After bungling the Swansea City game Poch tetchily told us, “I think the specialists are up here”. The only problem with claiming to be a specialist is that it really helps if you aren’t seeking to pass off being able to tie your shoelaces without looking – as also being able to produce bench-grade shoes.
This isn’t some augmented defence of Aurier, by the way. In the last 24 hours I have been accused of dumbly backing the guy on the strength of a showreel and owning a Serge ‘luv doll’. Dear me. The fella’s played in two games, we won both of them and is it always somebody has to be thrown to the floor and have his face kicked in?
There’s a couple of broader issues here, one is that some of you dummies clearly don’t understand how things have changed at Spurs. Bonzo is gone. Rose is looking increasingly set to follow him. The ‘oooh aren’t they fast club has disbanded’ and all you have left is your badge and your woggle. It’s game over dummies.
The 3 at the back thing isn’t called a 3 for nothing. It’s a system designed to provide versatility. Defensively its a system that offers 3, 4 and even 5 players to call upon. One side in the modern era that’s excelled with this is Juve.
The biggest problem Poch is having with the new shape is that he’s playing with a pair of wing backs that are drifting too far forward when they don’t have possession.
This was aggravated last night because our midfield was incapable of retaining possession and effecting a decent press. So what we witnessed on several occasions was the Cypriots teeming forwards and a lot of Tottenham players suddenly having to leap into action stations.
3 at the back is supposed to facilitate fluidity of play. But when you’ve got nonevents like Dier and the ponderous Sissoko as the ‘engine room’ the odds of you being fluid are slim.
Spurs were incapable of pressing last night because the only man they had who was truly suited to do so in our entire outfield was young Winks. Who tried valiantly but ultimately spending much of the night waving from the quicksand.
That’s why we saw naff all of the ball and when we dd get it, gave it to Kane who mostly scored yes, but had to battle like an absolute demon for it. Route one football.
It wasn’t until Poch went berserk and started making substitutes that we started to look vaguely coherent and even then we were hugely fortunate that we weren’t playing anyone good.
Even the subs were reflected the confusion in the gaffer’s mind. He took the defensively stronger Aurier off and returned Trippier to where Trippier actually works. Yet he introduced the lethargic Llorente.
Whilst the shake up worked after a fashion, it nullified itself and revealed what was apparent to the bookies – without Eriksen, Mousa and Wanyama it’s purgatory.
So back to the 3 and one has to challenge Poch as to why he was playing such a flexible system with such miserable inflexibility.
Jesus wept, before you start digging out wing backs for not being positioned where full backs ought to be, you need to ask why the wing-backs are so far forward they were nearly offside for the first the bulk of the first half.
Look at the Juve set up (above) their wing backs when stood down (look at how deep the front are) are still inside their own half.
Pochettino tactically fluffed it last night and it’s something he needs to isolate in his brain and rectify with his coaching team before this blog and others has to suffer another brain surgeon snarling about our wing-backs being slow.
Last night was a great win, because yet again, we won despite ourselves.
Player ratings to follow.