Blogs | Fresh Spurs - Part 36


Why Spurs Need To Go Back To Basics

After reflecting back on what’s happened so far, with many suggestions being floated around about people being sacked and the club restructuring itself, but after a lot of thought, I believe the way we can get back on track is this, it’s time to back to our roots.

No more Director of Football having the final rule on transfer signings and let the manager buy the players that he wants to bring into the team. Daniel Levy has tried to adopt the DOF structure throughout his 13 years as Chairman, he first brought in Frank Arnesen who was a dismal failure and left to go to Chelsea, he tried Damien Comolli who in my view, despite finding some great talents, Bale/Modric/Berbatov, was not a great success and now Franco Baldini’s attempt has been nothing short of shambolic.

People say Directors of Football can work because they’ll discuss with managers who they want and what their options are. But with a strong and powerful manager there shouldn’t be any discussions, it should be a case of the manager makes the decisions and the manager demands and acts upon them because he is the one who lives and dies by it. It’s time to ditch the system and let it be.

In terms of back to basics on the pitch, no more inverted wingers. That is playing your left footed winger on the right and right footed on the left. Can it work? Yes. Does it work for Spurs? No. I am bored to death of seeing Andros Townsend cutting in all the time only to find his path blocked with a line of players getting back and forcing him to run across the length of the pitch and then playing a sideways pass. All right backs in the PL now know to block the outside and he will run into nowhere, you see either Lamela/Chadli/Eriksen having similar problems on the left. If they’re out on the wings trying to cut inside, it’s very easy for the opposition to mark them out of the game.

Also using inverted wingers has another side-effect, it negates the impact of our strikers and their goalscoring. So many times in the last 2 years we’ve seen our Centre-Forwards stride into the box but there be no ball there to receive them. Our strikers have been left isolated and when they do receive the ball they’re always too deep to do anything effective. This leads me to my final point, we need players willing to fight for the cause and offload the ones who don’t have the stomach for it.

Too many of our players are going through the motions and will simply turn up to a game believing they just have to do the bare minimum to win matches and it is repeatedly costing us dearly. Aside from Hugo Lloris, Ryan Mason, Harry Kane none of the current squad are willing to take any form of responsibility or leadership. Pochettino needs to clear out the mercenaries in out dressing room and bring in and bring through young hungry players who will fight for the cause.

Upstairs To Blame? Why Spurs Will Not Reach Champions League For Some Time

The Lilywhites finished in 6th place last season ten points outside of the top four. Over the several seasons they have flirted with a Champions League top four berth having succeeded in 2011/12 and previously in 2009/10. While success always seems within their grasp they just cannot seize and hold it. This is down to two major reasons, a dysfunctional transfer process and mixed priorities.

Manager, Mauricio Pochettino, does not have full control of the transfer window process. Chairman, Daniel Levy, and a small cadre of Board Members dubbed The Committee have considerable say and mostly likely final say over who comes and who goes. This explains why top players like Rafael Van Der Vaart, Luka Modric and more recently Gareth Bale are sold without suitable replacements being found. Top class players leave and solid, but not world-class, players replace them. Emmanuel Adebayor, Roberto Soldado are good but don’t bring the same level of firepower as Gareth Bale did. This can be a good way to make a profit on the transfer window but not a good strategy for achieving and maintaining a Champions League berth.

The players who’ve been leftover don’t seem up for a fight, they lack hunger in matches, believing they just have to turn up play and win without having to exert themselves in matches. This was most evident against both Newcastle and Stoke in Spurs last two home games, there was no spirit shown, if there was only Mason/Kane and maybe Rose could walk off with their heads held high but otherwise the players just lost the incentive to win and gave it away on both occasions to far weaker teams than ours.

Another fundamental issue is there are just too many average players. Have a look at our squad and divide them into three sections:

‘Definite Champions League Quality’ (DCLQ) players
‘Potential Champions League Quality’ players’ (PCLQ) players
‘Not Champions League Quality’ (NCLQ) players

Lloris, Lamela, Vertonghen, Eriksen, Walker

Vorm, Stambouli, Chadli, Soldado, Dier, Davies, Dembele, Townsend, Kane, Adebayor (I would include Mason and Kane but they both lack experience at that level)

Capoue, Kaboul, Lennon, Naughton, Rose, Paulinho, Chiriches

Secondly, as mentioned before, the squad is not being played/utilised to its best ability. And many of the players who have been with us for 2 or 3 seasons haven’t been played in their best position, in the best formation for the squad at hand at the time, for a LONG time.

This has meant that confidence is incredibly low for some key players – e.g.: Soldado, Lennon, Paulinho – and that players less experienced at dealing with being played out of position in a squad where the manager doesn’t know his best starting XI after eleven games (i.e.: they haven’t been at Spurs very long) don’t really know what their role is and aren’t playing to their best either.

I sound like a broken record but if Levy had done a better job in the transfer window following our pretty good Champions League season, not sacked our third best manager of all time and spent the Bale money more on proven players rather than the majority of players who he thought might make us some cash in the future, we might not be in this position of mid-table mediocrity.

Why We Love Spurs And Why We Need To Get Behind The Team Again!

There’s been plenty of talk about the atmosphere of Tottenham fans with many having a divided opinion, but I believe we’ve now reached a point where we have to get back to basics as fans of our club.

The declining atmosphere inside White Hart Lane has become a growing issue in the last 18 months. While we’ve endured some dire performances throughout this time, it is undeniable that there has been a drop in the decibel levels in N17. Too often we see Spurs go behind in games, followed by the inevitable image of fans leaving the ground, well, I say it’s time to stop.

While Spurs fans in every corner of the ground have their part to play on a matchday, we also need to change our outlook. Think why do we support Spurs? Because we win trophies, we play in big competitions, or spend incredulous sums of money to buy players?

The answer to all is no, we feel in love because we appreciate the value of great football, we always win with style and outplaying our opposition. We love the superstar characters who wowed us with their incredible skills, the cult heroes who would do everything to win a match for us even when it seemed most unlikely.

It’s time we stopped worrying about what direction the club is going and start remembering the reasons why we fell in love with Spurs. We fell in love with the great players on display, Hoddle, Gascoigne, Ginola, Klinsmann, even in losing we didn’t walk out on our side we sang our hearts out till the final whistle blew in every game, Home/Away, League/Cup.

I’m not saying we must blindly support the team regardless of what is currently happening but I’m saying when we’re down and things aren’t going well, instead of walking out on our players we stay and rally behind them to give them the extra push that I know we as fans can give to Spurs, we have a big responsibility to make White Hart Lane a fortress again and this is the time to do it.

Three Ways Pochettino Tactically Shot Himself In The Foot Against Villa

Tottenham snatched a late three points at Villa Park due to a very late Harry Kane free-kick that took a deflection on it’s way into the back of the net. Inn many ways we were lucky to claim the win and here are three tactical flaws that Mauricio Pochettino made that nearly lost him the game.

1) Not tackling the height and threat of Christian Benteke

Since his return, Benteke has been improving every game he has played, and Pochettino did nothing to tackle his threat. We often saw Benteke jumping higher than all of our defenders and winning most headers, and the obvious solution to this would be starting Federico Fazio. Standing at around six foot and five inches, Fazio would be the perfect match for the Belgian, and would have stopped the threat of Benteke in the air. As it stood, Younes Kaboul and Jan Vertonghen were no match for the tall Villa striker. We were only given a lifeline when Benteke was sent off just after the hour mark.

2) Not starting Harry Kane

As every Spurs fan will know, Harry Kane has been in excellent form during all cup competitions, and has hardly been given an opportunity in the Premier League. Only making appearances from the bench, Kane hasn’t been given the entire ninety minutes of a match to make a difference. However, the young Englishman only needed little over thirty seconds to make an impact on the game, running down the right, injecting some pace into the game and winning us a corner. Pochettino simply must start Harry Kane on Sunday against Stoke.

3) Playing Christian Eriksen on the right wing

For me, Eriksen is most effective playing in the number ten role, and this showed when he was substituted at half-time for Erik Lamela after a poor first half performance. I am not suggesting that the Dane should have been deployed in the number ten role, as I think that this would be better for Soldado in the long run. Eriksen has previously showed that he can play on the left hand side and behind the striker, but not on the right wing. Maybe it would have been better for the team if Lamela if had started in the position of Eriksen, as he is more suited to the role. There is time for experimenting, but away to Villa when your team is in times of trouble in the Premier League is not the right time to experiment.

So, to avoid losses in the future, Mauricio Pochettino must avoid these tactical errors and set up the team taking into account the opposition’s strengths as well as our own.

Why The New System We Saw Against Villa Will Suit Roberto Soldado

Yesterday, we saw Tottenham pick up a late 2-1 win over Aston Villa. That game saw Mauricio Pochettino fielding two strikers for the entire duration of the match. These two strikers didn’t line-up how you think they would.

The new system saw Roberto Soldado play just behind the striker, Emmanuel Adebayor or Harry Kane. You may say that there is no change in system, but it saw Soldado play as a number ten, but also helped out Adebayor or Kane up top, so effectively, we saw a 4-2-3-1 formation, sometimes changing into a 4-4-2 when Soldado chose to join the lone striker up top.

Now, onto who this will suit, and as you can tell by the title, I feel that it will suit Roberto Soldado the most. As we saw last season, Soldado struggled up front by himself, and often had to wait for the support from the midfield to come up before playing the ball through as he didn’t have the confidence or sheer pace to take on a defender.

On many occasions, this season as much as last, the Spaniard has dropped deep and sometimes has left us with no target man up front, leaving the midfield  with the responsibility of making goal scoring opportunities for themselves. Playing as the lone striker, the onus was on the Spaniard to score goals, and that is something he couln’t do from forty yards out.

That is why I think Soldado is suited to the number ten position, he can also link-up play very well with other, and the onus is not on him to score all the goals. This will hopefully take him of the mounting pressure off his shoulders and he can play with a bit more freedom, allowing him to roam from his position.

We hope that Mauricio Poochettino will keep this system, so we can hopefully get the best out of Roberto Soldado.

Tottenham Team News And Predicted Line-Up To Face Brighton

Tottenham will be eager to get back to winning ways after a loss at home to Newcastle on Sunday afternoon. As usual as we switch competitions, Maurcio Pochettino is expected to make wholesale changes to the side that started against Newcastle as we look to progress into the next phase of the Capital One Cup. We face Brighton, who are just two points above the Championship relegation spots. Here is the team news and predicted lineup.

Team News:

Our woes in the right-back position continue as Kyle Naughton is still out nursing an ankle injury, whilst Kyle Walker remains out after undergoing abdominal surgery last month. Nabil Bentaleb is also out on contention.

Predicted Lineup: (4-2-3-1)

Goalkeeper: Michel Vorm
Vorm hasn’t had too much game time thus far since joining Tottenham. He has been out of contention for a large chunk of this season whilst he completes a ‘fitness regime’. The former Swansea stopper has a good chance of starting now. He did feature in our last Capital One Cup match at home to Nottingham Forest.

Defence: Eric Dier, Younes Kaboul, Vlad Chiriches, Ben Davies
Eric Dier must start at right-back despite his costly errors at the weekend. Otherwise, you would have to start plunging players into a position that they have never played before and that would be too risky. After Kaboul hit out at players for being defeated, he needs to start and lead by example.

Midfield: (Holding) Benjamin Stambouli, Moussa Dembele
If he starts, Dembele will be key in the sense that he can drive and run at the Brighton defence from that holding role. Stambouli will be playing the Etienne Capoue role, holding back whilst other push higher up the pitch.

Midfield: (Attacking): Aaron Lennon, Harry Kane, Erik Lamela
I simply think that Erik Lamela needs confidence. That will then allow him to kick on in the Premier League, something that he hasn’t done yet. Harry Kane needs to start after he scored a hat-trick last week in the Europa League and is in a good run of form.

Forward: Roberto Soldado
Much like Lamela, Soldado is very short of confidence and needs a boost of confidence. If he starts, this is a fantastic opportunity for him to bag a couple of goals. As we saw on Sunday, he can link up with Kane very well, and if they both start, the two of them could be very hard to play against.

Why Brighton Is The Perfect Time To Experiment

As you may have noticed over the past few weeks, is hasn’t been going too well for Maurcio Pochettino in the Tottenham hot seat. It has been our worst start to the Premier League season since 2008/09 when Juande Ramos was at the helm (it seems a very long time ago doesn’t it).

Last week, we saw Spurs cruise to a 5-1 win over Asteras Tripolis in the Europa League. That was a game where we saw both Emmanuel Adebayor and Harry Kane start in. However, we didn’t lineup as you might think we would. Pochettino deployed his players in his usual 4-2-3-1 formation, with Kane playing in the number ten position.

Now, some will say that you can get the best out of Harry Kane when you play him just behind the striker. You would certainly be lead to believe this, after the youngster bagged a hat-trick at White Hart Lane last Thursday.

As I said earlier, last week we tried Harry Kane and Emmanuel Adebayor out together, and that seemed to work quite well. As you will agree, the Premier League is no place to experiment. I feel that we are active in so many competitions, which means that we have plenty of games to try things out, and especially in these earlier rounds when we face possibly lesser opponents that we necessarily would face in the later rounds of the competition. This is possibly why Mauricio Pochettino mixed it up a bit in starting Kane and Adebayor.

I feel that this Capital One Cup game against Brighton is the perfect opportunity to start Roberto Soldado and Harry Kane together up front. We saw this partnership briefly on Sunday for seven minutes, and you would have to say, it worked well. The two linking up well to carve out our best chance of the second half. We would ideally like to see more of the same if they both start on Wednesday.

This isn’t just a night for Soldado and Kane. This is also a night for variation all over the pitch. Possibly swapping around the attacking three, and starting with Andros Townsend on the left and Aaron Lennon on the right. Another thing to bear in mind is that the starting XI isn’t permanent for the full ninety minutes. It is very easy for Pochettino to swap things around again at half time if the changes are not going according to plan.

So, when I look at the team sheets at around an hour before the game, I would like to see variation in the team selection, and then we may be able to tackle some of our Premier League issues.

Two Up Top? Why Tottenham Need A Formation Change

It wasn’t quite the equivalent of throwing the kitchen sink at White Hart Lane on Sunday, but in the last seven or eight minutes, Mauricio Pochettino went for two strikers up top, and you have to say that this did change the game in the closing stages, despite us losing 2-1.

As soon as Harry Kane entered the field of play, the pace of the game changed slightly in that the tempo was raised by the home side. All of a sudden, they looked more creative going forward, with Kane influential in much of this.

Then near the end of the game, came the introduction of Roberto Soldado and although he fluffed a good chance to put us level, his overall link up play was very good, as it was at the Etihad. Our best chance to equalise was actually when Soldado and Kane linked up and the latter manged to find a cross that nobody could get on the end of.

This is why i think that Tottenham need a formation change, and not only to accommodate strikers, but other players as well. Before rushing into decisions of 4-4-2, or 4-1-3-2, you must think of what this does to affect the other players on the pitch. With 4-4-2, you would have to sacrifice the two just in front of the defence. This is why 4-1-3-2 would accommodate players the best as it keeps at least one player in front of the defence and keeps the bank of three and allows two strikers to start up front. However, this means that possibly Ryan Mason would miss out, and as you saw on Sunday, he is a key part of our side, providing the assist for our goal.

As you can see, there are many pros and cons to a formation change. But would you change the formation or keep the same formation?

10 Transfer Deadline Day Signings That Could Happen

It could be a busy transfer deadline day at Tottenham! Here are ten transfers that could potentially happen at Spurs on this annual day of madness!


1) Benjamin Stambouli
Reports suggested on Friday night that the current Montpellier holding midfielder was set to join Tottenham in a £4.7m deal. The French club even posted it on their official Twitter account! Rumours gathered momentum once again yesterday as Stambouli was reportadly spotted at White Hart Lane during Tottenham’s 3-0 defeat at the hands of Liverpool.

2) Danny Welbeck
The current Manchester United striker has been linked with a move away from the club, but Louis Van Gaal has neither denied or confirmed reports that Welbeck will leave the club this summer. Reports last night claimed that that Spurs had agreed a loan deal with United, the deal believed to be worth £2m.

3) Jay Rodriguez
The attack minded midfielder has been linked with a move to Spurs ever since the appointment of Mauricio Pochettino. Papers claimed last night that Spurs are to offer £14m plus Andros Townsend for the England international. The former Burnley man is still months away from playing after picking an injury in April against Manchester City, but he says the recovery is going well.

4) Matija Nastasic
The Sun report that enquires have been made by both North-London rivals Tottenham and Arsenal. The paper understand that the defender is set to make a choice of either clubs today. The centre-back appears to not be in the manager’s plans for this season.


5) Sandro
The Daily Mail reported last night that QPR are very close to sealing a season long loan for the Brazilian. It was believed that Napoli and other Italian clubs were interested in the holding midfielder. It was reported that Sandro is not in Mauricio Pochettino’s plans, fuelling speculation that he will move away from White Hart Lane this summer.

6) Lewis Holtby
The German has been previously linked with a move back to his old club Schalke 04, but those rumours seemed to have fizzled out. New reports say that Everton are interested, but Hamburger SV seem to have beaten them to it, with Holtby set to have a medical with the German club today. The clubs Sporting Director has confirmed it, saying that he will have a medical.

7) Andros Townsend
As I mentioned earlier, Townsend has been linked with an involvement in a deal for Jay Rodriguez. In addition to this, the England international has been linked with many other clubs in the Premier League. Either way, he could be on his way out of White Hart Lane and could’ve made his last appearance yesterday.

8) Roberto Soldado
The Independent reported last night that Spurs are set to listen to offers for Roberto Soldado. In the past few weeks, the former Valencia striker has been linked mainly with moves to Italy and previously reports have claimed that Spurs tried to sign Mattia Destro, throwing Soldado in with any potential deal.

9) Aaron Lennon
A journalist at Sky Sports has claimed that QPR are close to sealing a loan swoop for the English winger. It could be a deadline day Spurs steal for QPR as they are also interested in signing Brazilian midfielder ‘The Beast’ Sandro. Lennon has not fitted into the Pochettino system particularly well so far.

10) Zeki Fryers
Sky Sports report that youngster Zeki Fryers is set to complete a move to Crystal Palace today after reports have suggested this move for a couple of weeks now. Crystal Palace’s defence needs strengthening after conceding three at the weekend away to Newcastle. It is unclear however, if Fryers is for now or for the future.