Spurs vs Everton was the first Spurs match I’ve been able to watch in full this season on TV, without the inconvenience of pop-up ads and shaky streams. In general, Spurs played well, should have won but could have lost. It’s four games, three points, three goals and zero wins. It’s too early panic, but panic is definitely on the agenda.
Dembele watch: Before the game, I thought this was a huge game for Mousa Dembele. In my view, he rarely produces much of substance, and against Everton he was our primary creative player. It was time to put up or shut up. Sadly, his game ended prematurely with a nasty looking injury — I hope he recovers soon. But the game itself was peak Dembele — plenty of beautiful touches, enough effort, threats of creativity, but absolutely no end product. Personally, I think we are on a road to nowhere with Dembele, at least in a creative role. Oddly, I feel him reprising his forward role, which he had when he first joined Fulham, may be the answer this season. Even if Berahino comes in, Spurs only have two strikers. Dembele can hold the ball up brilliantly, has some interesting movement and can trouble defenders. A false nine, with the likes of Deli Alli, Nacer Chadli and Clinton N’Jie running past, may be a nice option in the Europa League.
Dier watch: I thought Eric Dier was superb. He broke up the play and shielded the defence superbly. Some of his passing was lovely, and he rarely gave the ball away. He pressed with good intensity. Ross Barkley was firmly in his back pocket throughout the game. If you had never watched a Spurs game and seen him play, you’d be hard pressed to know Dier is a centre back by trade. What, realistically, would someone like Victor Wanyama have added to the performance from Dier? And more to the point, what massive flaw am I overlooking in Dier’s game? I like the cut of Dier’s jib, to put it in a slightly daft way, but I can see why he is a big Mauricio Pochettino favourite — he’s Poch’s little engine that could.
Kane watch: Harry should have scored when Mason put him through one-on-one. It was a poor touch that caused the damage, and then it was a battle of nerve with Tim Howard over who would commit first. Howard won. Overall, his play was very good — as always. I would like him to dial down on the interviews and publicity until the goals come again, as he is leaving himself exposed.
Poch watch: Make no mistake, Poch is going to get the blame if the results don’t improve. But what, realistically, could he have done more? Kane missed a one-on-one, Mason missed two, and Chadli fired over from close range. The team executed his gameplan, worked hard, created chances and were solid. This was a well coached team. They just aren’t a very good team, yet. The only criticism I have is that Pritchard should have come on 10 minutes earlier as Mason was flagging. But let’s not kid ourselves, Pritchard was making his Premier League debut — we have no idea if he is going to be good enough to impact on Premier League defences.
Levy watch: Poch has been left out to dry by Levy through the failure to bring in another forward. This game was crying out for a second striker with pace to come on against an Everton defence that went 120 minutes in midweek. Berahino could have been brought in months ago — it is just poor squad management, there are no excuses. The lack of a second striker cost us two points against Stoke and could have been the difference against Everton. I’m not sure the striker situation made much of a difference against Man Utd or Leicester, and although perhaps an experienced midfielder may have helped, one point in these two games is probably par. Overall, I’d say the cost of the slow transfer business is four points. Let’s see what that ends up costing us in terms European positions and prize money.
TV watch: According to Thierry Henry, Spurs’ failure to keep Berbatov, Modric, Bale and several unnamed other stars has cost us the opportunity to win the league. Likewise, the failure of humans to master time travel has prevented us from exploring new galaxies. F**king Levy. Henry is the Erik Lamela of TV pundits — very expensive, looks fancy but desperately lacking in any end product. Looks ill-suited to the high-intensity Sky Sports style, may be better off back on the slower paced Serie-BBC, possibly on loan with an option to buy.
Next on TV: We have Sunderland away after the international break on Sunday afternoon. Too soon for jokes about relegation six-pointers, but, well, time for a win.
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