Poch went with a pretty strange format tonight. In theory it was a 352, and I know Spurs are one of the most tactically flexible teams under Poch, but this structure tonight never felt totally cohesive. It morphed into various things, 3142, 3322, and second half became even more confused, maybe a 3412.
I’m not a huge fan of this particular evolution of our 3CB system. I don’t think Llorente has the dynamism to make up for the fact that we are taking an attacking player out of the equation (for an extra CB), and I don’t think the delivery from Rose or offensive play from Aurier is invariably good enough to make up that shortfall.
If we are going to play Rose and Aurier, they have the energy to be able to play a back four system, but for some reason the format Poch is most reluctant to play is the one I think would suit us best, especially with Kane out, and that’s a 433.
Selection wise it’s interesting but not surprising that Dier was dropped.
He’s been Poch’s teflon boy for too long now; he has a decent future as a CB hopefully, but is sorely lacking the mobility and footballing dexterity for top table midfield in the fiercely high tempo Premier League.
His last two turgid outings against Chelsea and Palace deserved the culling, but Poch hasn’t always treated all his men equal, Dier benefitting from this more than most others.
Anybody wondering why Trippier still gets picked so often, only has to watch Aurier for the answer. Another who was awful against Chelsea, was so bad tonight he suffered that rarest Poch humiliations, subbed at HT.
Poch’s slightly fudged solution was to shunt Sissoko out from an ineffective “8” role to an ineffective WB role, where he offered no more than Aurier, and eventually forced Poch to bring on his third wing back of the night in Trippier. Surely it’s time for the Aurier experiment to end, and with Trippier going through a bit of a tough time also, surely it’s time for KWP to be given more games.
I think we’d have been much better just taking a CB off at half time, putting Moura on and going 433 or 4231and getting some movement going in and around around Llorente.
Moura popped in in various places, and did inject some vim, but as ever, not quite so much tangible quality end product, spending too much time in central areas, running into traffic, when he does get into the outside right and left channels he can cause some mayhem, but for whatever reason Poch keeps pushing him inside.
I’m sure none of us begrudge Llorente his winner. It’s been hard for him, the life of the Kane understudy is a thankless one, you get 5 games a season and are expected to be “Kane2”, anything less is deemed abject failure.
The truth is, Kane misses chances, all strikers do, especially those half chances that look so tantalising from afar, but are really much harder in reality when you have to snatch at them, contorting, before they vanish.
Technically he is still a very good “big fella” it’s just that all round uber bundle of fucktiousness, that galvanising energy that a fit and “on it” Kane has been bringing of late that we sorely miss.
We did dominate most of this game, and we did turn up the intensity second half, situations occurred, a couple of half chances came and went, but it all just felt a bit chaotic.
Maybe it was this chaos that enabled us eventually to snatch something in the last ten minutes, but if that’s true, it’s also true to say it contributed to us snatching very little of quality for the previous eighty and also gave Watford plenty of optimism in the first half, where they took advantage of our chaos on a few occasions.
Credit to Poch though, this team never gives up, and I remember watching the big sides previously and being envious of how they always managed to dig out results, I can’t remember a Spurs side as good at that as this one.
Whatever else we suffer from at times, composure, a bit of tactical guile…. mentality is not one of those things.