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.