Style of play

felmani26

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That’s where the balance comes in. Ndombele will be such a massive part of the team once he’s settled in. Really liked Lo Celso’s cameo today too. Once we have that Dembele-like rock that everything sticks to it’ll give other players more confidence.

Today was also the first time Dele, Eriksen, Son and Kane played together for what seems like ages. Get them on the pitch and we will see good things.

Yeah, it’s been a while since sparkling football, but I think it only takes a few little things to come together and it’ll click into place. Maybe not at Liv-Man City levels but at least back to our better days.
I'm sorry, this has been a squad that has been together in the main for the last few years, all indoctrinated in the 'Poch philosophy' and should all be adept at fulfilling the remit of how Poch wants us to play.

What i'm still seeing is the lacking of fundamental basics such as a sustained press, defensive shape and organisation without the ball and adequate movement with players searching for space in possession or going through the transitions at such a pedestrian pace against 'inferior' opposition it makes it far too easy for teams to defend in numbers against

Too many times we've essentially thrown tactics out the window and relied on individual brilliance to see us through as opposed to witnessing a game plan carried out in perfect unison between manager and team which is visibly underlined.

Poch might well have now straightened out differences with Levy - or certainly that's what we are now led to believe - but i'm still as sceptical now as I was pre-NLD over whether his tenure will yield success or has the decline already set in. I sincerely hope not and I still at this stage very much advocate Poch but my doubts are growing with each passing game.
 

ljinko888

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I'm sorry, this has been a squad that has been together in the main for the last few years, all indoctrinated in the 'Poch philosophy' and should all be adept at fulfilling the remit of how Poch wants us to play.

What i'm still seeing is the lacking of fundamental basics such as a sustained press, defensive shape and organisation without the ball and adequate movement with players searching for space in possession or going through the transitions at such a pedestrian pace against 'inferior' opposition it makes it far too easy for teams to defend in numbers against

Too many times we've essentially thrown tactics out the window and relied on individual brilliance to see us through as opposed to witnessing a game plan carried out in perfect unison between manager and team which is visibly underlined.

Poch might well have now straightened out differences with Levy - or certainly that's what we are now led to believe - but i'm still as sceptical now as I was pre-NLD over whether his tenure will yield success or has the decline already set in. I sincerely hope not and I still at this stage very much advocate Poch but my doubts are growing with each passing game.
I think that is an understated reason why we have not been at the level of performance for a while.

These players are 3/4/5 years older than when Poch first got them and taught them his methods. With age comes wear and tear. Several of our players are just plain injury prone period. And that means certain players are not physically up to it anymore and others don't physically want to do it anymore (or at least to that level of intensity).

Also off the field there have been issues with players contracts. When they first arrived to the club players want to establish themselves to everybody. These players have done that and want to be rewarded with contracts that reflect their worth and provide long term security. If they can't get it here they are acutely aware other clubs around Europe will be happy to match those demands.

In many ways the air at the club is similar to this time in 2014 when Poch arrived. Stale. That squad in 2014 had a fairly old set of players not committed totally to the club, and some not at all. For different reasons - those players in 2014 were rotten eggs. These players have actually given us tremendous moments and progressed us to a level we hoped to and now want to helped to take the next step. For 18 months we didn't add anyone to the squad and just like fans get annoyed players do too because when everyone else is trying to improve we were standing still. Standing still leads to complacency and lack of motivation.

The fresh new faces of Ndombele, Lo Celso and Sessegnon will add a new buzz of excitement. Hopefully one or two youth players step up (Skipp probably and maybe Parrott). It will force players who for a while were coasting to prove themselves once again. That's what I'm hoping to see after the international break when the CL starts and we start having two games a week. Plenty of rotation to happen and players fighting for their spots.
 

Cochise

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@SUIYHA I honestly feel the blame lies with both Poch and the players.

Firstly, we do not leverage the extra man (Lloris) well enough due to our CB positions (Poch's error). Lloris becomes nothing more than a spectator waiting to kick it long if things go to shit or knock it over to our full backs. These chips are slow and normally our fullbacks are under pressure upon receiving the ball (Poch's fault but also Lloris' kicking game is average).

Their wide players waited to pounce on our CB's, whilst Lacazette marked Winks out of the game. This is where the players share some blame for me. Sissoko actually was left free on multiple occassions as Guendouzi was positioning himself with the mind to pressure the chip to Sanchez more than Sissoko. Lloris and Vertonghen could have used Sissoko on so many occasions but didn't. I can only assume they do not trust him with the ball in close quarters (I wouldn't tbh), but it puts the whole idea of passing it from the back out the window.
 

Nebby

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Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Hope for worldie. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Pass. Sissoko skies one.

That's us, isn't it?
 

Nebby

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For as valuable as he is breaking up play, Sissoko really does very little for our passing game. Winks made some good spaces when showing for passes or throws and Sissoko rarely saw the space that had opened for him. There were only a few occassions when he did receive passes off of our defenders but I distinctly remember him looking uncomfortable with it.
I love the guy for his work rate, but him being a trier isn't enough.
 

cliff jones

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the pace and power of Sissoko in getting into these game winning positions is incredible, but it's got to the stage where he simply must be used as the decoy by whoever has the ball seeking to execute the assist or shoot themselves- it doesn't fkin matter if he's in the best position or not!

We have one distinct pattern of play problem at the moment, and that is v park the bus

The other problem is the FBs, I hadn't expected Rose to have such a bad start- Davies please. As for Sanchez, back to the training pitch. Aurier or Tanganga, or even Sissoko when nD comes back...
 

DFF

Some Men Just Want To Watch The World Burn
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I don’t take too much from our attacking display yesterday. Arsenal were laughably open at the back. There was no creativity required, just kick and run. 90% of games we’ll play will be nowhere near as open, and that is where we struggle.
 

JUSTINSIGNAL

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Our players aren't drained but they're not 100% at it in the first couple of months of every season, seems to be a feature with Poch's teams.
This.

We always come into our best form around the Xmas period as other teams start stuttering.
 

wrd

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This whole bringing the defenders into our box and having the keeper play short passes to them whilst inviting the other team to press us will only work under two conditions:

1. If our defenders and goalkeeper are all quick and agile, able to find space quickly and are all good enough on the ball to play their way out from the back and avoid the opposition press.

2. If we have successfully drawn the opposition onto us and we have more than one pacey outlet in attack that we can quickly play the ball to in the now opened up space.

Neither were true, so just what were we hoping to achieve with this? This is clearly a Pochettino instruction as opposed to the traditional goalkeeper booting it forwards, but all it does is put our nervous defence under pressure, invite them to make mistakes and actually tends to end with one of them panicking and booting it upfield anyway. This is really poor.

People are more than happy to slag off players for making individual mistakes, but the fact is Pochettino's tactical/in-game performances have been very poor this season and have been for a while now...
To be fair we scored from it.
 

dace

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Our players aren't drained but they're not 100% at it in the first couple of months of every season, seems to be a feature with Poch's teams.
This.

We always come into our best form around the Xmas period as other teams start stuttering.

Both these observations are correct but add in the tailing off at seasons end and we have a recipe for not actually being able to win anything.
If Poch and his team are so good at getting fitter players why does this happen?
It is something Poch needs to iron out, first games aof the season up to Septembers break (how many breaks in the season now? Four for internationals and a Winter break, bit of a joke really) we should be steamrolling teams, then we need to work out the seasons end failings...
Maybe using more of the squad would help, not leaving Kane on when we are 2/3-0 up..
For me it is something Poch has not addressed since his Southampton days and seems not to be able to change anything.

On another point if players have to have three weeks off after a major tournament, perhaps the preseasons should not start ontil the three weeks is up...major tournaments seem to be cropping up every close(d) season.
 

shelfboy68

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Our players aren't drained but they're not 100% at it in the first couple of months of every season, seems to be a feature with Poch's teams.
That's probably true but then if poch and or the club had designs on ever challenging for the title, surely not being ready or getting going by end of September or early October would leave us with an almost impossible task especially if 2/3 games are lost by then.
 

Shadydan

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That's probably true but then if poch and or the club had designs on ever challenging for the title, surely not being ready or getting going by end of September or early October would leave us with an almost impossible task especially if 2/3 games are lost by then.
True but As a consequence we're normally fitter than other teams after Xmas (last season permitted) there were some running stats and sprint charts that showed this a couple of seasons ago. I do agree though that we need to find a way to be much fitter at the start of the season.
 

Primativ

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Interesting article from The Telegraph.

The shot suppression thing is such a big problem for us at the moment.

Arsenal had 25+ shots, City had 30+.

Mauricio Pochettino's Tottenham were once considered the model of off-the-ball rigour and intensity, pinning opponents back and wearing them down with their hard-running, front-footed approach to defending.
In the last 12 months however, the vinegar has gone out of Spurs defensively and opponents are finding it alarmingly easy to access the final third and amass shots and pressure.
Without a clean sheet in the Premier League this season and nor an away victory in the league since January 20, Pochettino has problems to solve after the international break.
The close of the European transfer window and the continued reintegration of Jan Vertonghen will help matters, and Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso promise greater control in midfield once they settle.




After Spurs conceded a two-goal lead and another 25 shots in the north London derby, what is going on?

Shot suppression
There are two ways to approach defending: seek to restrict the quantity of shots and chances allowed, or restrict the quality of those shots and chances.
Teams such as Manchester City and Liverpool are in the first category, dominating territory through a combination of monopolised possession, aggressive counter-pressing and a high defensive line. This carries the risk of conceding the occasional high-quality chance should opponents escape the pressure, but these moments are so infrequent that the rewards of playing this way outweigh the risk.



Other teams, typically lower down the table, operate using the second method. Sean Dyche's Burnley have historically conceded a lot of shots, but they restrict the quality of those attempts by ushering forwards to acute shooting angles or putting bodies between the shot-taker and the goal. In the interests of fairness, Burnley are mixing up their defensive strategy with more high pressing these days as we saw in their game at Arsenal a fortnight ago.



Tottenham, in theory, should be a team who suppress shot quantity given the principles Pochettino has instilled. At 'peak Pochettino' in 2016-17, when Spurs finished with 86 points and just four league defeats, they faced just 9.2 shots per game as their smothering approach proved effective. It held steady the following year. Last season however, that number jumped to 12.1 shots per game, from 356 to 461 shots conceded as a raw total.
Only Aston Villa have conceded more shots than Spurs after four games this season, though of course the small sample size renders the data unreliable and away fixtures against Manchester City and Arsenal skew things wildly. Spurs are currently conceding more than 17 shots per game. That is highly unlikely to continue as the season progresses, but even accounting for fixture difficulty you do not expect Spurs to face that many shots.



Tottenham's pressing has relented
Since Pochettino's arrival in 2014, it has been difficult to construct a sentence about Spurs without mentioning the word pressing. It has been their USP, their competitive advantage and the reason for their consistency. Even if the technical accuracy of their football can leave something to be desired, their off-the-ball work means performances rarely dip below a six or seven out of ten and they remain competitive. Until halfway through last season, that is.



Their inability to suppress shots suggests Tottenham's pressing has eased and the numbers bear that out. This is something you sense by watching them, but can also be partially measured by the Passes Per Defensive Action metric - the number of passes the opposition makes on average before a defensive action is made. The lower the number, the more aggressive a team's approach to winning the ball back.
Tottenham 'peaked' according to this metric in 2015/16 with 8.2 PPDA allowed but by last season it had increased to 10.9 PPDA. Again, the nature of their early fixtures needs to be considered, but Spurs are up to 11.3 PPDA in the fledgling stages of this season.


Tottenham had seven players back but no player touch-tight to their opponent Credit: Premier League

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This relative passivity is a reason why teams are mustering more shots. The perfect illustration of this was the build-up to Matteo Guendouzi's second-half chance at the Emirates (above) that drew an excellent save from Hugo Lloris. Spurs had bodies behind the ball but they were like mannequins, allowing Arsenal time and space to pick passes and set-up Guendouzi's shot like a training exercise. "Too easy," Gary Neville lamented on the co-commentary, and he was right to highlight Tottenham's stand-offish defending.
Weaknesses at full-back
Looking back to the final few seasons at White Hart Lane is becoming a theme, but it is worth recalling the importance of full-backs to Pochettino's football. Indeed, he was something of pioneer in having four full-backs - Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, Danny Rose and Ben Davies - in constant rotation to ensure they had the right energy levels for this sapping position. It confused fans at the time, but was key to their success. In 2016/17, the quartet provided 16 Premier League assists between them, offering width that allowed players like Christian Eriksen or Dele Alli to play in their preferred areas on the inside.



Tottenham's right and left-back options have got progressively weaker. Danny Rose - like the rest of us - is a few years older. He has flirted with leaving and Spurs have flirted with selling, but stasis continues. Walker and Trippier's departures have left a void on the other side, with Serge Aurier too erratic and Kyle Walker-Peters learning the ropes (although he is 22, and his lack of minutes prior to a complete emergency arising speaks volumes). Spurs fans hoped Juan Foyth could move across to the position he plays for Argentina, but injury has denied Pochettino that option. With Walker-Peters injured for the trip to Arsenal, centre-half Davinson Sanchez shuffled across and understandably looked a novice and was fortunate not to be punished further.


Kyle Walker-Peters missed the game at the Emirates through injury - but is he a long-term solution? Credit: Getty Images

City and Arsenal targeted Spurs down the flanks, and other teams will too. The full-back situation is perhaps a factor in the wider issue of a less proactive approach. When deputies are filling-in at full-back they tend to be more conservative in their positioning and focus on doing the basics right, which in turn affects the whole defensive line and the unit's ability to push up the pitch. Tottenham's full-backs are something of a litmus test - when they are progressing high and wide and adopting front-footed starting positions, Spurs are probably playing well. Pinned back in their holes, and trouble could be on the way.



Less defensive presence in central midfield
Pochettino was very attached to two deep-lying midfielders who rarely moved ahead of the ball in his first few seasons at Tottenham, with Eric Dier, Victor Wanyama and Mousa Dembele covering for those advanced full-backs.
This proved an effective platform in big home games, although did leave Spurs with a creativity deficit in others. As Spurs have evolved into an established Champions League team, Pochettino has tried to evolve towards a slightly more technical style, experimenting with Christian Eriksen in deeper midfield roles. Wanyama and Dembele's physical ailments forced this upon him slightly, though there has been a conscious decision to move away from Dier in this role.
For a team that wants to compete for the biggest trophies, this development is probably desirable. Not many top teams carry a purely destructive player in midfield, and Harry Winks offers so much more security and dexterity under pressure. Although Winks was the north London derby's top tackler, winning six of eight attempted, there is perhaps a small cost to pay when Spurs are defending deep without a specialist holding player. Ndombele is more of a box-to-box type, while the returning Alli and Lo Celso are attacking midfielders likely to be used higher up. Retired centre-backs constantly speak about the importance of a defensive screen in front of them, but Spurs have no obvious fit for this role. It will need to be done collectively.



Champions League hangover of a different kind?
Reaching the Champions League final was a magnificent achievement, even if 20 defeats in all competitions suggested Spurs were running on fumes by the end of the season.



Many have posited the theory that Tottenham are on an emotional comedown from that historic high, but what if their hangover is more tactical than emotional?
For several seasons, Spurs were a relentlessly consistent league team who failed to seize key moments in one-off cup games - hence the lack of silverware and multiple semi-final defeats.
That flipped last year, with Spurs excelling in knockout football by spending long spells of matches under immense pressure and landing punches on the counter-attack through Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min. This pattern was the story of their remarkable, if fortunate, victories against Man City and Ajax in the Champions League.
A team can navigate their way through a series of one-off matches like this and reach a cup final, but it is not a sustainable approach over 38 games. Spurs are not really built to batten down the hatches and play reactive football. All of Tottenham's defenders, particularly Toby Alderweireld and Vertonghen, are specialists in a high line not sitting in their six-yard box.
The theory that reaching the Champions League final papered over cracks is well-established, but perhaps it's the case that the football Spurs played to get there let some bad habits creep in.
 

mpickard2087

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In the defensive aspect, I really don't think the 'diamond' or whatever you want to call the variants of the four midfielders/two forwards approach we've been operating is helping matters.

Take yesterday, we'll talk about our work with the ball for starters. Son is playing up as a forward in the left channel mostly (came to the right later on), Kane is playing through the middle. Lamela is sometimes playing from the right, often through the middle, roaming around for space as he does. Eriksen is sometimes playing from the left, often through the middle, roaming around for space as he does. Sissoko sometimes playing in a double pivot, sometimes as a sole pivot, sometimes towards the right of midfield. Winks the same, sometimes in a double pivot, sometimes the sole pivot, and occasionally towards the left of midfield.

I've got no problem with fluidity of movement in attack, but when we lose the ball confusion then seems to reign as we drop back into shape. Who is then covering the flanks? Who should be pressing or going out to cover and who should be standing their ground? What positions are we filtering back in to? If we're playing someone out of position (Sanchez), how are we looking to help them? Etc. etc.

More and more the first action for a lot of our players seems to be to look around and check if that's what they should be doing rather than knowing whether to do it - pressing, or covering across etc. And then you just get stuff that looks silly often because of it, no one closes down, or three players all belatedly do the same thing to go towards the ball and just get taken out of the game and then you are struggling. Take the equaliser yesterday, Winks finds himself on the outside of the midfield four, Eriksen is inside him, both half have a look to see if the other is going towards it, no one does, they get a goal from it.

The games I'm watching, not just yesterday but many games now in the last year, I don't see much clarity or evidence that the players really know, certainly don't look at ease and it also doesn't look very effective in any case, what is being asked of them. It badly needs addressing.
 

k33pster

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The Telegraph article is the nail on the head. We need to get back to basics, the pressing/winning the ball back quickly has gone and I really miss that in this team
 

danielneeds

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The Telegraph article is the nail on the head. We need to get back to basics, the pressing/winning the ball back quickly has gone and I really miss that in this team
Do we have the players to play that way, though? Kane's body is gonna need to be managed carefully through games and the season, given his ankle problems and the amount of football he's played the last four years. Eriksen too, hase played so much football the last four years, I'm not sure he can handle heavy pressing any more.

The key for me is evolving slightly, and becoming a better team in possession again, keeping and using the ball better, and then picking our moments for the quick counterpress when we need to. Even Liverpool are pressing less now, after Klopp worked out that they couldn't manage the workload. They just became more selective at it, and more efficient in other areas.
 

Shadydan

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Do we have the players to play that way, though? Kane's body is gonna need to be managed carefully through games and the season, given his ankle problems and the amount of football he's played the last four years. Eriksen too, hase played so much football the last four years, I'm not sure he can handle heavy pressing any more.

The key for me is evolving slightly, and becoming a better team in possession again, keeping and using the ball better, and then picking our moments for the quick counterpress when we need to. Even Liverpool are pressing less now, after Klopp worked out that they couldn't manage the workload. They just became more selective at it, and more efficient in other areas.
If Aguero can press then why can't Kane, Aguero is older and has had more injuries to deal with
 

danielneeds

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If Aguero can press then why can't Kane, Aguero is older and has had more injuries to deal with
Because City are so rarely without the ball, their pressing is short and sweet. Augero had problems with it when Pep first got there and they weren't so fully formed and dominant. City can also rest him during the season with Jesus or Sterling, where as Kane always plays.
 

Shadydan

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Because City are so rarely without the ball, their pressing is short and sweet. Augero had problems with it when Pep first got there and they weren't so fully formed and dominant. City can also rest him during the season with Jesus or Sterling, where as Kane always plays.
Fair enough.
 

shelfboy68

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True but As a consequence we're normally fitter than other teams after Xmas (last season permitted) there were some running stats and sprint charts that showed this a couple of seasons ago. I do agree though that we need to find a way to be much fitter at the start of the season.
At the moment I'm not convinced about us at all and a lot of this I was bringing up last year about our poor defending, weak midfield and in general our play going to shit.
I appreciate that I'm seen by some as negative or a moaner and that's fine if people think that, but I just say things around what I see and feel and I don't see things changing anytime soon.
I stand by what I have said before and that is I don't want poch sacked and would prefer him to quickly sort this mess out, but I think the magic has been lost along with him losing his way with the team he like the team looks flat.
The squad/team desperately needs an injection of motivation and organisation which we are clearly lacking, there is something missing percentage levels look lower and the team just appears no set up from back to front correctly.
I sincerely hope that it turns round and there is an upturn in fortune and results but as someone who has followed the club for a number of years I feel that he might not make it to Christmas and that would be a tragedy for his legacy and time at the club.
 
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