There are several things we would like to see from Tottenham in today’s match.
Win, that is the most important thing; pretty, ugly, cheap, dirty, does not matter how the wins come at this point, at the business end of the Premier League season, a win is the most important thing for Tottenham. However, as Tottenham Hotspur continue to recover and rebuild under Jose Mourinho, there are several things I would like to see from Spurs in the match versus Everton.
Spurs Clean Sheet Special
Let’s face it, if you do not give up a goal you are not going to lose. It does not guarantee a victory by any stretch, but if you can manage to keep some clean sheets, you are going to win a lot of games and garner a lot of points. Unfortunately for Tottenham Hotspur clean sheets have been few and far between this season, as the squad has dealt with injuries to key players and a hangover from the UEFA Champions League loss that the team just cannot seem to shake. Or maybe it is the loss of Christian Eriksen, but that is a different story.
Regardless, the defense, which seemed to be getting better until the goals shipped against Sheffield, all of which could have been prevented with some heads up defending of men and less watching of the ball. And while Hugo Lloris has been good, Spurs obviously need him to be otherworldly these days. And in the case of rebounding from the loss to the Blades, a big match from Lloris, some solid defending and a clean sheet is just what the doctor ordered.
Ndombele, Winks, and Lo Celso Together
It may be difficult, it may mean Dele Alli is on the bench, but Spurs NEED all three of these playmaking midfielders on the pitch and they need them together.
While I appreciate what Moussa Sissoko brings and he is a tremendous defensive midfielder, his inability to play the ball from deep often leaves the team lacking in the attack. Harry Winks has proven he can be the single pivot and he has the range of passing and defensive tenacity to get the job done.
If Winks is sitting in from of the center-halves – no matter who they are – both Ndombele and Lo Celso can work to apply their craft further up the pitch. Lo Celso brings some calm with the ball at his feet and Ndombele is that X-factor the team has been lacking lately.
Together, they can help provide some protection for Winks and two clear outlets for connecting the defense and offense, as well as unlocking a Toffee team that is likely to sit deep. Let’s run these three out and see what we can do, who knows, it might just work, and our football might improve. BTW, if not Winks alone in front of the defense, I would like to see Skipp get his shot.
A Solid Pass in the Final Third
On a different day – regardless of VAR and referee – Spurs put 4 or 5 past Dean Henderson and Sheffield, fortunately for the Blades, Tottenham has not been crisp in the final third.
There was at least a half-dozen excellent moves of the ball by Spurs, where they were able to get on the front foot and were attacking with numbers at Sheffield. There was a time – a few years back – where this was an automatic goal, but now things seem to just break down and then get recycled and we are back to square one.
Or worse, the final ball is so bad, Spurs simply give possession away and the opportunity is completely lost. This must stop if Spurs are to win. If they are going to continue to struggle unlocking teams that pack it in, when they get one of those opportunities to counter and attack, the team must be clinical and make it count.
To that end, I would love to see at least ONE SPUR get to the darn end line and cut the ball back in front of the goal. Most of the goals the team has given up since the re-start have been of this variety. Despite having 28 crosses against Sheffield not one was a cut back to the team, rather they were all high balls across the box, where most of the time only Harry Kane was there to fight for the ball. If Kane is going to be alone in front of goal, let’s get the ball to his feet.
Spurs Fight for the Shirt
Ultimately, I think I was most disappointed in the inability to overcome a terrible call and show a bit more fight for the shirt than Spurs did versus Sheffield. And this starts with Harry Kane. When Harry Kane was GREAT a couple of seasons ago, it was not just his goal scoring, it was his all-around play that made him great. He was more of a threat to score because he did so many things on the pitch.
While Harry found the back of the net several times versus Sheffield and one did count, outside of those attempts he was quite invisible. His overall pressure on the ball is lacking, his hold-up play – less one nice flick to Sissoko to start a futile break – and his overall movement and fight for the ball are just down.
I think we all remember the man in the mask running so hard, he passed everyone on Arsenal to save the ball and create a goal, where has that Harry Kane gone? And please do not tell me injuries, that is desire, plain and simple desire, he wanted the ball more than Arsenal, so he got it. We need that same drive from Kane, Dele, and company that they had before the made it. If that fight is not there, Everton is good enough to make this a long day.
So that is what I am hoping for, some good passing, some good movement, a clean sheet, and a victory. What are you hoping for?