Blogs | Fresh Spurs - Part 35


From Lost Squad Player To Free Scoring Sensation: The Rise Of Nacer Chadli

One player who’s contributions this season have gone slightly under the radar but have been critical in Tottenham’s recent improvements, with his goals moving us up to 5th in the Premier League has been Nacer Chadli. The extraordinary improvement from last season to this season is a just reward for the patience shown in him, something which was not a given in the wake of his difficult first season in England.

Throughout his first season in England he struggled to stick himself into the first-team on a regular basis, he was utilised on the left on the right, in a holding role and it seemed he wouldn’t make himself a success, but one game last season showed that there was potential in him. Away at Benfica late last season it was evident that Chadli was beginning to find his feet at Tottenham. The way he attacked from the central role showed that if managed right he could become a very good player for Spurs.

Even though most Spurs supporters expected him to be sold or only be a bit-time player this season, Pochettino made his mark early on in our first home game of the season against QPR when he started Nacer. And Chadli’s brace duly repaid the faith placed upon him in the 4-0 defeat of the Hoops served to reiterate his eye for goal, but the new found self-belief in his game shows what patience and the right management can achieve.

The sparkling implementation of his football philosophy in its fullest, most entertaining version yet is genuine cause for optimism, though. Especially against one of the top-four sides Spurs had been unable to get the better of for a good 18 months. Even as the north Londoners struggled to find a cohesive attacking identity, Chadli has proved one of their more reliable performers. He gave them the lead at Arsenal, was instrumental in a much-needed win over Southampton and helped instigate their successful comeback against Aston Villa.

As this Tottenham side has continued to develop, Chadli has helped ensure their heads do not go too often below water. Now they are looking like a genuine top-four-bothering prospect with hopes of maybe even winning a cup, the 25-year-old is in prime position to be involved. Chadli, as much as anyone, will understand that new projects take time. He is an example why we would all be smarter for having more patience with them.

How Far Tottenham Have Come Under Mauricio Pochettino

We have come a long way since the appointment of Mauricio Pochettino in the summer. As soon as that Argentine started his project at Spurs, I knew that he could make a difference. I knew he was the one to take Tottenham Hotspur forward as a club, and look how far we have come. A long way in my view. Some others may think differently as we occupy that famous 5th position that has been associated with Tottenham in recent times, and it looks as if Pochettino is on a mission to change this.

Firstly from pre-season, and his time at Southampton, we saw the style of football he was going to try and play at our club, and I will get my first negative out of the way early on in the piece. I will say that at the beginning of the season this plan wasn’t executed to the highest of standards, and sometimes we were beaten at our own game. I think back to the home game against Liverpool as a prime example. We were pressed high up the pitch, forcing errors from the back line. That led to a disappointing 0-3 defeat and brought most fans back down to Earth after the impressive 4-1 victory over QPR a week before.

However, I can see many positives since the appointment of Mauricio Pochettino. He has used the youth system at Spurs to great effect, with the introduction of Ryan Mason and Harry Kane into the first team. These two players have fitted fantastically into the team, and I have been full of praise for the young English talent that is Ryan Mason since his introduction. Nabil Bentaleb has retained his place in the starting line-up since his introduction last year under Tim Sherwood.

The same goes for Harry Kane, who has lit up White Hart Lane since the start of the season. When I look at him now, I remember being in attendance at White Hart Lane when Kane came on as a substitute, and forced the game against Hull in the Capital One Cup to go to penalties. The ball fell at the feet of the striker, and instead of lashing the ball wildly over the bar, the youngster slotted the ball into the bottom corner with a neat finish like he had practiced that same scenario for weeks.

The striker – destined for a place in the England squad – has also taken to the Mauricio Pochettino style of play, winning the ball back in midfield on numerous occasions, and then wasting no time at all in getting the team onto the front foot, whether that be with a swift pass to open up the defence or a darting run, weaving in and out of defenders.

Another positive is the fitness of the squad. Not only have we won a number of games in the final minutes, but we have shown overall fitness, not just in the actual games, but also when fixtures have been tightly packed. This is something I felt we have struggled with in previous seasons.

Pochettino’s favourite subject appears to be a winning mentality. This is an atmosphere I am sure that he has created inside the Tottenham dressing room. It is almost impossible to judge this, but from what I have seen on the pitch, I am sure that the winning mentality is there. The fitness aspect has helped with this mentality.

The final thing that I would like to say,  is that I am delighted with how we have approached the big games this season. I will start with the game away at Manchester City for example. Although we came out losers via a 4-1 scoreline, I thought that certain refereeing decisions went against us, but if we leave that aside and look at the performance itself, I was very pleased.

I thought we showed great character to come back from an early setback despite dominating the first ten minutes was a very good effort. We matched the Manchester side for just under an hour, looking very dangerous on the break, and actually had a penalty to level the scores up at 2-2. You cannot blame the players for starting to lose a bit of belief after falling 3-1 down at the Etihad Stadium after putting in such a good performance for an hour. Please don’t get me wrong! We didn’t set the world alight with that performance, but I felt that it was a massive improvement on what we have seen under previous managers such as AVB.

I will take Chelsea as another example. First of all, you would have to say that it was very disappointing to have as much possession as we did, and not score at all. However, we were very quick out of the blocks, and Harry Kane had two decent chances to fire us ahead, one of which hit the bar. Unfortunately, it was defensive errors that saw Chelsea pull away from us, but nevertheless I was pleased, we weren’t really as bad as the scoreline suggested.

Back in September, we picked up a draw against Arsenal in the North London derby. The approach that we took was a positive one. Arsenal did not the best of days in an attacking sense, and looked dangerous on the break, like at Manchester City. Admittedly, we had chances to win the game in the first half, but a second half goal from Nacer Chadli fired us ahead, only for it to be cancelled out by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

On the topic of big games, I have to finish with the New Year’s Day win over Chelsea. Like at City, we showed character, (alright, Harry Kane showed character) to come from a goal down and equalise on the half-hour mark. We then built on this and stormed into a 3-1 lead at half-time. We all know what happened after that! In that game, I thought we were clinical, and didn’t squander many, if any, chances that fell our way. That will create a great atmosphere in the dressing room, and we can enter the return fixtures against these teams with great confidence, knowing that we are capable of it, and most importantly, we CAN do it!

SEVEN Players Who Could Leave Spurs This January

With the January Transfer Window approaching fast, Mauricio Pochettino will no doubt be looking to offload some of the fringe players and recruit some new faces into White Hart Lane. So with that in mind, let’s have a look at some names that could be leaving White Hart Lane this January.

We have already seen eight players who could come through the door at Tottenham, but who exactly could be going the opposite direction? Here are seven players that could.

EIGHT Players That Could Join Tottenham In January

Despite Mauricio Pochettino stating in a recent press conference that no new players are going to be signing for Tottenham in the New Year, we still think that with new head of recruitment and analysis Paul Mitchell, we can still pull off some mid-season deals.

These players are all gathered from recent news reports claiming that they could join Tottenham in January. Some of these are likely and unlikely to happen, we will be rating the likelihood of these transfers taking place throughout the post.

Christian Eriksen- A New Found Luka Modric?

Last night’s 4-0 Quarter-Final win over Newcastle was mesmerising to watch, it was energetic, positive and everything that Mauricio Pochettino wants to see. But I believe a large part of that was down to one player, who ironically wasn’t on the scoresheet, but had the most impact, our number ten, Christian Eriksen.

Erisken showed last night that not only is the role behind the striker his best position, but also, he has the ability to become one of the best players in the world if he continues to play regularly in that free role. Throughout this season he has often being left out on the left wing which negates a lot of his ability to impact games and be a creative threat in the final third of the pitch. This has been a source of constant irritation amongst Spurs fans, all of whom believe that Eriksen poses a goalscoring threat when he’s playing off the Centre-Forward.

Last night he was in that role and he excelled. He dictated the game from that position, he ran the midfield and his passing and quickness on the ball meant he controlled the pace of the game which was key in our superb display just 24 hours ago. It reminded me of when Luka Modric was at Spurs, how his ball movement and passing could run a game and dominate it.

That is the type of quality player that Eriksen has the talent to replicate or even go beyond if he develops his game sufficiently over time. People have yearned at Spurs for us to look for a replacement for Modric, well there’s no need, cause we have his replacement, and his name is Christian Eriksen.

How Our Fans Can Stop Success At Tottenham

Boy, how much can change in a week! This time last week, we were reacting and taking in the performance that our Tottenham put in against Everton in a 2-1 win. You may remember that we went behind due to a Kevin Mirallas wonder goal before we came from behind to claim all three points.

I also seem to remember that the fans were terrific, and watching on Sky Sports, I could hear the fans signing and getting behind the team for the whole ninety minutes, and even when we went behind, shouts of ‘Come on you Spurs’ and ‘Oh when the Spurs’ came from the stands, and when we completed the comeback, the crowd were buzzing.

The point I am trying to get across is that the players thrived on this atmosphere. It was noticeable. We moved the ball quicker and constantly looked a threat. Roberto Soldado got his goal and things were looking on the up. Then, the next set of fans that turned up at White Hart Lane were almost completely different. I am not going to say anymore than that about the atmosphere at White Hart Lane.

The players do not like this atmosphere, and yes, it was the wrong thing to say, but maybe Emmanuel Adebayor did have a point. The players will not play their best with the fans on their backs’ all of the time. This could even stop success at White Hart Lane. We face Newcastle in the quarter-finals of the Capital One Cup, and I really do worry about our performance, and I am hoping and praying that a good, supportive set of fans turn up on Wednesday 17th December. If we believe, we can win. So, to summarise, I just want all Tottenham fans that attend games to stick by the team, no matter how bad things are going, try to keep your frustration inside and back the team.

Nabil Bentaleb- From Teacher’s Pet To Midfield Anchor

Our performance against Everton has been lauded by fans for intensity and passion and quality that hasn’t been displayed so far this season. Several players have been credited for it, Vertonghen, Lennon, Kane, Soldado amongst them, but one player who went unnoticed but in my view was a pivotal factor was Nabil Bentaleb.

We all remember that December day away at Southampton when Tim Sherwood brought him off the bench and he showed us that day, that he could handle himself at the elite level in England but many assumed that he was playing because Sherwood was making a point. Bentaleb throughout the 2nd half of the season got branded ‘Teacher’s Pet’ by many for the amount of trust that was placed upon him and when he departed at the end of the season, most felt that Bentaleb would plummet down the pecking order at Spurs.

But under Mauricio Pochettino he started the opening three Premier League games before being sidelined with injury, he came back into the side on Sunday against a front four of Eto’o, Barkley, Mirallas, Lukaku, people, myself included, that Bentaleb would be overrun against that line-up. But he controlled the pace of the game partnered with Ryan Mason and the two combined very neatly, Bentaleb sat back and held the ball well, allowing Mason to trek further upfield to create chances.

Nabil won every tackle in the midfield and looked as if he’s been playing in the Premier League for 10 years, showing such great maturity for a 20 year old, bet if he was English the media wouldn’t stop raving about him! Anyways it’s great to see such a young player thriving at our club and I hope he continues to grow from strength to strength with us for many years to come.

What Tottenham Need To Do In Order To Get A Result At Stamford Bridge

On Wednesday, Mauricio Pochettino and his Tottenham side will make the trip over to Stamford Bridge to face an in-form unbeaten Chelsea side that look absolutely unstoppable at home at this moment in time. Although a win looks unlikely, there is a first time for everything. I will leave it at that! If we are going to get a point against Chelsea, this is the way I feel that we should go about the task in hand.

Why Appointing And Then Sacking Tim Sherwood Was A HUGE Mistake

Everybody says that you can never judge a player on his first season in the Premier League. However, is this true for the summer seven that made their way to White Hart Lane in the summer of 2013, bought with the money from player sales, predominantly the money made from the Gareth Bale sale.

Last season, these seven summer signings arrived with a total value of over £100m and had huge pressure on them to perform, as did manager Andre Villas-Boas. To put it lightly, things didn’t quite go to plan and AVB was sacked just before Christmas after a 0-5 loss at the hands of high flying Liverpool. Soon, Tim Sherwood was in the hotseat with an eighteen month contract along with assistant Les Ferdinand. Here is where I think it all went wrong for Spurs in the 2013/14 aside from the transfer dealings.

As time grew on, the eventual inevitability of Tim Sherwood’s contract being terminated at the end of the season became more and more obvious. However, the team were playing some nice football, albeit not always coming out with a positive result at the end if the ninety minutes. As the team found out that Sherwood would be heading out of the exit door at the end of the season, they became complacent and they were not playing to the best of their abilities, with a starting place as no incentive as they knew the current manager would be leaving.

This had a big affect on how the team performed with two mangers being sacked in one season, it made the bedding in process a lot more difficult than the players would have anticipated when they joined the football club.

This now leaves Daniel Levy with the task of building stability at the cub and this also leaves Mauricio Pochettino with the tough task of turning the morale of the team around. This hasn’t worked so far, but there is still hope. We all hope that the players will come back from the international break feeling ready to battle for their place at this club as the January transfer window draws ever closer.

Why Daniel Levy Needs To Give Pochettino Massive Backing

With Mauricio Pochettino taking fourteen points from eleven games, fans have been starting to question the appointment of the Argentine. This is the the thing that gets on my nerves the most about the Tottenham fans.

We as fans have to accept that this is a project at Spurs. What AVB had always wanted at the club, a project. When a new coach is appointed at a club, it will either click or it will not. However, the third manager in a year not clicking, you have to question what is actually going wrong. Well, we can certainly rule out the managers themselves. There could be many things wrong at the club, the backroom staff, director of football, scouts and all the other roles that are available at a club.

This could be something that Daniel Levy is starting in understand. Spurs are set to sign scout Paul Mitchell, who previously worked with Pochettino at Southampton, this indicates that Tottenham are ready to change.

Pochettino needs a lot of time, that is the bottom line, and the new scout signing that is set to go through could lead to the chairman giving the manager a lot more time than previous managers. It is all about creating an environment that both the manager and chairman are happy with, and a change upstairs is a good start. Pochettino has to have confidence in who is working at the club, and equally Daniel Levy. It is also all about backing the manager in what he does. This means giving him financial backing and backing the many decisions that he will make whilst managing Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.

With the Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust set to meet with the club on Thursday, we could find out some answers as to what exactly goes on behind the scenes and the question that everybody wants to know the answer to, when is our stadium being built, and where is we moving in the meantime?

Things are looking positive with the new scout set to come in, and positivity from the fans would be good as we return from the international break against Hull.