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Tottenham review v Stoke.

Posted on December 30, 2013 by Random Spurs Supporter

a 3-0 win is always an acceptable result but sometimes team selection, team and individual performances are all far more important, yesterday Tim Sherwood got far more right than wrong although it must of course be viewed in the context of it only being a Stoke team shorn of many of their first choice players. Of course you can only beat what is put in front of you and the Stoke team chosen did their utmost to make it a difficult game.

Before the game many were critical of what was perceived to be our most creative midfielder Christian Eriksen being shoved out to the left flank, but it’s not a position that he is unused to as I can recall him causing a lot of damage to Manchester United a couple of years back in the Champions League on the left, yesterday he was not simply limited to that flank and frquently drifted inside. Perhaps some of us Tottenham supporters might remember a certain Luka Modric starting life under Harry Redknapp on the left.

I think many wanted to see Erik Lamela start the game either on the right or in the area around the central striker but few expected that Aaron Lennon would be fit to start this game and so give the coach another option. Possibly one of the most contentious decisions was to bring Paulinho straight back into the team after his three match suspension, there have been a few rumblings of discontent over his performances which in all honesty I find baffling, he might not have yet shown a coolness in and around the box to take many of the chances he has created for himself by making intelligent runs, if he had taken just half though he would probably be the leading goalscore in the country. Paulinho we have to remember hasn’t had much of a rest from football in a long time, yesterday he probably wowed Tottenham supporters and even Tim Sherwood for the first time with a breathtaking performance of skill, passion and quality, yesterday Paulinho finally arrived.

With Paulinho and Moussa Dembele bossing things in midfield and offering cover to our much maligned defence both Michael Dawson and especially Vlad Chiriches showed what they were made of, clearly they had suffered from being exposed far too easily in previous games, it was encouraging that Sherwood might have now recognised that fact as he brought on Capoue to replace Paulinho with the match still in the balance at 1-0.

Zeki Fryers came into the game for the exhausted Danny Rose, who will now be available for the United game, while Kyle Naughton took over from the suspended Walker who will also return to duty, both fullbacks performed admirably in what was an extremely dominant Tottenham performance.

Much has been made of the switch to two strikers but it has not really been in the traditional sense with one working off the other or playing close together, both drift wide or drop deep from time to time making themselves available and to link with the midfield whenever possible, Soldado in particular has a tremendous habit of picking passes to open up defences for others as his pass to Adebayor for the penalty and to Lennon for his goal showed.

In the first half of yesterdays game most were drooling over the performance, the flicks and fancy footwork of our mercurial Brazilian Paulinho, he had a 100% pass success and was at the forefront of all things good about the performance, but overall the star of the show was Moussa Dembele who over the entire match competed 97% of his passes, 100% of his take ons, scored a memorable goal and with his sidekick in the centre drove the team forward.

Erik Lamela did make an appearance for the final fifteen minutes and once the game was won, in that short time there continued to be evidence that he is settling into life in the Premiership, he almost scored, got himself booked and rarely wasted a pass. Lamela is the epitome of a Tottenham player and one the fans are desperate to see succeed, let’s hope all this nonsense of loaning him out for the remainder of the season is just that and he is given more opportunities to make his mark.

Maybe some of us are being a little harsh on Sherwood and he is warming to his task with every game, as the big stars return from injury we should expect better performances, yesterday he abandoned the soft centre and chose three powerful midfielders, with Sandro also to call upon soon he will have even more options, let’s hope he might experiment more with the two up front as it is impossible that the current pair can play every game. He seems to see more to Nacer Chadli’s game than many Tottenham supporters and continues to persevere with him which is a good sign.

I still believe that one or two will be leaving in the January window and that Sherwood has still to prove his credentials, they will be severely tested in the next two games BUT he has shown that he has learned a thing or two when choosing his teams, less open can mean more effective and thankfully he has discovered this before these two big games.



1 to “Tottenham review v Stoke.”

  1. whlspur says:

    I have concerns about Sherwood but he tightened up the midfield AND used Capoue as replacement so he has perhaps learned not to be so open to be expansive. The real tests are coming up next so let’s see what happens there before handing out to much praise.

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