VS Preview: Spurs v Barnsley
There are no surprises in football...only disappointments!
So! Given what happened against Burnley and now Swansea are we still missing a player with different types of skills to the one's we have? Enter the chance for Tashan Oakley Booth and George N`Koudou but, no Marcus Edwards, which is a shame, because it would be good to see how far he has developed since his cameo appearance against Gillingham last season. We have now gone 3 league home games in a row without a win for the first time since December 2013. Spurs have now failed to score a first-half goal in all three of our home league games this season. What does the Swansea result mean; Every time a team wants to avoid defeat they turn up at Wembley with two banks of 4 playing three centre backs and sit on the ropes just taking the punches until we run out of ideas and have to rely on penalties? Is this how all our games at Wembley are going to go with the lower placed teams in the league? Teams prepared to just sit back and wait for the counter? Are we playing the kind of football that suits teams who are able to soak up the pressure? Would the signing of someone like Ross Berkley make any difference to games like Swansea and Burnley?
Supporters pay a lot of money to come and see a football game and to have one team rock up just to park the bus isn't fair on the punters who came to see a game of football. That said we need to be able to deal with teams that turn up and play that way. The failure to unlock a defence that play with 3 centre backs or two close banks of four has to be addressed. If you have to rely on penalties to win a game that's not good enough. You could not see a Manchester City or a Chelsea being locked out of a game with a team like Swansea. Sometimes we don't seem to display the skill sets up front associated with close quarter passing, this is despite the proud boast by our front 3 that they like to pass 'around corners'. We recorded 75% possession against Swansea, our highest in a single Premier League match since Stats started being recorded in 2003-04 with a 90% pass accuracy but what is the point of all that possession if you cannot convert it into a goal. The only good news coming out of the Swansea game was it was the first clean sheet at Wembley since the 2009 League Cup final against Manchester United, we have conceded in our previous 11 matches. We also failed to beat a club record of scoring in 30 successive Premier League games at home.
With the West Ham match coming up who will Poch pick for this one? What is the game plan against yo-yo Barnsley whose start to their season in The Championship has been less than convincing 7 points from 7 games? Are they going to turn up and do a Burnley or a Swansea? Who will Poch play? Could we see the first pairing of Juan Foyth and Davinson Sanchez? Will Poch play a 4-4-2 to give time for Harry Winks and Georges Kevin N`Koudou, who should now be fit. Will it be Vorm or Gazzaniga in goal and will Llorente get his first full game? Will Trippier play or will Kyle Walker Peters be a start? Could it be a back three of Foyth Sanchez and KWP or, if Davies is fit, maybe a back four with Davies. Who do you think will play and who do you think should play? More importantly how should we play teams that just want to defend against us? We have the perfect opportunity today to find out as Barnsley will no doubt treat this game as an early Cup Final at Wembley.
Poch has said this competition is not a priority but let's just hope Spurs play at a higher tempo this time and try running at defences a bit more rather than playing square ball after square ball and lumping predictable crosses in. Maybe it`s time to bring teams on to us and hit them on the counter! Poch took some stick over the weekend for resting Ben Davies and not playing Moussa. You have to say that, in the context of the game, perhaps Moussa would have been the key to unlocking the Swansea defence but Poch is damned if he does and damned if he doesn't at the moment. Whichever way we cut it Wembley is seen as a monkey on our back and, at the moment, our away form is better than our home form! Even if we are playing well at home we are still not getting the results so the Barnsley game will be a good chance to see how the younger players perform and to see players like N'Koudou and Llorente and see whether they and Son could terrorise defences from wide positions and through the middle. Ryan Hedges will be a late pick after picking up a knock to his knee in Saturday's 3-0 defeat to Aston Villa and is a concern. Their boss Paul Heckingbottom, is still without Lloyd Isgrove (foot) and Andy Yiadom. This will be the second time we have met Barnsley in this competition we won the last match winning both legs on the way to the semi-final in the second round in 1986-87 (3-2 away and 5-3 at home). In fact Barnsley have won only one of their 16 previous away games against Spurs in all competitions (D2 L13) Meanwhile, Barnsley have lost 13 of their last 15 League Cup games against Premier League opponents.
I think we all want to see some running football getting in behind the Barnsley defence and seeing how some of our fringe players are coming on. Let`s hope we get some entertainment!