Greetings one and all.
First things first, congratulations Defoe on breaking Big Chivs long standing record, 39 years suggests no mean feat. Well done!. I thought there were a lot of positives to take from the game, Lamela being the stand out performer. Whilst I had a quick look at the comments posted on here at halftime, I was not surprised to see so much negativity. I thought that Lamela playing on the Right allowed for Walker to be utilised in forward positions a whole lot more as compared to when Townsend is played there. Lamela was able to hold the ball a little longer and release Walker further forward at times. Right from the off Lamela looked like he was so much more confident in his ability. his passing was nearly always ahead of the player who was to receive the ball, something we have seldom witnessed thus far this season. His decision making looked considered as opposed to rushed.
Although they did not come off, Capoue did try a couple of balls over the top to Defoe, something we have discussed he is capable of doing, and something that Soldado is very adept at volleying home. Good to see the intention. After seeing Eriksens failed pass across our own backline you can see why his assist rate is so high. Cut that right out. Dembele started with his usual effortless ghosting past players and unleashed a good shot on target. As the game progressed however, he did revert back to giving the ball away all to cheaply at times. How can he make the hard things look so easy, and the easy so hard?.
All in all I thought we moved the ball well in the 1st half and did play some nice little one twos on the edge of the box. Penalty for me, but I'll leave that for you to discuss. All the good work came from the Right, and right at the end of the half Siggy whipped a ball in that Soldado would've thrived on. Defoe did not connect. We did not score, but the tempo was there along with a lot more movement around the box.
Second half saw Lamela continue on the Left where he had ended the first half. I know we had not scored but I did feel most of our best work came from the Right in the first half, this dropped off once Lamela was playing Left I thought. As soon as Lamela was reverted back to the Right he continued picking the ball up and running at players, his dribbling at times was sublime, he played a ball into Eriksen who tried to play a through ball ( which appeared not be coming off), it found it's way to Lamela, and he duly fired home. The duck was broken. Well done young man. You could see the lad grow in confidence before your eyes tonight, he was a constant threat, receive the ball and away we go. he showed no fear tonight.
Lamela picked the ball up and dribbled past numerous players in a tight space with such great ball control it was a delight to witness. He was too much, the foul had to come, soon to be followed by the penalty. Defoes moment had arrived. He despatched it well, but other than this incredible moment for him, he was not really in the game. Holtby did try a little dinked ball over the top, he executed it very well getting it up and down in a short distance. Defoe however was offside. ( no, really he was). But again another sign of what might be for Soldado.
I think that a lot of the way we played would have served Soldado well, he must have been somewhat bewildered as to why he does not receive the same kind off crosses and help to his game in and around the box. Hopefully this will now improve. Disappointed with the goal we conceded after all this time. Not blaming Brad, but i do wonder if we would've seen the same outcome with Lloris in the goal. Eriksen was hit and miss again tonight, but the shot wasn't to shabby, another confidence building exercise i'd suggest.
In summary, I can understand some concerns about the first half performance, but I do feel at times it is not only the score line that needs to be the benchmark for how we are doing. There were plenty of positives for me, two vs. one on the Right like the good old days, Capoue stepping straight back in and performing, more movement, Lamela running riot. All occurred in the 1st half believe it or not. We played well, could do better, but I'll make no apologies for gushing about Lamela, he's going to terrorise defences in time, this was just a taster. I'd suggest seize the moment and start him Sunday. Would you?.
On a final note.....Just because the Sheriff and the posse ( 20 travelling fans i believe) have left town. Let's keep the comments respectful....The site is still policed.
Written by Cider Spurs.