People tend to go to football matches for various reasons apart from the obvious one which is to support your team. We go to be entertained, We go to watch top players, we want to see goals, attacking football and to celebrate victories as we challenge for trophies. Today at White Hart Lane we got none of the above.
The main object of the game is to put that little round thing in the big oblong things at each end of the pitch more times than your opponent. To do that you pass the little round thing around between yourselves, get it further up the pitch and using that technique know as shooting, you launch the little round thing towards the big oblong thing and hope the man standing in the way, doesn’t actually get in the way. This is known as scoring a goal.
All the time your opponents try and get the little round thing from your possession and go in the opposite direction and do what you have been trying to do.
Now today there was very little evidence of shooting, not much need for the opponents to get the ball off us (we kept giving it to them instead) and we certainly did not do a very good job of getting in the way when they actually got the ball on target.
We enjoyed quite long spells of possession but did absolutely nothing with it. The defence looked as though they had never met each other and some of the midfield players didn’t want to let anyone else play with their ball. The quality of the passing was poor, The movement was poor, the quality of dead balls was sadly lacking and as for the high pressing game we are led to believe is the Pochettino way, there was very little of that on display.
Right from the back to the front the whole team looked like strangers and whilst we must give West Brom. some plaudits for their resolute and effective defending, a team with players of our quality should at least have been testing the keeper occasionally. It is very hard to remember anymore than one serious shot at goal. That is unacceptable for what many reckon is the sixth best team in the country.
Was this a hang over from a European game on Thursday? To be honest it is very hard to use that as any sort of excuse because this was a very different side to the eleven that started in Belgrade. Was this a sign of bad management? hard to use that as a reason either as it seemed as though the players just simply didn’t do their jobs and given Pochettino has expressed his anger at the performance this one was down to the players on the pitch.
Part of the problem in my opinion, is that Pochettino is not sure what his best 11 is yet and is trying to find this out whilst playing two games a week in two different competitions. Different squads for different trophies is one approach to the demands of Thursday/Sunday football but is not the correct approach in my opinion. There has to be some rotation to balance the need to rest players (and tactical changes depending on the opposition must be taken into consideration as well) but too many changes can upset any rythym that may come from a settled side. Today , as I have mentioned, we looked like strangers and so some work needs to be done to find a settled core to the side. We need to get the defence sorted and assimilate the likes of Fazio and Stambouli into the team.
The players have to learn their respective roles and apply some discipline to their games. Simple passes instead of looking for the eye of the needle ball. Getting players into space in dangerous positions and perhaps even shooting occasionally.
Should we be worried yet? I don’t think so and I am sure supporters of Liverpool and United are asking similar questions. The season is only five games old so it is very early days but with two big games coming up (Forest and Arsenal) the players had better learn fast.