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Improvement Needed

Improvement Needed

This isn't about whether we should buy player X or Y, it's an attempt identify what we need to do better as a team if we want to win a title. In fact the area that needs addressing isn't hard to spot.

We actually have the best home record in the division with 53 points from a possible 57. Chelsea have two more home games to play, assuming they win those they will have 51 points from a possible 57. But when you look at the away records it's a bit different. Chelsea have 42 points from a possible 57, we have two more away games to play and currently have 27 points with a maximum possible return of 33. That's the title right there.

If we want to win we must perform better away from home, it's that simple. The question is how to do it. I suspect it mainly comes down to two things, tactics and pace.

Pochettino has developed his tactics this year with the team able to change formation even during games. But it's all based on the same basic strategy, press high, control the ball, pass your way through the opposition. Our home record shows this works on our own pitch, our away record shows it's a lot harder to do on someone else's pitch in front of their supporters. You are put under more pressure away from home, it's harder to control a game. Teams like Chelsea can adapt when they are under pressure, we seem to keep playing the same way. You really need to be able to play on the counter when you have to, which is where the question of pace comes in. We saw it against United. They were on the back foot for the entire game, yet Martial and when he came on Rashford were causing problems simply by the speed at which they broke forward. The only player we have who can do that is Son. Rose and Walker have pace but by definition if you are under pressure away from home your defenders will be focused on defending.

Maybe what we need is a couple of quick players added to the squad and a game plan on how to play when we don't have so much of the ball.

One additional thought concerns set pieces. Although he's had a great season Eriksen doesn't seem to score from free kicks like he used to, maybe it's time we gave someone else a chance. Perhaps more important are corners. If we get a corner there is a 2% chance of a goal, if West Brom get one there is a 10% chance. When you are trying to grind out a win under pressure set pieces can make the difference, we need to be better at them. Of course our season may be disrupted by Wembley next year. But this won't actually affect our away games so no reason not to try and make that improvement that could make all the difference.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

Date:Monday May 15 2017
Time: 12:13PM


Nice one Jod! I agree we struggle with pacey players & something should, perhaps, be done to address this. I also agree about set-pieces, they can be infuriating. Personally speaking, I'd have Davies (if he's playing) and Trippier taking corners. As you suggest, Eriksen can be extremely frustrating in that particular department. I used to constantly say to myself, Why can he find the top corner from 25-30 yards, yet can't get a corner beyond the front post/first defender? Infuriating & puzzling!

I wish I had the answers Jod mate, but I agree the areas you bring up DO need addressing. I'll get hammered for this but, when he returns, assuming he does return & isn't sold, Lamela would be a good alternative for set-pieces around the box. Then again, so would Dier or Vertonghen if it's a direct free-kick.
15/05/2017 15:50:00
Jod - great article. "tactics and pace" are indeed the right 2 words. The third is probably "depth". If I think back over the season there has been so much dialogue on Davies, Wimmer, CCV, Onomah, Sissoko, Janssen, Lamela, N'Koudou etc. Some like Trippier and Winks have stepped up and given us genuine depth whilst Davies came good in the end but doesn't offer us the pace that we would ideally like. If we can add pacy players into the mix then that will add a little more counter attack in there. It is also why I don't agree with losing our quickest player, Walker, especially when we move to the Wembley pitch.
15/05/2017 20:08:00
ghanahotspur - Pochettino had only managed Espanyol and Southampton before joining THFC. Take a look at their entire club histories and you'll see that they are not two clubs that any manager would have realistically been expected to have won anything with. Take a look at Spurs' recent (EPL) history and Pochettino shines out like a beacon. - For the second season running he has taken us to a league position that is higher than clubs managed by men who are indeed considered to have great footballing, tactical knowledge and, at clubs with highly talented squads that were, until recently, considered much stronger than Spurs have. (some still think this). This includes Mourinho, Guardiola, Wenger, Klopp. Believe it or not, they all have flaws. They are human too. - To say we were good enough to win the PL last season, makes no sense, simply because.... we didn't win it! Neither did Arsenal, Chelsea, the two Mans or Liverpool. - There seems to be a huge contradiction in your continued negative assessment of MP. As, If you so strongly believe that he should have won something with Spurs by now, then you surely must also believe that he has actually got the team to be good enough to have won something! The time to assess Pochettinos trophy winning record with Spurs must surely be once he has left us and not after just 3 seasons of what is shown to be an outstanding and most obvious progression at the club we both support. ....... Personally, I believe he is good enough to achieve great things with Spurs and although 3 seasons may seem an eternity to some, in the grand scheme of things, it ain't that long at all when we consider our on the pitch improvements......... Talking of SAF.... Ironically, if Ferguson had just finished his 3rd United season at this time in PL history with exactly the same league record he had with them all of those years ago, he would probably now be looking for a new club and Man U would quite possibly be looking to poach Poch from us! Haha!
16/05/2017 07:07:00
Scrap all that. What a waste of effort. LOL. It turns out that I am responding to different posts by ghana' from different articles and none of that makes much sense on either thread that i've just posted on.... Apologies to Ghana' and to jod.
16/05/2017 07:13:00
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