Poch & Lamela
So who will be Poch`s first team? Poch is trying to shore up the back and tackle our left side. Pochettino approached his first full season as Southampton manager, using Dejan Lovren and midfield anchorman Victor Wanyama to secure the back four. These early acquisitions in the summer of 2013/14 helped the Saints boast the best defensive record in the Premier League after 12 games of last season, having conceded only seven goals. But like AVB kept Spurs tight to start with, that solid defensive philosophy came to the detriment of our attacking play.
Poch likes a counter attacking transition so can we expect to see our defence to send the link ball up to the forward players? Morgan Schneiderlin hailed Lovren`s use of the ball, insisting his 'ability to break lines with simple passes' entirely changed the way in which Southampton operated.
Having seen the Schalke game I still have concerns over our defence. I am still not sure we have addressed the position of CB. Last season we just couldn`t keep goals out. Are the signings of Ben Davies, Eric Dier enough? Is Musacchio big enough for PL football especially if Poch plays the high line?
Poch urges his teams to press high and aggressively with the intention of funnelling any attacking danger out to the wide areas rather than through the middle. That takes stamina and I am not sure with Poch still wanting to play the high line that Verts, Kaboul or Dawson can turn fast enough to keep their shape.
Walker and Rose are just frustrated wingers and if they have to get back quickly it`s usually when they are right up the other end of the pitch. Musacchio is apparently short and squat, great for getting out of the defensive line and snuffing out the ball but if he misses? With no pace to get back any high balls or through balls will be left to Lloris once again to play Sweeper.
There were three players who were pivotal to Southampton`s attack in the Pochettino`s system. The most advanced is a central striker, powerful enough to occupy the defence by themselves but also skilled on the ball, a role Dani Osvaldo and Rickie Lambert played - enter Adebayor, so I hope he and Poch get on and Ade doesn`t start slacking off in training cos` Poch runs an almost Royal Marine style training schedule.
Next there is a wide forward, given freedom to rove across the line and play as a genuine second striker at times, a position that Jay Rodriguez fulfilled. Enter Soldado or Lamela! Lamela is happy to cut in off his flank and play behind a central striker at times and he is an accomplished dribbler, averaging 2.45 successful take-ons per game even if he did have a damp squib debut season at Spurs. Part of the reason why Lamela was bought was because at Roma, Lamela notched 15 times from a wide right position. This matched Rodriguez Premier League output for the Saints from the left. Like the Saints man, if Lamela were to replicate his Roma form, he provides the added bonus of being more creative than Rodriguez, laying on 56 chances for his teammates in Serie A 2012-13 compared to the England player`s 20 last season.
What about Bobby Soldado? Poch may get more out of Soldado if he plays him interlinking with Lamela and Eriksen rather than trying to play him up front as a lone striker because Soldado`s one touch play, when he gets the ball, is great to watch and easy on the eye. Some of Soldado`s passing game is incisive and with Lamela and Eriksen playing the channels Adbayour and Bobby could receive a good service.The third, and most important player; the creative forward given a free role in Southampton`s attack played by Adam Lallana. Enter Christian Eriksen.
At Saints Poch used an advanced central midfielder, an important part in Pochettino`s attacking play, Steven Davis the man most regularly entrusted to provide backup to the front three at Southampton could be the perfect role for Dembele or Paulinho but is Paulo good enough? Does Dembele have the ball control, can he drop the habit of holding on to the ball for one touch too many. To me Dembele would be preferred but I have a feeling Poch may get the best out of Paulo in this high tempo style but Holtby has the best engine than any of them. On paper Adebayor, Lamela, Eriksen and Paulinho should be as deadly a quartet as any in the Prem
So what does that leave us with? A Musacchio/Vertonghen combo? Walker on the right and Ben Davies on the left Lloris in Goal? So who plays deep midfield? If Lamela takes the left would Townsend take the right over Lennon? What about Depay if he comes in?
If Poch plays two deep Central midfielders then I don`t understand how Lewis Holtby can be moved out or Sandro sidelined. Then there is Bentaleb, although having a good World Cup, he still would not be in my first eleven. What about Etienne Capoue? The forgotten man, he can do everything Schneiderlin can do? What does Poch see in Shneiders game that is better than Capoue?
A fit Capoue is very similar in style to Schneiders. As footballers, they are similar. Both are strong upright runners who read the game extremely well and have the ability to pass. In the pre season USA tour Etienne looked solid. He has good ball control he can go past players and he has a good repertoire of passes. He played the full 90 minutes against Chicago. He was in it from start to finish, sweeping up, playing the ball forward between the lines, and mixing things up.
On balance Spurs have a better cast of characters than Southampton already except for our back four, which is still suspect. But.....are the team fit enough to run the opposition down? do we have the legs in the squad? Let`s see if our Argentinean Gaucho Mauricio Roberto Pochettino Trossero can change this squad from the sideways pass to the counter attacking killer pass game.
Written by OyVeh Maria