back line as he pinned Gabriel. Monreal and Koscielny were caught too high. Kane was therefore allowed to get down the side of them.

Trippier's throw finds Kane with back three pulled apart during Spurs 2-0 Arsenal in the Premier League match at White Hart Lane, London.

Trippier’s throw finds Kane with back three pulled apart.

What followed was a series of knock-on events created by Spurs electric movement and Arsenal’s slowness to respond.

The move continued with Kane and Alli, both of whom could get down the sides of Arsenal’s three centre backs. Christian Eriksen then drifted in to the space beyond a static Kieran Gibbs before buzzing in to the box.

The ball ended up falling to Dele Alli who was quickest to react. Dele swept the ball home past Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain’s awkward clearance on the line. White Hart Lane erupted in epic scenes of celebration as Tottenham had the goal that our play had deserved, Spurs 1-0 Arsenal.

Watch the goal and see the chaos unfold from Trippier’s quick throw. How Harry Kane and Dele Alli get down the sides of the Arsenal back three. Watch Christian Eriksen’s deft movement to get in to the space behind Kieran Gibbs before moving inside to pick up the ball. A brilliant passage of play that created maximum controlled disarray.


The Lane was still celebrating when Harry Kane was fouled for a penalty. Once more, Kane was attacking down the sides of Arsenal’s back three as he was tripped by right-sided centre back, Gabriel.

Kane attacks down the side of the three centre backs to win a penalty during Spurs 2-0 Arsenal in the Premier League match at White Hart Lane, London.

Kane attacks down the side of the three centre backs.

Harry Kane coolly tucked away the spot kick to make it Spurs 2-0 Arsenal and the roof of the Lane almost came off.

Two goals in two minutes from twice attacking down the sides of the Arsenal centre backs.

Victor Wanyama

Victor Wanyama, who had an excellent game, brilliantly pressed Granit Xhaka in the build up. Wanyama swarmed and overpowered the lightweight defensive midfielder to win the ball back and tee up Kane’s run down the side of the three centre backs.

The simple chance-creating pass was one of a number that Victor played in the game in a slightly adjusted role. Starting alongside Eric Dier in the pivot of our 4-2-3-1 Wanyama played a much more advanced and attacking role than his partner.

Distribution is often the factor that impedes the Dier and Wanyama base of our defensive midfield. In this match, Wanyama certainly addressed that. The burly Kenyan not only bullied Arsenal all over the pitch, but he instigated a number of key moves.

Wanyama’s exquisite pass with the outside of his boot released Son down the sidelines when Eriksen clipped the bar with the goal gaping. Victor then won and played in Kane to win the penalty. At Spurs 2-0 Arsenal Wanyama played in Kane’s run, once more down the sides of the back three, which should’ve seen another goal.

Wanyama finds Kane's run down the outside of the back three during Spurs 2-0 Arsenal in the Premier League match at White Hart Lane, London.

Wanyama finds Kane’s run down the outside of the back three.

Spurs set pieces

Not content to be two goals up, Spurs wanted to finish Arsenal off. A string of set pieces followed as Tottenham tried to get down the sides of Arsenal’s back three and ended up winning a spate of corners.

Chances followed as Spurs exploited Arsenal’s zonal system. Victor Wanyama teed up Jan Vertonghen to curl a sumptuous effort that Petr Cech tipped around the post. Toby Alderweireld had a trademark near post header saved. Son Heung-Min clipped the angle of post and side netting. After Alexis Sanchez used his arm to stop Son chipping the ball back over him, the game’s second penalty should’ve been awarded. Corners were causing chaos.

Spurs new system?

With the score now Spurs 2-0 Arsenal, both managers made changes. Pounded down the sides of his three centre backs, Arsene Wenger reverted to a back four. Mauricio Pochettino has been tinker happy with team shapes and personnel of late. With ten minutes to go and with the game safe at Spurs 2-0 Arsenal, he gave us another look.

Pochettino introduced Mousa Dembele and went to a 4-3-3 with an immensely powerful midfield trio. Dembele sat alongside Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama; nothing was going to get through the middle.

4-3-3 with power trio Wanyama, Dembele and Dier during Spurs 2-0 Arsenal in the Premier League match at White Hart Lane, London.

4-3-3 with power trio Wanyama, Dembele and Dier.

The match ended with the final score Spurs 2-0 Arsenal and victory in the last North London Derby at White Hart Lane achieved at a canter.

Spurs 2-0 Arsenal overall

Mauling Arsenal in the wake of learning that Chelsea had won is testament to how far our team has come this season. Nothing was going to knock this group off their stride.

The most apt statistic after the game was just how much farther Spurs had run. Tottenham covered 10km more than the Gunners, but this wasn’t unnecessary movement chasing the ball. It was purposeful closing down and clinical attacking runs, highlighting how much our team outworks the opposition.

Mauricio Pochettino got our tactics spot on. Arsenal’s makeshift back three was rife for attacking down the sides to pull them all over the place. Two goals were the result of going at outside centre backs Nacho Monreal and Gabriel. And, it could’ve been many more.

Final score: Spurs 2-0 Arsenal.
MOTM: Victor Wanyama.

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31 Responses to Spurs 2-0 Arsenal: exposing the sides of three centre backs

  1. Mark from Virginia 1st May 2017 at 6:52 pm #

    Hi Mark,
    Love your posts!! Especially when we win games like this. One observation I made recently is Jan Vertonghen – since going to a back three late last year he has been given a freer role in going forward – similar to how he did when playing left back. This has caused great problems for the opponents. They seem taken by surprise and don’t to know how to deal with it. This is the beauty of the back three with the available defensive players – they are all great on the ball and are a threat going forward, what a great problem to have.

    The most significant thing I noticed though was Jan’s desire to take the game by the balls and pound it into submission. He know longer looks like a bystander – he’s taken the captain’s role and making things happen! It is such a joy to see. Great stuff this year regardless of how the remainder pans out. This team is such a pleasure ;-)

    Mark from Virginia

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 1st May 2017 at 8:31 pm #

      Hi Mark, yes Jan has been immense this season, arguably his best in a Spurs shirt. He’s really stepped up this campaign and is playing at a really high level.

      His attacking bursts catch the opposition by surprise. I’m shocked he hasn’t scored as yet as he’s had a number of good efforts which have either seen great saves or hit the woodwork. I put together an analysis piece on his play the other week, which explains more of what he’s tasked to do. Posted here in case you missed it:

  2. Shuban 1st May 2017 at 8:34 pm #

    For me it was tight between Verts and Vic for who should be MOTM…his forwards bursts seemed to scare the crap out of Ramsey and Xhaka…when playing with a more defensive minded Dier playing him as a forward destroyer has merit

    You are right that he is a real baller. Maybe that hauling off at HT against Palace was what he needed as he seemed to come back reborn..When Winks comes back I think he and our Spaghetti Monster will make an interesting tandem

    Not sure if you have the Kyle Walker transfer talk AKA Bullshit but I think your analysis on how Son and Trippier worked well down the right flank, Poch does like to rotate his fullbacks, plus Walker had a tough game vs Zaha. Hope more Yiddos see your analysis and they will panic less about Walker going

    I must admit Moussa, Vic and Dier were a powerful midfield trio I was hoping Capoue, Moussa and (a sadly slower) Sandro could have been.

    Dele started off slowly but I think that helps his game as he often seems to get the drop on teams who start to lose their ability to maintain their shape.

    Poch does seem to much bolder manager with his changes, no longer waiting at the trademark 60 minutes to effect a difference. Don’t think we can call him the new Tinkerman just yet. Find it odd they went 3 at the back as that only works if you have passer like Sidehow Bob, or perfect hair like Toby. Dier and Jan are aslo capable passers of the ball. They fluked it against City who like to go through the middle but as we attacked the edges of the three they did seem mighty confused

    So I end on this note

    We want you to stay
    We want you to stay
    Arsene Whinger
    We want you to stay

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 1st May 2017 at 11:09 pm #

      I thought there were a number of good performers in the game. Wanyama, Vertonghen and Ben Davies really stood out for me. Davies is playing very well right now and had another good outing. Danny Rose has to earn his place back and doesn’t walk straight back in to the team in my opinion.

      Poch does like to rotate the full backs when they are all fit, so I don’t see an issue with Walker unless he is on the bench against West Ham. If he is… then there may just be some smoke to the tumours.

    • ashley collie 3rd May 2017 at 5:38 am #

      Shubes, is this you? Good to see you here, too, Yiddo!

  3. Toby4eva 2nd May 2017 at 12:18 am #

    Great work again Mark.

    A real joy to read.

    The Gaffer is a superb man manager – and again I think he models himself on Fergie in this regard, albeit demonstrating far more “continental” physical love and emotion for his players – at least in front of the cameras!

    Conte is similarly demonstrative I note.

    I think Shuban is on the money with his comment about big Vic careering back into form to help destroy Woolwich – as we hoped he would – after being hooked at Selhurst.

    A psychological master stroke?

    And who would have thought roughly 35 weeks ago that we could effortlessly swat away Woolwich without Walker, Rose and Dembele on the field?

    The Walker “thing” looks dangerously like it may have legs.

    If he has really had a go at the Gaffer then the Pochettino form guide says the Chairman will be taking a private jet to Manchester pronto with his patented money-extracting device that he used for the Paulinho sale.

    But hopefully Mark is right that sanity will prevail with the distribution of the team sheet v the Hammers.

    It’s inevitable that one of this great and unified squad with become disenfranchised or have his head turned by much better money.

    This is another managerial challenge that our young boss will have to mange carefully.

    But one thing is absolutely certain.

    Pochettino is a man who steadfastly believes in strategising, planning, learning, tinkering (new skill – pat. pending), motivating, executing (hopefully not in Walkers case!) and delivering.

    What he has done for THFC in less than three years is nothing short of astounding.

    We are witnessing a Tottenham team that ha conceded only 57 Premier League goals in their last 72 games over two seasons. That’s 0.80 goals per game – and this season it is down to 0.65!

    Astonishing enough, but we have a striker who has scored 20 goals in three consecutive seasons and another forward who has come out of nowhere and is also hurtling towards 20 goals this term, at the same time bagging consecutive Young Player gongs.

    We have scored one less goal this year than a Liverpool team who were scoring goals for fun under the German wonder coach earlier this year.

    Poch has out-thought and out-managed all but one of what is undoubtedly the most elite band of international football mangers ever employed at the same time in the history of the Premier League.

    He deserves the full, unconditional support of anyone who is remotely connected with this great football club.

    We are now a proper football team that should not be afraid to stare down any opponent.


    • Shuban 2nd May 2017 at 12:08 pm #

      how much is happier did Raheem get at City? Yes he has doubled his wags but how much better has he got with all the PEP talks?

      Poch is like Fergie eff with him at your peril… There have been transfer cock ups but few Fergie failings went on to do that much in all honesty..In all honesty this gets sorted out by the dressing room I think…

      We beat West Ham to guarantee second, and close out the lane with a win, hopefully finally beat Leicester… once the race is over assuming Chelsea also win their next 3…players will be looking to the summer

      Against West Ham I think does play Trippier mostly because they have back 3 who have conceded 60 plus goals already!

      • ashley collie 3rd May 2017 at 5:44 am #

        Sterling might well have doubled his “wags” at Citeh…for some reason our typos come out hilariously well. And I’d love to “mange” carefully…hahahahaha! Makes our winning even better…Toby4eva: the only foreign manager Poch hasn’t mastered yet, Klopp-tomaniac?

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 2nd May 2017 at 1:26 pm #

      Great comment Toby4eva. What Poch has achieved is astonishing, especially if you look at the bigger picture on how much money has been spent to achieve it. As you point out, we finally have a defence at Spurs. For years and years our goal difference would hover around zero, but never anywhere near the +49 it is currently at. That is remarkable! What’s more we are doing it the right way and in keeping with the Tottenham way. We play the most attractive free-flowing attacking football in the league, but it is backed up by a watertight defence. Synchroisation at both ends and beautiful to watch!

      Poch has proven himself as not just a tactical mind, but also having the intangibles like creating a bond and togtherness among the squad. This is imperative to achieve above normal performance and its part of the reason why we are doing what we are on half the wage bill of the other top clubs. I think he is really different to Fergie in all honesty, but we’ll see if he can regenerate the team in the way that Fergie did once players age or if they leave.

      The Walker situation doesn’t have any legs, yet, for me. I think it is just media looking for stories or trying to unsettle the player. Walker and Trippier have played alternate games recently and i’ll only be slightly concerned should Walker not start against West Ham. Poch has a history of shutting out players completely that aren’t part of the collective and Walker wouldn’t have been on the bench, or brought on, if he was making waves that he wanted out.

      Wanyama being subbed off at Palace was because he was in danger of being sent off for any further infringement. He was out with a back problem sustained at Burnley and then was a bit over-zealous at Palace. Maybe Poch had some words to refocus him or maybe getting away with not being sent off at Palace did the trick on its own. Wanyama is equally liable to mistime a few tackles as he is to dominate and so he’s going to have games where he walks that fine tightrope of being sent off for a second yellow. Against Arsenal he was just back to being Victor again for me. He could well get sent off next game at West Ham. That’s just the risk taken with physical players.

      • ashley collie 3rd May 2017 at 5:49 am #

        Mark, you hit the question I asked about what off-field impact has Poch had: “Poch has proven himself as not just a tactical mind, but also having the intangibles like creating a bond and togtherness among the squad. This is imperative to achieve above normal performance and its part of the reason why we are doing what we are on half the wage bill of the other top clubs.” So, spot on. Also, I can only comment via Safari not Chrome (like I used to be able to)…Here’s to a 1P gap by Friday night, and Chavs sweating on the weekend…wobble, wobble!

        • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 3rd May 2017 at 4:03 pm #

          Thanks Ashley. I think good managers today have to be effective at creating bonds amongst their squad and its why underdogs often over achieve.

          Sorry about the continuing commenting problem. I made a change to the backend on Sunday that i hoped would work, so i guess its back to the drawing board. BTW, are you using the Chrome Postman app? as this can have issues.

          Is anybody else using Chrome to comment and having (or not having) issues?

          • ashley collie 3rd May 2017 at 9:51 pm #

            Mark, just regular Chrome on my laptop…I was posting fine before…cheers…keep up great analysis! Interesting how my fave three Spurs Blogs (SpursFanatic, DearMrLevy, Tottenham on my Mind) all offer something different, from insightful strategy, to gonzo fandom to a more cerebral appreciation, respectively. COYMFS! Make it 1P by Friday night!

            • ashley collie 3rd May 2017 at 9:52 pm #

              Mark, you must’ve fixed something, I just sent this last comment and this via Chrome!

              • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 4th May 2017 at 10:52 am #

                Excellent news!

            • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 4th May 2017 at 10:55 am #

              Thank you for the commendation. Big fan of DML and Alan’s work at Tottenham on my mind too.

              A 1 point gap will really put some pressure on. At least Middlesbrough have something to play for too!

  4. Chas 2nd May 2017 at 5:22 am #

    So right about Trippier’s quick throw, Mark. Didn’t he earn another goal earlier in the season doing the same thing? It’s something we don’t get with Walker who likes to stand for what seems an eternity with the ball above his head.
    Totally agree with Toby4eva re our manager, too. A year ago he had no plan B, apparently, but I think that could be put down to the players not really being able to adjust to unaccustomed shapes. This year they KNOW what they’re doing and it shows.
    And whilst Conte has to be worthy of all the plaudits, it should be remembered his team wasn’t in Europe at all. Leicester showed what a real benefit that can be over a season.
    Similarly, Spurs proved what a real bloody headache it is.
    There’s no doubt in my mind we’d be above Chelsea if they had played in Europe.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 2nd May 2017 at 1:40 pm #

      Great memory Chas. Trippier set up our first goal in the FA Cup win over Fulham with a quickly taken throw. It does seem to be a weapon of his.

      I guess we’ll never truly know the reasons why Poch didn’t seem keen on utilising a plan B last season to go to now being tinker happy this term. Like you say, it is a combination of the manager and players learning about each other and the systems as we can now alter things on the fly in games.

      We really are unfortunate to have come up against teams that haven’t been in Europe. Yes Chelsea would certainly have dropped more points had tehy been in Europe. This campaign they’ve had more recovery time, more time on the training pitch to hone Conte’s system and more preparation time to work on tactics for upcoming opponents. This last one is key for me as preparation time of 5 or 6 days as opposed to 2 can make a huge difference. One other thing i’ve noticed is that they’ve kept players healthy eg Diego Costa. He frequently has hamstring and muscle problems due to 2 games a week. Maybe Conte has changed something with their training or maybe it is just down to 1 game a week, but he has been remarkably durable this season and not missed the 3/4 week blocks he often does. I guess we’ll see if it is Conte’s training and conditioning methods or number of games next season when Chelsea has a fuller schedule.

  5. Daudi 2nd May 2017 at 1:23 pm #

    Thanks Mark..

    Strong performance all round, especially Wanyama, executed that Dembele role with aplomb, bombing forward and picking out some really good passes…

    That 4-3-3 though… powerful midfield.. I think that would be a really good formation for Europe, that mid would cause teams problems. The forward trio of Kane, Eriksen and Dele would have more freedom to interchange and create for each other.. This against opposition we know little about..What do you think Mark?

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 2nd May 2017 at 1:42 pm #

      Yes I think that midfield trio of Dembele, Wanyama and Dier might suit some away matches in Europe next season or maybe away to press heavy teams eg Liverpool. Although i still feel we should play 3-5-2 against Liverpool and hit long balls over their high press to Kane and Janssen.

  6. Paulo 2nd May 2017 at 4:37 pm #

    It seems to me that Pochettino has turned Dier into some kind of trump card. When the line ups were announced and Dembele wasn’t there, i (like Sky sports) assumed it was a three at the back with Eriksen playing a deeper role alongside Wanyama in midfield (a kind of version of how we finished against Palace)… but instead it was a 4 at the back with Dier in midfeld… It must be a little disconcerting for the oposition, when you have no idea what you are facing until the game kicks off. It’s the same throughout matches now with Poch switching systems during the games. I’m quite enjoying the “tinker ballistic” Pochettino that we have seen in recent weeks.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 2nd May 2017 at 5:18 pm #

      Great point Paulo. I think this is what Poch wants, as when Sky Sports asked him about his formation and if he was going to go with a back three or four in the interview just before the game, he didn’t answer the question and just gave some other babble. So, he must be thinking about the element of surprise too!

      • ashley collie 3rd May 2017 at 5:56 am #

        Mark, I love his babble, never gives much anyway, never focuses on one player’s accomplishments, even pretends he doesn’t understand some questions when he looks to Jesus (I think he understands well, but either doesn’t want to answer or thinks it’s dumb)…why should he give away tactics, why should he praise one player over others, why should he give ammunition to other teams. I believe there’s a precedent here in North American sports where the manager is paid as well as his top players, Poch should be in that category. I’m going to write about it…got any ideas? Cheers Mark!

        • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 3rd May 2017 at 4:20 pm #

          They take a lot of the flak when its going wrong and control large parts of the team and its strategy, so they really should be. Depending on how much control they have over not only the team, but also scouting and player recruitment, they might well have a case to be the highest paid. Some are the top earners eg Guardiola. But i’m not sure how much Poch is on compared to the rest of our squad? What is reported in the media is often pure journalistic speculation as many clubs, including Spurs, dont report fees and earnings so its hard to accurately say. In US sports you can find out exactly who is on what due to the franchise system and the leagues openly disclosing the information. Here its not so easy to tell which managers are the top earners in their teams and thus if there is a case to be made that they should be. As they may already well be in a lot of clubs.

  7. Dan 2nd May 2017 at 6:12 pm #

    Do you think that the reason why he didn’t have a plan b last season (and does now) is because we have wanyama? We couldn’t play 3 at the back without him (no other out and out ball winning midfielders)

    If that is the case I like that he has been patient and waited until he has the tools in his squad to start using different formations and help push the team to another level.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 3rd May 2017 at 3:53 pm #

      Good question Dan. This is something I have contemplated often this season. Honestly, i’m still really unsure as to whether Poch was stubborn last term and he’s learnt something that he needed to personally improve upon this year or as you say he didn’t have the tools to do what he wanted and so waited. It’s a very tricky one to really know without being on the inside as otherwise its just speculation. No doubt Wanyama has given him options and so versatility. This has a knock on effect as it means Dier can now be moved around too so we have more flexibility on the pitch, which can morph in to different formations during the game. Add in the additional players we now have – Janssen, Sissoko, GKN – and Poch does have more options than before to change things. So, for me, its a bit of evoloution of Poch – he’s young and still learning himself eg I think we’ll be better in the Champions Legaue next season. And its also part evolution and devlopment of the squad, which i’m expecting us to make better acquisitions this summer.

  8. Toby4eva 2nd May 2017 at 11:35 pm #

    Sound analysis on big Vic there Mark – I note on the THFC web site he is saying that it took a while for him to get back into the groove after his injury.

    Looking further forward, has nobody seen any video of this young Czech striker Patrik Schick who plays for Sampdoria?

    He looks the business – with a release clause of 21 mill apparently.



  9. Toby4eva 3rd May 2017 at 8:10 am #

    Lol @ Ashley.

    Yes, my team gets very nervous when I start to mange!!

  10. Dan 3rd May 2017 at 5:08 pm #

    Thanks Mark.
    It will be interesting to see what additions are made in the summer, what with the scouting changes and whatever has happened behind the scenes.

    Don’t know what everyone else thinks but I would love to see us bring in a option for Dembele. As you’ve mentioned before Mark, we have no one else in the squad who can do what he does.

    I’m not sure if we need to make too many other signings?

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 3rd May 2017 at 5:44 pm #

      Replacing Dembele will be difficult. I’m not really aware of anybody else with his skill set so it’ll be interesting to see who we are linked with and if we bring anyone in.

      For me personally, i’d like to see us bring in a left back understudy for Danny Rose. Either Ryan Sessegnon or Ben Chilwell would be ideal. This would allow us to ship out Kevin Wimmer and use Ben Davies as a replacement for Vertonghen as left-sided centre back and as an emergegncy left back if needs arise.

      I’d also like to see us add another striker to compete with Kane and Janssen – if he stays. I feel we need a veteran with Premier League experience and i’d make some enquiries over Alvaro Negredo.

      Sissoko and GKN were brought in to add speed options in wide areas. GKN should get another season to see if he improves, but Sissoko needs to go. Wilfred Zaha is the most obvious target and i think he can do some real damage in a Spurs shirt. What’s more Poch would really coach him up to be even better. However, I think his price is going to be a sticking point and the likes of Chelsea will smash the market up for him. A secondary option would be Bruma from Galatasaray, although the sharks are also circling around him.

  11. Toby4eva 4th May 2017 at 8:51 am #


    I just wanted to acknowledge the great Martin Peters.

    He was my first favourite footballer.

    He was a THFC and West Ham icon of course – and one of only two English footballers to score a goal in a World Cup final.

    Hopefully both clubs will remember him fondly on Friday night.

    Rest in peace.


    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 4th May 2017 at 10:55 am #

      Well said!