The Kid’s are Alright
Great to see Skipp and KWP on the pitch. Also liked that Marsh and Eyoma were on the bench.
Good that Kane, Eriksen, Winks, Alderweireld were rested. This was a really young line up and I liked it.
Poch went with what seemed like a 343. I personally would have preferred to see KWP played at RB, but that’s a minor quibble.
He paired Skipp and Alli initially as the CM2 with Son, Llorente and Moura the front three. Although we got to 4-0 up like that, I didn’t think Alli was great in that CM2 set up, you can’t take the liberties he does in a CM2 and I thought we looked even better when Marsh came on and freed up Alli to operate with a bit more freedom (I think it became a CM3 without the ball then but a 3412 with it).
Got to say, although this was another poor standard of opposition, like the Cardiff game, there were still some real positives to take out of this game. Of course, you can’t get too carried away when you beat a team clearly very inferior, but what was pleasing tonight was the level of performance, not just the quality of many of the things we did, but the energy, commitment and cohesion with and without the ball.
So often these games in pokey little grounds, played on bad pitches, with ad hoc teams of made up of a mish mash of squad players who rarely play as a unit together throw up inevitably nervy, incoherent performances, but tonight things were far more cohesive.
Maybe the youthful element meant there was the right amount of hunger out there to keep us at it, the smattering Alli and Son’s enough to gild that enthusiasm.
The biggest plus tonight has to Oliver Skipp. Those of us that keep an eye on youth football have had hopes for this kid. The fact that he’s been fast tracked and is possibly the youngest of our academy graduates to see real game oxygen under Pochettino speaks volumes.
Not an elegant playmaking midfield swan, or audacious attacking flair player, Skipp is that really rare combination of tenacious, dynamic busy fakir who is technically superb, very comfortable and composed on the ball, who also has that 360 awareness and, as we saw tonight, plays with his head up.
As he grew into this game, the more we saw that he’s not just a grafter, playing several incisive vertical passes, one set Son racing away for his goal, another, even better vertical pass, dissected their CB’s and put Llorente clean through for his second goal.
It was one of the best passes I’ve seen from our midfield all season; incisive, perfectly paced and weighted. At a time when our midfield is desperate for an overhaul, and Eriksen aside lacks real creative spark, this kid could save us some serious money.
There were plenty of other positives, Foyth and Sanchez kept things clean at the other end, Aurier got a confidence boosting brace of goals, KWP was neat, tidy and defensively sound, both Marsh and Eyoma came in and equipped themselves well and Llorente score a very classy hatrick.
All in all, a very good night’s football.