Date: 27th December 2018 at 9:50am
Written by:
My thanks to the superb Forensic Onions

Poch the rotator…nator strikes again.

Out go Sanchez, Davies, Trippier, Alli (injury). In came Walker-Peters, Foyth, Rose, Moura. Again, good to see Poc utilising the squad. All reasonably logical choices, the only questions marks for me being Eriksen, who we know had an injury to manage earlier in the season but has now played a few consecutive games over a short period and Sissoko, who’s also been flogged hard recently.

I get the reluctance to rest Eriksen, especially when he’s in the groove, he’s the player that invariably elevates us from a good team to a great one, but we definitely don’t want him to burn out or his injury to flare up and miss him for longer.

The Tactics

We lined up in the orthodox 4231, with Sissoko and Winks the double pivoting CM’s. Eriksen, as ever, did spend a lot of time dropping in and helping the midfield, often splitting the two CM’s (and did actually end up seeing fractionally more of the ball than Sissoko), but he was definitely operating with a more ACM type default remit.

Got to say, I’ve been loving the more footballing three man (or 1+2) midfield we’ve played of late, and again today it was a very proactive midfield, but I’m not so sure of this structure with Winks and Sissoko as a more orthodox CM2.

I think both these players have slight issues defensively in a “2”. Both have good engines and are happy to cover ground, but both are more defensively reactive, rather than defensively instinctive.

Neither are great readers of the defensive game, nor are they rapacious “hunters gatherers”. When we play with Eriksen in the more withdrawn “8” role, although he’s not defensively tenacious either, there’s some safety in numbers, we can also play out from a press more easily and control retain the ball in midfield much better.

And I also don’t think Son offers enough protection down his flank to cover for having two cm’s instead of the three we play in the 4312/41212 format.

The result is there was often too much space on Rose’s flank and though we ran out 5-0 victors, that score doesn’t quite tell the whole story, as Bournemouth had several great chances to score as well. Sissoko, Winks and Son all have redeeming features and have played a huge part in this recent run of games, it’s more this 4231 structure that’s the issue, than those players per se. Seems crazy to say after a 5-0 mauling, but truth be told, we allowed Bournemouth way too many chances today.

That score line owed more to talented individuals and a good coached ethos, than the tactical structure.

The Game

This game had the whiff of the early stages of Everton about it. Two teams with reasonably ambitious intentions, making things too open for each other and Bournemouth created a couple of great chances in the first ten minutes.

The way we are playing at the moment, even if they’d taken one of them, it possibly wouldn’t have been fatal, but this trend did continue throughout the game and the story of the game was really about how even when we messed up we scored, and as hard as they tried, they couldn’t.

It’s really perverse how football works like this isn’t it? Some days you graft and craft your arses off, and it just won’t roll your way, then days like today it’s like even your mistakes roll in the net. Nothing perfectly encapsulating this more than our fifth goal.

After possibly being second best in the first 15 minutes, certainly chance wise, we found ourselves a goal up after a shot from Eriksen was deflected wickedly past their keeper.

Then bang, bang we’re three up. All three goals assisted by KWP, the third of which was the goal f the match. Winks picks out KWP’s run with a superb over the defence,

KWP picks out Moura with a first time volley that cross cut back and he slots home calmly. It was a lovely bit of football, indicative of the way we’ve been clicking lately.

Bizarrely for a 5-0 slabbing, this wasn’t exactly us out our scintillating best, there was a feeling of never really getting out of third or fourth gear.

I dare say there was inevitably some fatigue, mental and physical, but this is where that Poch coached ethos kicks in, hard work, good habits, good mentality, proactive footballing philosophy, combined with a bunch of attackers that are really in that groove right now. It’s almost like we did it sleep walking today. Which, in years gone by, was always the sign of great sides I was envious of.

That said, although our finishing and final third play was good, our transition play – from front to back on the counter – was very sloppy at throughout; lots of quick counters floundered because of some careless bumbling, with Son probably the gultiest.

The other criticism was how many balls into our box we allowed today. I think this was a lot to do with the shape and players in wide areas, but another day, we will get punished, Bournemouth wasted numerous good chances.

The fourth arrived courtesy of a lovely bit of vision fro Eriksen and a really classy finish from Kane.

Then the slightly comedy fifth goal rounded things off, to the tune of a Laurel and Hardy sketch, chances to finish came and went, first Kane then Rose slipping on invisible banana skins, the ball eventually squirms it’s way to the enigmatic Son who plopped it home.


Lloris – If Bournemouth had brought their shooting boots, he could have been worked harder, but what he did was OK. No issues.

KWP – A hatrick of assists for the kid is going to do his confidence the world of good. The third one being the highlight, great run in behind, cool technique under pressure to deliver the perfect cut back. Couple of defensively lax moments, but otherwise a really good performance. MOTM today.

Foyth – He’s got a little bit of the clumsy about the odd piece of defensive work he does, which still worries me a tad, but pretty good generally and very good on the ball.

Alderweireld – Good game

Rose – Decent enough generally. If only he had young KWP’s composure in forward areas, he would be far more productive, but he’s always been very unreliable when he gets into forward areas.

Sissoko – More jockeying than winning the ball, but overall a decent shift today.

Winks – Like Sissoko, not brilliant always out of possession, but put in a good shift and was once again very metronomic (73 passes 97%), helping control the ball and played a lovely pass for that killer third goal to pick out KWP. I don’t think this CM2, with no pure busy **** in there with him is ideal, as he’s still learning the defensive side of the game, and if he is going to play as the holder, he’s much better in a CM3.

Moura – Took his goal well and worked extremely hard without the ball, good game.

Eriksen – He’s really back in the groove now. Even on a slightly quieter day, he scored, provided a beautiful assist and still saw more ball than one of our CM’s.

Son – Another player who’s really on it in terms of his finishing. First half he bumbled away a few situations, especially on the counter, but still managed a brace of goals and was generally good.

Kane – Another forward who’s right back on it. I grumbled about his tendancy to “greediness” at the cost of the team sometimes at the end of last season. I think he’s really improved this side of his game, some of his hold up and team play this season has been the best I’ve ever seen from him, and we are reaping the rewards as a team. He’s been great the last few weeks, leading the line, holding it up, bringing others in, as well as the usual goals.

  • Aside from cerebrospinal fluid, what's on your mind?

  • Spurswizard December 28, 2018 at 10:59 am

    I don’t think Toby will go anywhere, taking the contract extension has now stopped him speaking with other clubs and no matter what we’re garenteed £25m or another year. For me it’s a great bit of savvy shown by levy. He’s now got 6 months to come up with a new contract and if not gets 25m rather than nothing. Personally I don’t think Toby will go unless it’s Barca, Madrid or pool!

    • Gazza waking up at night screaming! December 28, 2018 at 11:20 am

      It’s mugs like you that allow our club to be run by the likes of Levy. Utd or Liverpool want him and will be stronger than they are with him. That’s good business is it? The best defender after Van Dijk for 25m! Sending out a message to squad that the most important defender in our shirt in decades is not worth a contract? Great business man is Levy. What a joke.

  • Tappaspur December 28, 2018 at 9:37 am

    I wonder if wolves will change their game against us. They’d better or they’ll get a spanking too. I reckon they would take zero points now and move on to the next one. We’re feared.

  • Tappaspur December 28, 2018 at 9:31 am

    Still 2nd? Just checking.

  • Gazza waking up at night screaming! December 28, 2018 at 9:30 am

    I watched Foyth from great seats on Boxing Day. I was just in line with him and watched him second half. He’s a great talent but he is very green still – definitely does not command the respect of our imperious Toby. If we sell him there should be uproar. He’s leading our team from the back like no one else. Stats I’m sure will back this up but use your eyes. There’s no chance we are going to match contracts with anyone else for him. If he goes then don’t be upset if Potch does. Disgrace!

    • Eddie December 28, 2018 at 11:12 am

      I’ve said before I think he will turn into a really good player,you have to remember his age and he’s learning from two masters.
      However the next month could really define our future.Slap head has to put the team before thoughts of profit because if the team fails then the multimedia shopping mall will have been for nothing.And uncle Joe won’t like that,seeing all his sell-on profits disappearing.

      • Gazza waking up at night screaming! December 28, 2018 at 11:21 am

        Toby should get a contract for that reason! Davinson and him would obviously benefit. They are not leaders like him – not yet- not close.

  • Legoverlass December 27, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    Perfect storm approaching. January transfer window, second in the EPL, title tilt possible, Man Utd circling Pooch, opportunity to land the title in the new stadium, contract situations with key players unresolved. Best case scenario is to sign new deals with Toby and Eriksen plus Verts, bring in two or three quality players in midfield. Push on to have a real attempt at the EPL title and CL.Win EPL at the New Destination. Secure naming rights. Pooch stays…..or the Levy scenario. Do nothing in January and watch it all fall apart ,,,,,,,

    • Billy the yid December 27, 2018 at 9:19 pm

      Which begs the question, how can a man be in charge, yet so blinf to the obvious shit storm approaching, when the alternative could be amazing and generate more money than he could possibly hope for. Could even get to the belgravia centre the t w a t

  • Eddie December 27, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    Yes Billy they have activated the 1year clause which comes into play next summer.However as I understand it anyone can sign him for 25M any time up to the last two weeks of the window.Absolutely crazy.
    I didn’t realise he is still only 29 so 150K/wk over 3 years is only 22.5M and at 33 he would still be worth extending.
    Do it slap head!

    • Billy the yid December 27, 2018 at 6:37 pm

      See the problem we have is that history has a tendency to repeat. Slappy has not done the honourable thing by the club in the last certainly 17 years and I can’t help being worried that this would be his way of reducing debt. Toby 25m, poch 30m, eriksen 100m kane 200m. Ain’t got a team left for the fanciest stadium in the world but at least we ain’t got a Leeds debt eh. When you see his reaction to allis goal at the library, I’m not having it he don’t wanna be there, we ain’t gonna get anyone near his level, pay the man what he deserves. Unless the plan is to buy the manager and star players silence, and pay yourself 3m bonus as well for being a great business man. Wouldn’t let the c u n t run the corner shop

      • PlayitagainSamways December 27, 2018 at 8:38 pm

        Tobys goal celebration caught my eye too. Fucking warrior who needs to be paid.

        They are all mercenaries at the end of the day, fair play

    • East Stand December 27, 2018 at 8:40 pm

      This supposed clause is a bit weird to me.

  • Billy the yid December 27, 2018 at 6:12 pm

    Does anyone actually have a proper idea as to the Toby situation? Does he have this release clause, and if so where does it leave us? I can’t believe they are gonna let the best centre half since King go for 25m if that’s right

  • East Stand December 27, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    Could somebody please give Gary Neville a slap, he’s such a dick…

    • Tappaspur December 27, 2018 at 7:31 pm

      I did it. Just left the station with a ABH charge. Worth it though 🙂

      • East Stand December 27, 2018 at 8:41 pm


  • East Stand December 27, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    Easty’s Cherries analysis;

    They were shite, we were great, and we smashed em.


  • PlayitagainSamways December 27, 2018 at 4:40 pm

    Tobys extended.

    Fnar fnar

    • East Stand December 27, 2018 at 4:57 pm

      Yes, is this supposedly ‘triggered’ 25m release clause just mythical press garbage to build narrative around or does it exist? I didn’t think The Bald One did release clauses…

  • Is Gascoigne gonna have a crack? December 27, 2018 at 11:00 am

    Looking at the fixtures we should be top by February….how’s Poch going to have to spin that? The real truth is ENIC have sabotaged the best chance we’ve had since 1960 to be a real force….ie, winners. Without the insane totally unnecessary off field mess this lot would have been unstoppable, especially with a few choice additions. Say cheeeeeeeeeeeeese

    • Is Gascoigne gonna have a crack? December 27, 2018 at 11:01 am

      Can you imagine WHL at the moment??

    • Is Gascoigne gonna have a crack? December 27, 2018 at 11:09 am

      Levy stumbled upon a once in a generation situation…….and blew it.

  • Spurtacus December 27, 2018 at 10:37 am

    Bus Conductor! 🙋🙋🙋🙋

  • BobbytheBrain December 27, 2018 at 10:30 am

    Hats off to MoPo. He really is achieving miracles. OK he has won nothing (yet) but to be sitting 2nd halfway through the season, in the CL last 16 with a League Cup semifinal against the blue racists to come is a massive affirmation of his managerial ability particularly given the new stadium fiasco and all of the negativity surrounding our lack of activity in the summer window. I would like to see Pep or Klopp achieve the same with our resources. COYS!!

    • Tappaspur December 27, 2018 at 3:33 pm

      Pep klopp or jose couldn’t bring a team up from the championship unless given £££££££ loads of it. They dont manage they change. Here’s a challenge jose. Bring QPR up. Yeah right!

  • Tappaspur December 27, 2018 at 10:23 am

    I nip to the lamex A LOT. watched all them youts play. I saw the talents of kwp winks skipp EDWARDS amos and co. I knew a lot of them would make it. You aint heard the last of the amos boy. Oh and the young left sided greek kid can play too. We dont need to spend that much. £100m. Lillywhitebright

    • Tappaspur December 27, 2018 at 10:24 am

      The young Dublin boy gonna get some first team time soon.