3 Things That Differed In Spurs First Two Matches

3 Things That Differed In Spurs First Two Matches
Aug 21, 2016

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After a somewhat disappointing draw against Ronald Koeman’s Everton, Spurs marched into their first home match of the campaign against Crystal Palace, led by Alan Pardew. There were a lot of very notable differences within the first two matches of Spurs’ season. Obviously, the result, and most notably the formation Mauricio Pochettino chose. Poch chose to drop Dele Alli, who had a poor first match, in favor of the impact sub against Everton, new signing Vincent Janssen. Meaning for the first time in many years, Spurs would start a match with two true strikers up top in a 4-4-2. It eventually payed off as Victor Wanyama headed home the first goal of his Spurs career with less than ten minutes remaining. But what were the 3 main differences between the draw against Everton and the win versus Palace?

Victor Wanyama CAN Replace Mousa Dembele

Although nobody compares to the tank in midfield known as Mousa Dembele, Wanyama came pretty close. Against Everton, Wanyama played far too deep, much like his counterpart Eric Dier. They played too similar and Spurs were lacking that box to box midfielder to transition and control the pace of the game like Dembele does so often. It left Spurs looking very flat and stuck in the final third, almost clueless as to what to do. However, Wanyama carried himself, and the offense through Palace’s defense on numerous occasions. Victor looked comfortable and not like somebody being played out of position. Not only that, he topped it all off with the game winning goal after being in the perfect spot at an even more perfect time as he nodded home Kane’s header. It’s clear Wanyama is more than capable to continue to replace Dembele for now and the future.

goal wanyama

Kane is at His Best When Played Deeper

Yes, Harry Kane won the golden boot as a lone striker. However, there’s little to no question Kane’s best position is sitting right behind a natural number 9. When Kane busted onto the scene, it was because he was sat in behind Roberto Soldado, a “natural” number 9… I guess he is. Anyway, with Kane’s defensive work ethic and ability to track back, he’s best suited a bit deeper. Kane is at his best when he plays off of the movement of others, and the movement of Janssen is so beautiful that Kane can roam where he pleases and fill in those gaps of space. That showed when Harry fired just inches wide from outside the box, it’s fair to say he would have put that away last year, and he definitely will in the future. Whenever Kane is at his worst is without a doubt when he is too isolated up top all by his lonesome. The linkup play with Lamela, Eriksen, and Alli just sometimes isn’t there, which left Kane alone for a lot of the time when he wasn’t scoring. Now that Janssen can sit in front of him, it is now Kane’s responsibility to link Janssen with the rest of the midfield, which does so very efficiently. He earned an assist for his efforts, and soon the goals will start to come for him as well.

kane goal

Erik Lamela on the Left is not Ideal

With the new formation, Erik Lamela was put out on the left, while Christian Eriksen was on the right. All game long Lamela just looked a bit out of place. He seemed unsure of what to do with the ball in the final third. Erik’s favored foot is his left, and his right is far less than perfect. (Remember the rabona goal?) So whenever Lamela found himself out wide with the ball at his feet, he seemed stuck, unable to cut inside to create a shot like he so often does. For the most part, Lamela played it safe, hitting a Danny Rose overlap or just passing the ball along, but with such a creative player, you expect more from him. It’s a mystery to me as to why Pochettino didn’t switch him and Eriksen, as the Dane is very gifted with both feet. Either way, something needs to change, Lamela’s position or his decision making in the final third. A player as valuable as him cannot be put to waste like that.




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