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VS Preview: APOEL v Spurs

VS Preview: APOEL v Spurs

We're playing for Second? It's between us and Dortmund...!

No Moussa? Again! Without Dembele we have a new system, effectively a 3-6-1 with wing-backs either side of a diamond midfield. You have to ask if these long terms injuries are now going to start affecting us. They are certainly reducing our options in key positions like left back where, if Davies was to get injured, we would have to play players out of position. Moussa's continual injury niggle is robbing us of a very important player at key times. Poch has found a role for Sissoko at last, playing alongside Christian Eriksen in the middle, making the most of his strength on the ball. Some say it is almost a new-look Spurs. But! Who put Sissoko on the goal line to mark an attacker on Saturday? Who ever thought that Sissoko marking Hernandez on the goal line on Saturday was a good idea needs their head examined? That goal let the Hammers get back into the game! As for Aurier's sending off I assume he may reign it in a bit from now on!

Our new 'Diamond' will be missing one of its Jewels, namely Dele, and one of our other jewels, Verts, who is also suspended. So! Could Foyth play in a back 3 or will Poch go for four at the back with Trippier and Davies or will Aurier play because he can't play on Saturday against Huddersfield.
Interestingly all 3 Right Backs Trippier, Aurier and KWP were on the plane, no sign of Foyth though!

There are few players in APOEL's team which we as fans have not heard of but some of the Spurs players do. Dutch striker Lorenzo Ebecilio was at Ajax between 2010 and 2013, playing alongside Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld. He's injured anyway! Domestically APOEL are not having a good season they are currently in 10th place in their 14-team league after three rounds of the season. APOEL come into our game with just one win in their last six matches. That included 3 defeats and 2 draws. APOEL's first CL game was against REAL and whilst you would have thought they were going to be slaughtered they came away with just a 3-0 defeat. No doubt APOEL will have seen that two banks of four and ten men behind the ball is standard against us but they will also have seen what we did to Dortmund if they press too high! 3 points from this one, 3 points against them back at Wembley and it's all down to whether we can get a draw in Germany to nick 2nd place working on the pessimistic view that we won't be taking any points off REAL in either leg!

We don't get many trips to Cyprus but when we do we travel well. Spurs have been to Cyprus twice before in Europe; in October 2007, we played Anorthosis Famagusta away in a UEFA Cup game and drew 1-1, having comfortably won the 1st Round first leg game 6-1 at White Hart Lane. Martin Jol was in charge then and got fired in the next game! 3 seasons ago we played AEL Limmasol in the first round of a Europa League play-off game and we won 2-1 with goals by Bobby Soldado and Harry. That was Harry's first European club goal.

Will APOEL be a push over? Not necessarily they have a good home record in Europe, apart from a defeat by Anderlecht in last season's Europa League that was their only home defeat in 11 games, with nine wins. Not sure how many travelling Spurs fans there will be but their stadium in Nicosia only holds just under 23,000 so it should be a good atmosphere. APOEL have reached the quarter finals before in the CL, in 2012, but then they met REAL and that was the end of that! Some of APOEL's squad play for their country. Their Portuguese defender Nuno Miguel Morais was on Chelsea's books 13 years ago and did have some starts. To give you an idea of their standard of players Andreas Makris was a summer signing from Walsall! To say we have to come away with all 3 points is an understatement as we face REAL next month and I doubt if anyone realistically believes we will get a result in Madrid. As Son did not get a start against West Ham, and Dele Alli can`t play anyway, we should expect maybe a four at the back to allow Son to play further up the pitch with Dier, Sissoko, Eriksen and Kane making the spine of the midfield with Winks coming on to protect the back four if we are winning and possibly GKN to come on if we need to turn the game around.



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

Writer:OyVeh Maria
Date:Monday September 25 2017
Time: 6:13PM

Comments

2
Yep this is a must win game. Without Eriksen, Alli, Verts, Dembele and Wanyama we have to play a few squad players. They have to start fast and score fast to make Apoel open the game. Can't let them play defense as we are not the best at breaking that down. COYS 0-4 !!
jvd
25/09/2017 18:56:00
0
Yes, we do need a win because anything less would be a bit like Luxemburg beating Belgium! I don't agree that we'll get nothing against Real though. They're not unbeatable and I'm optimistic we can at least get 3 points from the 2 games.
Parklaneyido
25/09/2017 21:33:00
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Any Spurs Xl should be too strong for such limited opposition. It is true we are playing for second behind Real Madrid, in competition with Dortmund, that's why the Wembley win against them was immense. Of course we can't afford any slip against Apoel.
Frank
25/09/2017 23:21:00
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As far as the CL goes this is a 'must win' game. Two wins against Apoel, and something against Madrid should see us through. We are capable of getting something from Dortmund away and from Madrid .... difficult but not impossible tasks. Be nice if Dortmund took something from Madrid tonight! For this game .... Apoel 0-3 Spurs (hopefully more). GD could play a part in the end.
Geofspurs
25/09/2017 23:47:00
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Geof not sure if a draw between BD and RM is a favourable result for us. Prefer BD to lose by a narrow margin and we win at Apoel. That opens a 6 point lead for us over BD and gives us the confidence to get something against RM in a few weeks.
jvd
26/09/2017 00:10:00
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We need to win this game.. no questions.... then hope RM beat B Dortmund, This gives us 6 points over the germans, and a higher level of confidence playing G Bale & co. Its time for our squad players to show that they are adequate cover for the 1st team players. So as there are a number of injuries, its gives squad players important game minutes and confidence. Poch also has to improve his game decisions on selection and placement of players / subs. I.e. not son as defensive player or LB !! COYS
Block D Spurs
26/09/2017 08:02:00
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jvd .... You have a point, mate.
Geofspurs
26/09/2017 08:05:00
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This is the exactly the sort of game we have taken lightly in previous European campaigns and failed to perform. I hope Poch dispels any notion of 'limited opposition', ignores the league they play in and their position in that league, and treats this game as though it were Dortmund. Losing Eriksen on top of Dele, Wanyama, Vertonghen and Dembele is a big blow. I'll be happy with any type of win. Agree with JVD - I think its better for our chances of qualifying if RM beat Dortmund.
Gary Onedaysoon
26/09/2017 08:08:00
0
You have to play with what you've got, that is the test for the manager. I'd rather have players missing against Apoel than Madrid. At the end of the day if we don't win this we will probably not qualify as I can't see Madrid or Dortmund dropping points against the Cypriots. Even winning we probably still need a win at home against Madrid (I expect to lose at their place) and a draw against Dortmund away. We always knew qualifying from this group wasn't going to be easy.
jod
26/09/2017 09:24:00
1
Exactly Jvd, we need Real to beat Dortmund, yes its a must win game, which puts alot more pressure on this game, think it will be a tough game, especially in the first half.
Ossie
26/09/2017 10:24:00
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With the players we have missing I have to agree with Gary .... any kind of win will do. But you have to think our squad is strong enough. We'll soon know.
Geofspurs
26/09/2017 10:25:00
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Parklaneyido - "we do need a win because anything less would be a bit like Luxemburg beating Belgium!" Easy there! It was France that Luxembourg beat! Belgium are comfortably top of their group after beating Greece in Athens! Despite all the absences, we still have enough quality to win this game. I will be hoping for a Madrid win too. I reckon that if we can get 1 point from the 2 games against Madrid and 6 points from the 2 APOEL games, that should be enough to qualify.
BelgianSpur
26/09/2017 11:17:00
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Calm down Belgian. I know it was France they beat! I was merely making an analogy to the difference in class. I am Belgian (and British) myself. Regarding the group it's probably to early to guess what's best in terms of other results. Dortmund could end up finishing above RM and so could we!
Parklaneyido
26/09/2017 12:56:00
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I just never want to pass an opportunity to shame France, that's all! Just some good old neighbourly banter. With regards to the group, I will always favour a scenario where 2 teams go clear immediately. Having a scenario where Madrid and Dortmund draw would indeed put us in first place if we win, but it would also give Dortmund confidence and give them a platform to play their way back into contention. I'm not saying this because I expect Madrid to win, I'm just saying this because Madrid won their first game. I just think that having us and another team on 6 points with the 2 others on 0 is more beneficial to us, whoever those teams may be. In this case though, it's Madrid I have to back for this scenario to materialise.
BelgianSpur
26/09/2017 13:22:00
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When did Luxembourg beat France? I know they drew 0-0 recently but can't remember them beating France. This game will be tough Spurs should nick it 0-1 or 0-2 but it is no forgone conclusion. Remember Ghent and Anderlacht, beat spurs at home so spurs should not under estimate the Cypriots.
palmover
26/09/2017 14:57:00
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palmover- It's funny because I was having that exact conversation with a Belgian mate, who was quick to point out the result against Gent too. I'd like to think that the result against Gent was more due to the fact that we didn't take the EL seriously. I am hoping that the CL will generate far more interest from the players, and if the Dortmund game is anything to go by, it seems like that's the case. We can never be sure of anything, but we should be winning this game comfortably. If we can't beat the likes of APOEL convincingly, we have no business being in the CL in the first place.
BelgianSpur
26/09/2017 15:08:00
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Good to see you are still around Belgian. For a minute I thought you'd done a DA, awol!

TBH, I am not too concerned about RM at this moment in time as imo, they are not the force of last season, but no doubt they will raise their game when it comes to CL. They've made a stuttering start to their La Liga campaign. Wouldn't surprise me if they go through a transition with ageing and replacement players. We can but focus on each game as it comes and hope the lads hit the ground running tonight and not an arrogant slow sideways backwards tippy tappy. Sure, no game is a gimme, but the 1st 20 mins attitude in some of our games needs to be addressed. I'll go along with Geof's scoreline for this one. COYS!
Critical_Spur
26/09/2017 16:58:00
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For me anything less than a win would be dreadful. It would give Dortmund confidence and give us a struggle. I prefer RM to beat Dortmund in a way because if they get anything from that game it will breed confidence into their remaining games and it will make RM work even harder against us to right it for them, plus a six point gap is better, put Dortmund under pressure.

I am not thinking about RM yet, although it losely floats around with the idea we are unlikely to rely on picking up any points from them, but on the other hand we are capable of causing a shock and capable of beating them or at least getting a draw, but we cannot rely upon that, we have to take three points tonight and aim at getting another three points at wembley against tonights opposition and points against Dortmund in the away match.

Article is outdated, Eriksen not available, and I believe Foyth has travelled! Not sure about formation, but I would expect Trippier to started this until Aurier got sent off, so he may have played himself in the starting line up to keep Trippier for Saturday. Secondly, what about keeping to a back three and either play Foyth or Davies if Sanchez has travelled and use KWP as LWB, Davies plays for Wales as a third CB.

I epxect Son to start but may be we will see a Kane and Llorente partnership, with Kane behind Llorente and Son one side and GK the other? Ideally Dier needs a rest but unlikely to get it due to Demeble being out, as I am not sure Poch will risk too much inexperienc in the middle with just Winks and a youngster, so I expect Dier and Winks in there.

I would probably go for four at the back, cannot see why we need three, expect them to defend, so may be Aurier/Trippier with Toby and Sanchez/Foyth and Davies/KWP hard to choose. Then Dier and Winks, Son, GK, Llorente and Kane and Lloris. So 4 2 3 1
It'sME
26/09/2017 17:37:00
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Here's hoping our first team fare a lot better that our U19's who lost to Apoel's U19's 1-0 a short time ago.. can't take these teams lightly. Got to be serious and get up to speed quickly. COYS!!!!
jvd
26/09/2017 18:08:00
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Strange team selection with so many defenders. I did say may be Davies would play as a three at back but not sure now with both Trippier and Auruer playing as well. So who is playing left at the back? Davies, Trippier or Aurier and I am guessing its 3 with two wing backs? Can Aurier play LWB because Trippier was woeful, and if Davies plays there then what is happening with both Trippier and Aurier? I am really hoping Poch hasn't messed up again, because he has fallen short when it comes to crucial games with his unfathamable selection, Chelsea semi Son at LWB, I remember he has made things complicated a few times when its a crucial match, he seems to over complicate things and play players out of position, trying to be too clever, is it happening again tonight?.

I would have thought if Sanchez is playing then we have enough to play four at back or a three if you play either Foyth or even Davies as a three without having to complicate things. Baffled.
It'sME
26/09/2017 18:45:00
1
May be he is going to suprise us and play Dier in a back three, with davies and trippier as wing back and Aurier in middle as a midfilder - still cannot work out his thinking
It'sME
26/09/2017 18:57:00
0
Happy with the lineup but for the lead-footed bull in a China shop who does nothing but completely disrupt the flow of any Spurs football. Llorente should be up top with Kane on the right and Son on the left (assuming no faith in Nkoudou - who I would definitely get in as soon as possible) and Winks in behind. Dier and Aurier in front of an obvious back 4 and Loris would have been far more better, Cannot for the life of me understand playing the waste of space (not for one season, but three now) Sissoko. He would never see the pitch if I were making the decisions. He's in there. Have to wish him well, but hard to see him being any less flow destructive than in every match this season so far. Worst touch on the ball I have see since I coached 6 year olds. We will get the win, notwithstanding the poor selection.
peterballb
26/09/2017 19:27:00
0
Airier is the worst right back I've seen in our shirt for a while. Hope it's just a settling in issue. Don't like the team set up or line up. Highlights once again where we didn't improve. Don't look like we are taking this seriously. 23mins in and very unimpressed.
hudderspur
26/09/2017 19:58:00
0
I guess it must be very hot there as we seem to be running in mud. what is the point of Trippier playing out wife left where they are weak but all he can do is pass backwards. For Gods sake Poch put GKN out there. Well taken goal by Kane but honestly we are a shambles. Defence so bad and Aurier has no eat pace.
Harry-Kari
26/09/2017 20:30:00
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PB I am only seeing through multimatch90 which is a composite of all the games playing today. So I'm only getting about 10-15 seconds of continuous play at a time but seeing all the goals. I have found Sissoko to have shown us a lot more this season (his second for Spurs), so cannot agree with you completely. He has created several chances this season so far. Hudderspur are you serious re Aurier? The guy has been excellent so far with the red card being the only stain on his play. Obvious to me that Poch has reservations about N'Koudou. Not sure why but he would have started if he was well thought of. Since I don't see him day to day, I can't criticize the Manager.
jvd
26/09/2017 20:36:00
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Aurier dragged off 10mins in to second half. ******** *****e player. Tell u something, if we play like this on Saturday we will lose to town. Carry on and we might lose this one!!
hudderspur
26/09/2017 20:51:00
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Jeeez PB there is that dead footed player creating another chance. Oh wait it's a goal. Sissoko to Kane, nice run and nice assist. Let's give our players a chance guys. Hudderspur you are one of possibly 2 people whom I have heard disparage Aurier, most of the football world thinks he very good.
jvd
26/09/2017 20:58:00
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JVD- well most of the football world clearly haven't seen him over the last two games. I can only judge from what I've seen. It's zero coincidence that we've improved 300% since he was subbed off.
hudderspur
26/09/2017 21:05:00
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hudderspur, i don't think he's played anywhere near as bad as youre making out. Matter of fact, i think he's generally played well since joining.
Guyver
26/09/2017 21:21:00
0
Vital win in the end, although not the best team performance.
Guyver
26/09/2017 21:29:00
2
Easy away win in the CL. in the end. What's not to like? No Jan, no Dembele, no Dele, no Wanyama, no Eriksen. No problem. Harry Kane Hat-Trick! 3-0! 6 points out of 6 points! COYS!
Hot Tottingham
26/09/2017 21:39:00
0
Hudderspur perhaps we improved because we changed from a defensive setup to a more attacking one by bringing on Llorente for him. Perhaps we had worn them down after 60 minutes. Lots of reasons for a team to improve after a player is replaced. Maybe the team was told to up the tempo. What I do know is that the guy is a damn good player. Amazing how we tend to be so against our own players so often, when we are emotional. Just saying let's give them a chance.
jvd
26/09/2017 21:43:00
0
I missed the first 25 mins tonight. Harry is on fire this month...we played a solid game, but i was worried there were half a dozen chances to them, R MAdrid would have scored 3 of them. Lloris held the ball well, sissoko slowly working his way back to form as cover for moussa. Aurier has shown he is going to be better than walker, so that is an improvement. All in all we did what we needed, 3 points.. and 3 goals clean sheet.. Geof will be happy...LOL... COYS
Block D Spurs
26/09/2017 21:48:00
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Third goal by Kane was just not defended. He made the pas ran through the defense with his arm raised and Trippier's cross was spot on, goal. Two defenders just stood ball watching. By that point Apoel looked tired and seemed to have given up. Just watching the body language on the highlights. On another note, Juergen klopp is going to have a heart attack on the pitch. Looking at him in the final 6 minutes of added time, I thought he was going to snap his teeth in half from anger and frustration at his players. Hmmm who the hell wants to go to the Ukraine to play Shaktar Donetsk!! Hahahahaha! Like to see how they do on the weekend.
jvd
26/09/2017 21:50:00
0
Kane saved us, and it was a disjointed affair but to be expected with key players missing.

I think the comments about Aurier are unfair, for me he is not as effective as Walker, yet, but he has done alright. I thought he was faster than he has shown, whether that's lack of confidence, not wanting to make speedy runs and get caught out until he is settled I don't know, but I have noticed when tracking back he doesn't always bust a gut like Walker, yet sometimes he does work hard ti get back, but hasn't shown the pace I thought he had. verall he is doing alright, expect more from him once he has been with us a while and Poch has worked his charm on him. I certainly think he is a decent enough player, but room for improvement in his final ball and offensive play and decision making, but overall he is doing alright.

GK may not be trusted yet due to be rusty, he needs cup game minutes to get match fit before throwing him in a CL must win game.

I thought we missed Eriksens play the most, the linking up and getting things moving but overall we did what we had to do.

Llorente isn't getting the service he needs to score, but he showed tonight when he was needed to defend he did and he will be useful when we need to do that and stay calm, but I think its going to take time before we see the best of him, if he gets enough playing time again to get match fit, but also if he does play we have to get crosses into him.

I thought Trippier was wasted on the LWB position.

It's three points and now al we need to do is beat them again at wembley and get a result against Dortmund and then I am sure we will go through. Well done lads. Finally, we are starting to look thin with injuries. Wanyama, now Dembele and Rose and Lamela long term. Lets hope we don't get any more injuries to our first 11. Oh and Sissoko, is doing better b ut imo he is not a first 11 but he is filling in doing a job while we have injuries, I suppose that warrants keeping him.
It'sME
26/09/2017 21:50:00
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I like Kevin de Bruyne.. who would I trade Dele Alli for in a straight trade....Pierre Emmerick Aubameyang! Always dangerous, always running and deadly. Saw aboubakkar today, what a beast. Like a bulldozer in the box, quick and a powerful shot. I think we have a shot against RM. deadly on attack but have a few lapses in the back. Pity Alli will miss the first game but if Wanyama is back we could do well away to them.
jvd
26/09/2017 21:56:00
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Its Me, I have made the point in several articles that I think Sissoko is improving and I think he will get to be a serviceable player for us. However ultimately I would like to sell him on and bring in Barkley, whom I think is a better and more flexible player. Barkley would more easily replace Eriksen and be a better option than Sissoko.
jvd
26/09/2017 22:06:00
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Perfect result, though exactly the same scores as per RM after two games. Was disappointed with our general performance today. Thank you Kane. As per Bale, Harry single-handedly saving our blushes. In the 1st half our passing and ball control was atrocious and am concerned that we allowed so many half and good chances to them. Lloris had another one of his brain f**t moments. We were much better when the game was in the bag and the passing improved too. Play like that v RM and we're in trouble. As for the mix 'n match players with round pegs in square holes, in my book the buck stops with Poch. Having failed with Trippier on the left wing previously, why do it again?...absolute waste of one player. I am also not having this 'not trusting certain players', it's not as N'Koudou has just joined us.

I disagree with the slating of Aurier as I thought he did ok for only his 3rd/4th game. Sissoko imo was much better and it is Eriksen that we truly missed, we were void of any creativity. Son, for me, should remain an 'off the bench' player. Job done, but hope lessons learnt. Well done Geof, you are on a roll!
Critical_Spur
26/09/2017 22:45:00
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Sissoko is certainly improving. It's quite clear for everyone to see.
Geofspurs
27/09/2017 03:57:00
1
I have no idea how Kane will ever be considered as 'World Class' if he can only manage 3 away goals in the CL. Pathetic!
Geofspurs
27/09/2017 03:59:00
0
I have sympathy for Dortmund because they have got unlucky twice. Firstly they drew the group of death - like us. Secondly the fixture draw had given them a hard start, unlike us. I could imagine us having 0 or 1 point from say Dortmund away and Real at home. Now Dortmund have to play catch up. However you can never fault the German ability to get on with it, and I believe they are still a threat unless we pinch points from Real. Away matches in CL are a question of getting the job done, and we did. You must get a win away at the likely whipping boys, because the other 2 teams will likely do the same. Try to win your home games, and definitely avoid defeat. We have done that and given ourselves the best possible chance going into the double header with Real.
TonyRich
27/09/2017 06:48:00
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Tony, it's swings and roundabouts regarding Dortmund. They may well have had a tough opening, but their final, probably crucial, match is away to Real Madrid. Madrid are very likely to have qualified by then so may be inclined to field a weakened team. If nothing else they probably won't be going at it 100%.
Gary Onedaysoon
27/09/2017 07:42:00
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Critical - I took a 2 week holiday with my girlfriend in the Dominican Republic, with spotty internet access given the hurricanes. I missed the Everton, Swansea (thankfully) and West Ham games, but I was able to watch the game against Dortmund. It was an interesting period to evaluate how our new signings fit in. We should probably give it a few more weeks before an initial assessment, but there are talking points already. As for last night, as I said above, the result was a good one, but it is no more than what we should be doing if we are to be considered CL quality. A job well done.
BelgianSpur
27/09/2017 09:38:00
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Geof - maybe Sissoko has a future after all. We all know there is a talented player there but I had given up on MP ever being able to tap into that talent consistently. Maybe he'll be like Dembélé and turn his Spurs career around in time. It will take more than 2 good game in a row, but it could be the start of something.
BelgianSpur
27/09/2017 09:42:00
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I’m with Hudderspur on Aurier. I don’t know if he isn’t fully fit yet but he certainly does not have great pace based on his performances so far. Also, he crosses the ball about as well as Walker and he created nothing down the right side. Completely different when Trips moved across. I’m hoping that Sanchez is just taking time to adjust. He certainly isn’t the pacy ball- carrying player of his sales video so far. His positioning is all over the place, surprisingly ineffective at corners at both ends and his pushing up on players and manhandling them is going to give away a lot of free- kicks in the EPL. I hope he does turn out to be as great as some think he already is but we paid an awful lot of money for potential. It’s obvious from last night that when Verts and Eriksen are not playing we lack cohesiveness and defensive organisation. Whatever Poch says he was also underwhelmed with Aurier last night otherwise he woul have taken Trips off and left Aurier on.
Harry-Kari
27/09/2017 09:53:00
0
Harry-K, I have watched carefully how our 3 man defence lines up and have noted Sanchez is the deepest of the three which has allowed both Toby and Jan to be the ball carriers. I am pleased to see Jan back to making those forward runs, and some quite productive too. Toby imo is not as good a ball carrier but does release some good long and diagonal balls. The player that has disappointed me somewhat, is Dier. A DM and most of his passes are very defensive even when he has space. I think someone once mentioned his pass success rate, but imo, most of his passing is 5 yards to the nearest player if not backwards. With Dembele and Wanyama missing, we really don't have much options.
Critical_Spur
27/09/2017 10:06:00
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Thanks Belgian. Hope you still managed to enjoy your break and avoided the main thrust of those HARRYcanes!
Critical_Spur
27/09/2017 10:07:00
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Gary - but if Dortmund are away to Real in final game, then that must mean that we are home to APOEL... Who we beat 3-0 away, despite giving them chances. If we haven't qualified by the final game, you'd still prefer our fixture than theirs - weakened Real team or not...
TonyRich
27/09/2017 10:53:00
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Critical - we are effectively lining up with 6 defenders and a goalkeeper... It is quite outrageous really.... Not that I am complaining...I am loving it... It works as long as players play to their strengths. Rose, Vertonghen, Sissoko can run with the ball. Toby, Davies can pass. Tripper can cross. Dier doesn't pass forward, and that isn't a problem as long as he does his job of protecting defence, and there are others who pass forward.
TonyRich
27/09/2017 11:00:00
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BS .... I hope so. I admit to being very critical of Sissoko recently and I'd love to be proven wrong.
Geofspurs
27/09/2017 11:21:00
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I watched the Real - Dortmund game as well last night. There you see a clear difference in the pace of the game. Both teams attack with speed and maximum support. Don't know how our slow, slow build-up will help us qualify. Of course we will only be able to counter attack against Madrid and Dortmund (in Germany). Can our defence hold out. Will they force us into errors as against Chelsea in our last two matches? I will go to Madrid but think we will need an exceptional display and a bit of luck. They are to be honest simply different class.
the_cockerel_crows
27/09/2017 12:30:00
1
Tony, that's the thing: I don't expect qualification for us or Dortmund to be decoded until the final game. The table is likely to look very different after the next two matches. I fully expect Dortmund to get 6 points from their double-header against Apoel whilst I think we'll do very well to get even a point against RM (if we were playing at WHL I'd be more optimistic about the home leg). So going into the Dortmund match we're likely to be on level points or a point ahead. If we get at least a draw then it's in our hands for the final game against Apoel. But if we don't - and I think it will be a big ask getting a draw in Dortmund - then we may be relying on RM beating Dortmund. I would expect a fully focused and committed Madrid to be strong favourites against Dortmund. But one with nothing to play for is a different matter... That's why I think we're at a disadvantage. But anyway, there's a lot of football to be played before then. At least after two games we're in as strong a position as we could have hoped for.
Gary Onedaysoon
27/09/2017 13:35:00
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Lots of opinions about certain players, for what its worth these are my perceptions of late.

New signings. Llorente looks slow and unfit, expected but he has strengths that I am sure will help us at some point in the season, like defending free kicks and corners when we are under pressure. Hopefully with his experience he will get back enough fitness to start to get more minutes in cups etc but downside, at the moment we don't play to his strengths, we will have to change our style if he has to come in for Kane for whatever reason, injury, rest, suspension. We will need to get the ball in the area with good quality crosses to maximum his potential and effectiveness. Verdict - early days, not concerned yet.

Sanchez - Raw and is doing well, yes I see mistakes, niaveness, but that is to be expected. Poch will polish him and he is doing well enough to start. What he brings is security for Toby and Verts to move forward and try and be involved in the offensive play knowing Sanchez is there to mop up, or delay conter attack. Verdict - happy with his start with a more time and work he will be a very good player, not concerned at all.

Aurier - seems unfit, expected missed pre season, but also seems to lack pace which suprised me as I was led to believe he was as fast as Walker! He doesn't seem to have the engine or athleticism as Walker and therefore he isn't getting back like Walker used to when caught up top. His crossing seems average to poor like Walker, its as though he isn't striking the ball correctly! and he doesn't seem to run into the space, do any one twos like Walker, he checks back or sideways so his offensive game isn't polished or that effective yet. However, these issues could be down to lack of fitness and confidence. May be he isn't confident at going to far forward due to not being fit enough to track back, and may be his crossing is just not happening because his fitness isn't there and he is struggling to find the form we were led to believe he had! However I think he has done enough in his short time and I expect Poch to develop him as long as he is willing to work hard and stays out of trouble. verdict, not concerned but lots of improvement needed to get the best of him, too early to say. May be he will be one of those players that we will see the best next season after a pre seaso and year to settle.

Foyth - didn't watch the game he played but by all accounts he did well. Cannot really say if I haven't seen him play, so not concerned at this satge.

Now existing players. Sissoko - he has improved but that isn't hard because he was woeful last season. However, he isn't a Dele, Eriksen, Wanyama, or imo even a Winks. Yes I would prefer Winks to Sissoko even on his improved form. I think Winks has better control, he is more creative, can see a pass and is technically better, but may be not as strong or fast or powerful, but I would still choose Winks over Sissoko. However, I think with the injuries we have started with and all the competitions I think it was a good call by Poch to keep him, he is doing a job, but wouldn't expect him to feature so much when players are back even on current form, unless he improves even more and becomes a player somewhere near like he was in the Euros but even then he would struggled to dislodge Wanyama, Dele, Eriksen and may be even Winks! although he could still play a part, and lets not forget we also have Lamela to come back. verdict - still not convinced he will reach the heights he played in Euros or be anywhere near as good as our first teamers, given his age I would expect he will be a squad players that will now do a job until we get better.

It'sME
27/09/2017 13:55:00
0
cont'd.

Dele - well he hasn't played well this season, but he is a game changer. I do think he will leave Spurs, not saying January or even next summer, but I think he has ambitions to play at the very top and abroad, just a hunch. Do I think he is replaceable, yes, and I am not so concerned these days if we lose good players because I think we are starting to find better players and Poch has shown he can develop players. of course I prefer to keep our best players, but some are replaceable and I think Dele is one at the moment, may feel different as time goes on if he develops into a world class player, but he is nowhere near the complete player. Do I think Kane is replaceable, at this moment No. kane just fits Tottenham and Tottenham fits him - it's a love affair. Verdict - I think Dele needs competition and needs to work harder to regain form and keep his place. be interesting to see how this season goes for him especially if we get lamela back and bring in another attacker in in January. However, he is a good player and doing ok but needs to improve and make sure he stays focused.

Eriksen is having a good season, just needs to try and step up in big games, wouldn't want to lose him.

Lloris - I think we will be looking to replace him in about two to four seasons, I can see things creeping into his game, this is something that makes me wonder whether he has hit his peak and now he is on the slow decline! I don't see any immediate change, I see him being number 1 next season at the new stadium, but if he continues to makes these errors and doesn't improve on his distribution then Poch will have a decision to make, looking for his successor. verdict - still good enough but not as safe as some may think!.

Davies - is having a great season and I think Rose will have to work hard to dislodge him at the moment. However, I am not sure Rose will play for us again! It seems he is being kept away from media and everyone, not even a photos of him, unlike Lamela. I wonder if the outburst he had has finished him regardless of what Poch said 'forgiven'. Wouldn't suprise me if we go in for a LB next summer and Rose will go. Verdict - not as concerned now as I first was because Poch is good at getting defenders to defend and I think Rose is injury prone anyway and isn't getting any younger.

Overall I am happy with our squad, but unsure GK will make it, he will need to stay fit and get minutes to prove himself otherwise he will go next season I feel. I would like to see Barkley at Spurs to see if we can get the best out of him and I think he will be better than Sissoko and bring some competition for DEle and Eriksen as well. Looking forward to seeing how Lamela comes back whether he will fit in and be better than we was, curious about him.
It'sME
27/09/2017 13:55:00
0
Tony, your "we are effectively lining up with 6 defenders and a goalkeeper"... yes, it has worked 'so far', but seems all our recent additions (llorente excepted) have been defensive players. Poch seems to be either content with what we have in advance positions or unable to source the right type of players. Despite having stockpiled defensive players, our defence has been impeached several times, even against APOEL and I am note convinced that will help us improve over the course of the season. Last night it was pretty obvious to me that we had no creative player on the pitch and were bereft of anything going forward. Keep relying on Kane to bale us out is very risky imo. Winks has a long way to go in his developemnt, Sissoko hit/miss, N'Koudou barely seen, Son back to huffing puffing, Dele's game has been questioned of late. Hope at least half of the aforementioned get up to speed pdq. It also seemed that because of all these defensive signings, Poch rather accommodate them all at the risk of playing players out of position.
Critical_Spur
27/09/2017 14:01:00
1
Gary - good points. I don't think this group will be decided so easy either. If Dortmund get the points in their next two games and I expect them to and we get nothing from RM then like you say, we are on equal points and then its going to be very hard to get points against Dortmund away. Even if we get a point from RM our last game at wembley will not be easy due to our current form at wembley, nerves etc. I think it may well go down to the last game unless we get points in net two games and Dortmund drop points in their next two games. can we get points from RM, not sure we can. I wouldn't expect us to get any over there if RM are on form, and being at wembley I think we are at a disadvantage, had it been last season at WHL I would have felt we could get something from our home tie against RM but this season at wembley is a big ask! On the other hand anything can happen in football and Apaoel may actually take points from Dortmund, so we just cannot precdict, it will be tough and its going to be exciting and nerve wrecking imo.
It'sME
27/09/2017 14:02:00
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Just to add, I was a little disappointed that KWP didn't get a game last nite.
Critical_Spur
27/09/2017 14:02:00
0
It's still too early to conclude anything, but if there is anything worrying to point out about the season so far, it's our inability to break down teams who park the bus. Creative players can do that, at at the moment only Eriksen really is producing. Dele at his best has some tricks up his sleeve but he's not at his best right now. I was hoping Lamela would come back sooner rather than later but I'm increasingly worried about him now. That was my big gripe with the summer window: no matter if Sanchez turns out to be a good player or not, I still feel the 42 million would have been better spent on a creative player. I won't come to any conclusions too soon at the risk of being labelled negative again, and I'll wait until December to make an initial assessment of our transfer business, but I can't say that I have seen marked improvement from last season so far. That may yet come and last night's 442 may be a sign that we can now consider tactical changes which were unavailable to us last year.
BelgianSpur
27/09/2017 16:48:00
1
Critical I noticed your pun "bale" us out re HK's hatrick. However I don't agree with you about that. After all that is the role of a striker, Ian it not. The entire attack is centered on getting the ball to him, thus he should score. Now if it was like Bale's contributions then I would agree with you and be concerned.
jvd
27/09/2017 17:16:00
1
I agree jvd. Another difference is that many of Bales goals were solo efforts, wonder goals. Kane is benefiting from good team play and applying the finishing touch, like his 2 goals last night.
Guyver
27/09/2017 19:11:00
0
Either way you'd rather have our fixture list than Dortmund's to get the points on the board from the off. If we stop Dortmund from beating us, then their task is well out of their hands. It is all in our hands.... Dont drop it lads!
TonyRich
27/09/2017 19:12:00
0
I'm really not worried about Sissoko because as far as I am concerned he will probably be gone after this season, especially if Barkley comes in January. But his improvement will increase his sale value and give us ability to upgrade elsewhere.
jvd
28/09/2017 01:27:00
0
Get Barkley and, as BS says, another creative MF and we're set. But bringing in a creative player who is good enough for us won't be easy as they wouldn't be guaranteed a starting place in the first eleven. Personally, I'm hoping Winks will keep progressing and become that creative player.
Geofspurs
28/09/2017 02:21:00
0
Dortmund have to rely on us to fail now, it's out of there hands completely, as it will come down to a head to head. If they get 6 points from there next 2 and we get 0 still level then we have them and apeol to play. They have Madrid away, that won't be easy realistically we need a draw at Dortmund and win at Wembley again apeol and we will make it out of the group regardless of what Dortmund do. If we can nick a draw against madrid then we'll it's game over. As long as Dortmund do not beat us we will make it through
E17YID
28/09/2017 06:15:00
0
If GD has any influence on the final standings we need to be careful against Dortmund and then put a few in against Apoel which, luckily, is our last game. We should know what we need to do by then.
Geofspurs
28/09/2017 08:29:00
1
Geoff, if we end up with the same points as Dortmund, the head-to-head determines who goes through. Firstly, it's the number of points gained between the two teams, then the goal difference between the two teams and then the highest number of goals scored. So we could in effect lose by one goal or even 2-0 and still finish ahead of Dortmund.
Gary Onedaysoon
28/09/2017 09:41:00
0
Lol, that's what I said Gary the head to head.
E17YID
28/09/2017 11:44:00
0
Gary .... I know. mate, that's why I said we need to get the most from our last game against Apoel .... just in case.
Geofspurs
28/09/2017 12:06:00
0
Gary .... After re-reading your comment, do you mean our overall GD won't count .... and that it would just be the GD between us and Dortmund?
Geofspurs
28/09/2017 12:08:00
0
Yes, Geoff - it's the goal difference between us and Dortmund in our head-to-heads. It will only go to the overall group record if we have an identical record to Dortmund. So the third goal we scored against Dortmund at Wembley could be really crucial.
Gary Onedaysoon
28/09/2017 13:59:00
0
Thanks, Gary. I wasn't sure. Maybe Apoel will reduce our stress level by beating Dortmund. Well, it is football!
Geofspurs
28/09/2017 16:44:00
0
One match ban for Dele, imo correct decision.

Whether the gesture was towards Walker or not, in fun or not, or towards anyone else, footballers have to understand while a finger gesture like that is nothing in todays world they are representing their country and are in front of the camera where young children see them. He should not have done it, even in fun and deserves a ban, and one match is right and fair imo because evidence is inconclusive, his team mates words which cannot be fully believed, stick together attitude, but then again no real evidence it was a nasty gesture or aimed towards anyone else including refereee, so can't really give a longer ban that would be unfair, but actions have to have consequences, that type of gesture is immature and unacceptable when your representing your country in front of miion of viewers, so correct decision imo.

Dele needs to understand he is playing in the school yard or park, he is a professional being paid preofessional money and that money comes from us fans and tv so he has to adhere to some decent conduct, not saying be a angel or his personal life should be scrutinated like they often are, but while on the pitch in front of the camera representing your country you behave same when you put a club short on. lets hope he learns!
It'sME
29/09/2017 14:05:00
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