Tottenham Focus – Frustration sets in following poor start
Tottenham fans may well have felt frustration when for the second game running, Spurs conceded a late equaliser against West Brom on Saturday. Two points from successive home matches is probably not the return hoped for but arguably patience needs to be called for.
This is perhaps still the Spurs that struggled in the last few months of the season; a team going into the new season without their midfield maestro - Luka Modric, so pivotal to controlling the pattern of the team’s play. Maybe just as crucial last season was Emmanuel Adebayor playing the lone striker role. His ability to hold the ball up, moving wide and bringing teammates into play, his assists and goals were essential to Spurs season.
Modric is gone and the failure to capture João Moutinho may mean the creative fulcrum will have to come from Moussa Dembele. Adebayor has only just arrived and has appeared a way from match fitness. As a consequence Jermain Defoe has started each game. Whilst, Defoe has arguably played reasonably, with him the team focus is different. As an out an out centre forward, rather than a lone striker, the play is more designed to create for Defoe, whereas with Adebayor there are more options with his ability to link with others.
Also, Spurs boss André Villas-Boas is implementing changes to the training regime as well as getting the squad used to a change in tactical approach. This would take time for any manager, but the Portuguese has only had some players for a short time, so expect things to change and improve rapidly over the coming weeks. Existing players and new players will get used to each other and get used to the changes in tactics. Adebayor will recover the fitness levels required to start matches and the incoming players will become integrated into the team.
At times this season, Spurs have played some very good football, but the consistency throughout the ninety minutes has yet to be there. The consistency should come with increase in fitness levels required to play the high pressing, high defensive level. Control of the game should also come with the move to a more balanced centre midfield.With Dembele alongside Sandro rather than Jake Livermore, Spurs should return to the ball winner, creative midfield partnership that was not only integral to last season, but should be again for Villas-Boas’ preferred 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 formation.
For a period in his second half debut, Dembele showed Spurs what to expect, capping the performance with a goal. There may be a different emphasis to Modric, but the Belgian’s control, movement and passing coupled with being strong in the air, dribbling ability and defensive side, showed what he can bring to the team. Dembele can play further forward but the balance of the team seemed upset by the introduction of Huddlestone; the creative deep lying midfielder looks crucial to the set up.
If expectations for the season are based on finishing fourth last year, then arguably expectations should be revised for the moment. Perhaps fans should bear in mind how Spurs finished last season and acknowledge time is needed to settle new players and tactics and get the balance right. Then maybe fans will see just how good this team can be.
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