3 Bright Spots from Belgium, Positives from Tottenham Loss

ANTWERPEN, BELGIUM - OCTOBER 29: Tottenham. (Photo by Vincent Van Doornick/Isosport/MB Media/Getty Images)
ANTWERPEN, BELGIUM - OCTOBER 29: Tottenham. (Photo by Vincent Van Doornick/Isosport/MB Media/Getty Images) /
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Davinson Sanchez of Tottenham
ANTWERPEN, BELGIUM – OCTOBER 29: (L-R) Davinson Sanchez of Tottenham Hotspur, Lior Refaelov of Royal Antwerp (Photo by Angelo Blankespoor/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

Davinson Sanchez Shows Ledley King’s Influence

At the very start of the second half, the only midfield holdover, Harry Winks, tried to play a back pass to Davinson Sanchez. Given Winks proclivity to pass backwards this was no surprise to fans or to the Antwerp team who pounced on a poorly aimed pass and were in on goal.

Like Vinicius, Sanchez did not have a great game, but this tackle was vital. Had Spurs lost by two goals, the mood would really be bleak, versus the current overblown sky is falling mentality. Sanchez was okay in the air and solid with his passing completing 85%. However, it was that block that stole the show defensively and proved two things.

First, that block demonstrated the resolve of Sanchez as a defender. Given the situation of the first goal and the helplessness he faced in trying to decide if he should step or not; the decisiveness in the tackle was a real positive. Sanchez can split opinion, but he is the most athletic center-half on the team and is needed more often than not. Second, was the nature of the tackle.

If, you watch the highlights and see that tackle again, the familiarity of the motion should make Spurs fans smile. Sanchez was well behind Refaelou with not much of an angle. Most defenders – including Sanchez a season or two ago – would have slid in and come around with their left boot to try and curl the ball out. More often than not, while the defender would get the ball, the follow-through into the player would leave a big decision in the referee’s discretion.

However, Sanchez did not try and come around to clear the ball with his left foot, instead he made a toe/cleats first direct lunge at the ball with his right foot. Sanchez was down quickly and pushed the ball out for a goal kick as Refaelou swung through with his right foot hitting nothing but air. If it looked familiar it is because you saw his coach do it 100s of times.

Ledley King has officially been an assistant with Tottenham since the summer and this was one time where you could see the impact of his presence with the club. The Sanchez of old would have been far more reckless in the tackle and it would have been 50/50 if it resulted in a penalty or not. Great to see King teaching his style and more importantly Sanchez adapting it.