Spurs Gut Reaction Rant: Win at Sunderland


Spurs pick up their first win and fourth injury at midfield.

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First things first, before Ryan Mason’s game-winning goal and untimely injury afterwards, Spurs did not play a good game at all today. In fact, this may have been their worst game of the season. It may have taken five games to earn a win but it’s better than another draw. However, today’s victory was difficult due to Christian Eriksen and Mousa Dembélé’s injuries.

With the Danish and Belgian internationals missing this game, it forced Mauricio Pochettino to start Dele Alli in the #10 role and shift Ryan Mason deeper, next to Eric Dier. Alli would join Heung-Min Son in earning their first Premier League start. Son would play as the left winger, moving Nacer Chadli to the right flank.

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During the entire first half, the game was wide open with constant back and forth action, although that action was mostly Sunderland pushing up the pitch and having their way with Spurs’ defense. Losing Dembele’s pressing game was apparent as both Dier and Mason couldn’t recover the ball quickly to set up a counter attack. Make no mistake, Eric Dier is doing very well as a holding mid, but when paired up with the Belgian midfielder, Dier doesn’t have to worry as much in terms of winning the ball back on a consistent basis.

The loss of Spurs’ creative playmaker and defensive stalwart meant that Tottenham would be in a battle to try and earn their first win of the season and three points. This is exactly what happened. Because Son was making his debut, every Spurs fan were hoping for a good first impression. After nearly an hour, the South Korean international didn’t look overly impressive or bad. He was mainly okay overall, but stood out with his two free kick deliveries which were on point, there was just no result of a goal. But Son gave Spurs two good chances.

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A mediocre Premier League game for Spurs’ third highest signing in club history isn’t that worrisome yet. Heung-Min Son is currently getting used to the different style of English football. If the Korean international is trying to do too much, it’s because he feels he must live up to high expectations based on his transfer fee — and fans. Obviously over time things should be different but with a midweek clash against FK Qarabag at home in the Europa League Group stage, Son might not get another start if he’ll be rested for the Crystal Palace game instead.

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Now that the Europa League is here, this means that Spurs’ backups and reserves would be getting valuable playing time while Mauricio Pochettino’s starters earn a well deserved rest after today’s win. With Tottenham’s midfield having the injury bug through five games: Christian Eriksen, Mousa Dembélé, Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason. The youth players will now have to be called into action.

This means that Alex Pritchard starts as the attacking midfielder, moving Dele Alli deeper to partner with Eric Dier. By doing this, essentially Spurs could see how good some of their youth players are. If things go well, Alex Pritchard will ease everyone’s concern after the Danish international’s injury which could force him to miss a couple of more games.

Whatever decision that Mauricio Pochettino makes for his lineup this Thursday, Tottenham should win against FK Qarabag even with their backups and reserves. If not, then that’s terrible in one instance but good in another — starters are rested for a big Premier League match-up against Alan Pardew’s high-flying Eagles.

Get well Ryan Mason, we’ll need you back with your improving form.

Next: Sunderland v Spurs Lineups: Son and Alli Start

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