Senast vi ställdes mot Tottenham var det hemska nittio minuter, där mängder av våra spelare underpresterade. Nu är det chans till revansch. Spurs kommer från en imponerande seger mot Manchester United, och flåsar oss verkligen i nacken i kampen kring fjärdeplatsen. Det är således en hel del som står på spel på söndag, vinst för oss skulle innebära en lucka neråt, förlust skulle antagligen innebära att vi ramlar ner till femteplatsen. I omgångens Q&A har vi fått hjälp av Kevin DeVries(@kevrov) från den eminenta podcasten EPL Round table(@eplroundtable), trots hektiska transfertider ser han här till att vi får en inblick i Pocchetinos lagbygge:
1. Tell us about the season so far, are you satisfied with the amount of points you´ve got and the way you have played?
Overall our current points total is fair based on our inconsistent performances at the start of the season and in November. Everyone expected that the move to Wembley would be destabilizing at the beginning of the season but largely the squad has coped with it very well. It’s a testament to our mental fortitude that that we currently boast the best home form in the Premier League this season. Our most disappointing, but historically predictable form came in November where we suffered two losses and a draw. The match against Real Madrid left us mentally exhausted and a spat of unfortunate injuries left our squad depleted.
2. If you compare Spurs this season with the last one, is there anything different about the team now?
One of Pochettino’s biggest weaknesses was his lack of tactical flexibility, but we’ve seen that evolve significantly over the last few seasons. It seems that we can easily switch between multiple formations, sometimes even during play, while still maintaining the aggressive and high tempo style that we’ve come to expect from the side. Our squad has been relatively stable now for a few seasons, and the familiarity and chemistry between the players shows. Credit goes to the club for being able to retain almost all of our meteoric talents through the stadium build in what could have been a tumultuous period for the squad. Losing Kyle Walker to Manchester City was a blow to our defense, but we’ve recovered from it well with the additions of Serge Aurier and Davinson Sanchez. The latter, in particular has been a joy to watch, despite the odd lapse in judgement. The 21 year old has been a great deputy for the injured Alderweireld, showing a maturity to his game well beyond his years.
3. It’s a close fight for the CL-spots once again this season, do you think you will make it into top 4? Why/Why not?
The next month will determine whether we can find our way into the top 4 for a third season in a row. The squad will have their work cut out for them, with fixtures against Liverpool and Arsenal, CL ties against Juventus, and an FA cup replay to round out the madness. Taking 4 points from Liverpool and Arsenal could give us the necessary momentum to see the season out. Keeping our squad fit will be essential to maintaining our current form. Toby Alderweireld should be back from his injury spell by the Liverpool match, Erik Lamela is growing into form after 13 months injured, and a new attacking option in Lucas Moura could be the deciding factor in the late stages of the season.
4. Harry Kane, explain to us what makes him such a great goal scorer? Do you see him at your club for many years to come or do you think he will leave for a bigger club(Real, Barca)?
Harry Kane is a complete footballer, a rare trait in strikers. He’s two-footed, can score from basically anywhere in the box, and has an unmatched work rate that drives him to eliminate any weakness to his game. Even when he’s not scoring you can see him working to create space and push deep into the midfield to recover balls and press the opposition. His ability to read the game is second only to Christian Eriksen, and he uses this to exploit any weakness in the opposition defense and find great goal scoring positions. When that doesn’t work, his combined strength and precision can thunder past or turn a defender. It also helps that we have multiple goal scoring options on the field that can push and pull defenses, creating space for Kane to work his magic.
5. You won quite easily the last time we met, what do you remember most from that game?
That match was a great statement for us and our intent to play well at Wembley for the season. Our attacking 4 of Eriksen, Dele, Son, and Kane were ruthless in taking advantage of the defensive errors Liverpool made that day. I know the last question was about Harry Kane, but his vision that game was immaculate, especially for the second goal. I don’t expect to have such an easy go at it this time around.
6. How do you think you will lineup and what kind of game do you expect?
Hugo Lloris;, Serge Aurier, Davinson Sanchez, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Ben Davies, Eric Dier and Mousa Dembele in the midfield, and an attacking three of Christian Eriksen, Heung-min Son, and Harry Kane. The three center backs shielded by Eric Dier will be needed to manage Liverpool’s blistering attacks, and gives our wing backs more license to attack and press the opposition further up the field. Dembele will be paramount to retain possession in what will undoubtedly be a frantic midfield battle. While Dele’s form is recovering, having Son on the pitch as a wide pacey option might be the key in punishing any defensive errors made.
Expect a fast and frantic match with lots of pressing all over the pitch and end-to-end football. The run of play can shift wildly depending on which side is better equipped to handle the press on the day. Forced defensive errors and clinical shots in front of goal will be the deciding factors.