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'After all the talk of crisis, we're back in 4th '.

'After all the talk of crisis, we're back in 4th '.

After all the talk of crisis, we're back in 4th.

It seems that apart from Manchester (red and blue) everyone else are showing us why the Premier League is so tough; mixed results, and unexpected outcomes have combined to put us back in 4th. That and two wins, one great, the other apparently not so hot and not what we expected or wanted..

I was not at the game, and did not watch the highlights so I am grateful to a fellow Spurs fan and friend who did go - (and wished he had not) - for his post match thoughts;

'We have been well and truly worked out; any team in the Premier league now knows how to frustrate our possession/pressing game and one by one they are all turning up and trying to do just that with varying degrees of success. Some will be better at it than others, Brighton almost pulled it off.

We simply don't have a game changer or game changers, we set our stall out and whilst tactically Poch tries to mix it up, the ultimate game-plan doesn't change.

Plenty of your posters will have made their thoughts clear about the line up and how they played, so I will not add to that other than to say except for one thought; Sissoko will cost us 4th, he is absolutely useless, the only time he is worse with the ball, is when he is without it.

We have no great pace or guile, the sort that pushes defenders onto the back foot or makes them commit themselves and make mistakes, defending against us in depth can be tiring, but just as Brighton showed last night, if you are fit enough, relatively easy to do.

It's ok to rely on wingbacks, but neither have any guile and at times both turn inwards or pass inwards rather than take a risk to go past when they should.

We won with a couple of flukes, but also hit the woodwork a couple of times. If we don't score early at home, teams grow in confidence and work harder, when we got the first they had to try and come out and do something in the second half, but still they didn't really commit to their cause. We got a second, but came away knowing that we had dominated but with an empty feeling inside about the performance and it felt like that too during the second half when big swathes of the crowd seemed to go into exasperated hibernation.

If Poch think we will win anything without genuine Pace and guile, then he is badly mistaken. It is the Achilles heel of his philosophy and system of play and absolutely every half-decent manager in the Premier League now knows it - but does he?

If he and Levy do not try to address our weaknesses and failings in the January window, then this season is guaranteed to be another one without silverware and another wasted opportunity to win something with this squad before it starts getting dismantled...'

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

Date:Thursday December 14 2017
Time: 11:23AM


There is obviously a problem against teams that come to defend, has been throughout Poch's time in charge. But vague comments about "pace and guile" don't explain how to fix it. Sounds suspiciously like the old "buy somebody, anybody" mantra. Its not even as if we are the only ones, Liverpool drew 0-0 with West Brom at home and Liverpool have pace to burn. There seems to be trend emerging in the premier league of lesser teams using this defensive tactic and hoping to pick up a point, or maybe they are just getting better at using it. Certainly Brighton were very well organised. One thing that might make life easier would be if we could just take decent corners and free kicks. With the amount of possession we have around the oppositions box you can pretty much guarantee we will get a lot of set pieces. But we seem to be incapable of making use of them.
14/12/2017 11:43:00

I have to disagree with most of that and also ask, what exactly is a game-changer? We start every match at nil-nil. If we score, then the game has changed. If we win then that's 3 points more than we had before kick-off. And last night, we won. We mostly win. - Sometimes when not having that so-called game-changer, on the day, we draw or lose. And that's football! We are quite good at it, most of the time, I think. Not all of the time but, most of the time, under Pochettino. Ask Ronaldo. Ask a Real supporter.

I suppose it depends on what our expectations are as to how we react when our form has dipped or when we drop points. However, these days it seems that even when we win, a lot of our supporters are still thoroughly disappointed. It's as though winning is the new drawing and drawing is the new losing. Call me naive, or easily pleased, but losing really is losing and a win is still a win. So, why still be down when we win?

The good at THFC, imo is still far outweighing the bad and it may yet get better.

Hod knows, (we ALL know ) that we are capable of "better" and yet things really aren't so bad, are they?

And, we do have game-changers all right. Ask Harry Kane. Ask Son. Ask Dele. Ask Christian. They know all about it.

Hot Tottingham
14/12/2017 11:53:00
I'm not nearly as despondent as my friend was speaking to him this morning; we are once again winning games despite not being at our best - that's a big positive in my eyes. To answer the question of what a 'game-changer' is/could be - I've had this debate for the last couple of seasons with both other Spurs friends at games and here - an example would be a 'Zaha' type - who I desperately argued we should buy when we bought S0-S0-Sissooko. Or it is a Mane, a Salah - players that can go past defenders and make them commit, that is when (of course NOT always!) you have more chances to break down a packed defence that simply pressing, playing around the box, taking long shots or looking for deflections - which I'm told with the amount of crosses and attempt shots is what we did last night ! Obviously, I am at a disadvantage as I have said, couldn't go and haven't watched the highlights - but will later.
14/12/2017 12:28:00
Hot Tottingham - I'm not sure if you are suggesting we should be looking at flukes as a source of goals. If it hadn't been for the foul Aurier's cross would have been an easy one for the keeper to collect. Actually for the second goal what happened was Son managed to turn a poor free kick into something with a brilliant header. I just watched it again, the look of surprise on Son's face after he scored tells you that wasn't where the free kick was supposed to go.
14/12/2017 12:33:00
Well of course, another game-changer or two will never go amiss. But to say we don't have any at all (and it's not just your friend that has said this) is just silly. My point In my response was really the one you have just made. And that is... it is always a good sign winning matches when not at your best. We have not been at our best all season. Even I know this. Not even against Real, were all of our players at their best. And yet?
Hot Tottingham
14/12/2017 12:35:00
jod. Both goals came about from playing the game of football. That includes deflections etc. I was just referring to your point about not converting from free kicks etc and also the point in the article about wing backs not going past players and producing anything. I disagree with the Son goal as it was a deliberate pass to him from the dead ball and it was a deliberate attempt on goal that went in. (Neither goals were given as own goals). I just found it funny (ironic), that we scored both goals in a fashion that you were both criticising the team for not doing very well at. I do agree with the rest of your post...
Hot Tottingham
14/12/2017 12:42:00
Winks and Sisoko are squad players so happy that Spurs can win with them both in the team. Marhez, Marhez, Marhez been saying for over two season that spurs should get him the guy even put in a transfer request so why didn't spurs snap him up as his value had gone down after a poor season? Now he is finding form again the price paid will be higher. Spurs needed one more addition in the summer to make it a good window.
14/12/2017 12:54:00
Well we did break City's winning run last season with Sissoko in the team. (And Lamela). That win didn't quite mean the difference between 2nd and 3rd but it would've been a lot closer if we had lost. Sissoko is doing all right by me. He could do a lot better. Then again, they all could.
Hot Tottingham
14/12/2017 13:14:00
Let's not kid ourselves that normal service has been resumed. ONE point separates 4th from 7th. Could be clear of the chasing pack on Saturday or back to 7th! The goals aside, last night just proved we still have issues with AM's movement. During the game I was (albeit from the sofa) paying attention to our off the ball movement and ball carrier's vision. I thought both were lacking. I saw a lot of midfielders + defenders waving arms suggesting a backwards pass, even when the ball carrier had space to turn around and head north. There is less telepathy between players and general lack of awareness imo. Having watched other top 4 teams, especially City, the players instinctively and quickly move the ball to players running the channels. So, imo, it it is not just about the players with guile and trickery, it is as much about awareness and risk-taking to release the ball. With us, there seems to be greater emphasis on ball retention and safe play imo.
14/12/2017 13:14:00
Oh for the guile of a £100million+ Philippe Coutinho or the pace of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah sure to score great goals every game. Or maybe not if playing against a defensive team! Agree about Sissoko I can guess that someone like David Pleat backed this wasted transfer money!
14/12/2017 13:19:00
When the "crisis" started we were 2nd and 3 points clear of 3rd. We're now 4th and some way off Man U. Just because we're marginally back in the top 4 doesn't mean we're out of the woods yet. To answer jod though: it is not the fans' responsibility to answer how to fix things. You may deride the comments about who to buy, or claim that some statements are vague. But what's the alternative? Do nothing/say nothing and just watch the train wreck? One thing is for certain: some people at the club are making an absolute fortune, all the while taking some very poor decisions. You may defend those people as much as you want, or mock fans who are trying to be creative in fixing issues. All I see if people who are supposedly qualified, yet sanction deals for the likes of NJie/NKoudou...
14/12/2017 13:30:00
In the words of an old Supertramp LP. Crisis? What Crisis? There was and is no crisis at Tottenham Hotspur.
Hot Tottingham
14/12/2017 13:46:00
Every player on the park and on the bench is a game-changer. That's why they're there.
14/12/2017 13:57:00
And every goal can be described in many ways if you look at the move leading up to it and started asking, "what if ....".
14/12/2017 14:01:00
The move that led to Auriers goal was very good. It came about from some very neat inter-passing and clever movement. Including Serge's own movement passing and quick thinking. They all count.
Hot Tottingham
14/12/2017 14:07:00
palmover, did you notice that Walker was on the sub's bench last night? It would seem that he can't play twice a week under Pep after all.
Gary Onedaysoon
14/12/2017 15:07:00
Walker needed a good rest in order to be at his best for Spurs. He will probably need even more rest after a tough 90+ minutes work out from the team they call the Tottenham. If he gets injured or sent-off then he'll be glad for the rest as well as the extra pocket money he now has and the added free time he will then have to do his Xmas shopping.
Hot Tottingham
14/12/2017 15:37:00
I thought Spurs were only in 2nd gear last night.They seemed to be sleep-walking to a one goal victory,thinking Brighton were toothless up front.They were lucky that didn't backfire on them as in other games at Wembley against inferior opposition. I expect in the back of their minds was the massive game on Saturday. They need to increase the tempo & workrate 100% against Citeh to stand any chance. I believe they could pull off a shock result. Regarding game-changers we might be able to buy after Xmas -Mahrez & Saha would inject the pace & guile which could transform our attack.Will Levy do it-no chance, I'm afraid!
14/12/2017 17:06:00
I can see where Spursex is coming from. In the old days we had players like Danny Blanchflower, Tommy Harmer, Johny Brooks, Gazza, David Ginola, Glenn Hoddle, who would do fantastic things on the ball to take defenders out and open up the way to goal. Things that lit up a game regardless of the result. Where are their likes today? Maybe Dele, Lamela and perhaps Edwards have some of that potential but I have the feeling it's being drilled out of them to fit the pattern.
Stan Rosenthal
14/12/2017 17:35:00
Personally I think two things are happening. First lesser teams are getting good at parking the bus and it's not just against us. utd have at times only just managed to get one goal, Liverpool drew agaain, Chelsea have stumbled. So there are a couple of ways to counter this. One is RM and Barca way which we cannot do because their way is to have wc footballer in their team. The other way which we just don't do is to play long and get balls into the area. To do that you need targets in the area and quick quality crosses with pace and we don't do either. When we have played Llorente we haven't used his strengths and we always play from the back and often at a slow pace.

If you cannot get past the defender of the wing then you cross from deep, but you need at least 2 more likely 3 players in the box to challenge the defenders and for me you need to have Kane and two more players keeping the opposition defenders busy when the crosses come in, we don't have those type of players, and our crosses often lack pace, even from free kicks and corners.
14/12/2017 20:42:00
I think our play is actually quite slow, moving it forward and constently playing from the back.

Even Winks was passing sideways more last night, who actually had a poor game. I did see the offensive players make some runs but the midfielders and defenders didn't pass it, iften it went a few yards to the side, back or if it went forward it didn't go that far, they played in front all the time. It wasn't that there was never any runs, there was by kane, son and lamela but no body made the pass they opted for the short pass to the nearest person.

I still think Barkley would add something to this team, drive. He likes to carry the ball like Dembele, although he isn't as skilful as Dembele he likes to carry it but he is more confident than Dembele when he gets closer to the area, he will cross or shoot, whereas Demeble want and for me this could be a asset. mind with that scar I wonder what impact that will have on his fitness over the coming years, can hamstring repair fully or is it going to be a matter of niggly problems with him!. Still if he is going to be fit would like to see him in the squad. I would also like to see Dembele the striker think he is one for now and the future. Some say Zaha, well he looks better than GK but is he able to step up to Poch demands!.
14/12/2017 20:56:00
Llorente will never be what we want. We need a faster player than him, one that can either go past a player or one that can beat a defender to a ball. Would like to see Zaha and Marhez in the team but that will not happen. We spend way to much time keeping possession for possessions sake when the good speedy counter attack would work. We look so much better with the speed and guile on Son in the team.
15/12/2017 01:41:00
Having seen the game I believe that Spurs were playing within themselves. Never having any fear that Brighton would win. As someone said they seemed to be sleep walking. I’m pretty sure they played that way deliberately to conserve themselves for Sunday. As to Sissoko, I have moved from allowing him a chance to show what he can do, to I’ve seen enough and he can be sold. I do believe he understands the game, has a very good tactical mind, understands what he has to do but simply doesn’t have the technical ability to execute consistently at the level we need. Simply put we need a Ross Barkley type who can.
15/12/2017 10:31:00
I agree with Jod assessment that we are useless at corners and spot kicks. Son’s goal has to be the first in a long time. But corners are simply useless. This is one area where I have to take MP to task. We simply get too many each game to waste these opportunities. Surely we can hire a couple of smart tacticians to develop some really menacing corner strategies to at least get 1 a goal from every 10 chances which I’m sure is our Average per game.
15/12/2017 10:35:00
Corners are a tough one. I can see how we would emphasize corners as a scoring opportunity if we had 5/6/7 players who are all aerial threats. Then, it becomes very difficult for other teams to defend. But unlike other, bigger teams, we don't have that many targets to go for. Kane, Dier, and Toby and Jan are decent. Outside of those 4, I struggle to see any others who are systematically going to win their duel on a corner. In the Belgian national team, for example, when everyone is fit, you have Fellaini, Jan, Toby, Kompany, Witsel, Vermaelen, Lukaku/Benteke, so at least 6 or 7 players who are all capable of doing that. It makes sense to use corners as a goal threat. In our team, I don't think it's ever going to be a strong point, not with Eriksen, Son, all of our full backs, Lamela, Winks, Dembélé,etc who are unlikely to ever systematically win their duels in the box. I think playing the odd short corner may actually be a smarter approach.
15/12/2017 11:07:00
jvd, I don't disagree with you and I find myself having a go at the lads often in dead ball situations. But when compared to Man City? They have scored 9 from corners and set pieces. Spurs have 5. However 4 of those City goals have come from penalties whereas Spurs are yet to have had a penalty awarded to us all season. - I will say that in the recent past we have been top of the list in scoring from set-pieces and corners under Pochettino but also, it doesn't really make a huge difference anyway where the goals come from as long as you're scoring enough and hopefully winning matches. ....... Stoke have scored from 6 corners this season and yet? Burnley only 1 from a free-kick and none from a corner or pen. ..... I'm not about to give run down on all our main PL rivals but the stats are not noticeably superior to THFC's in this respect.
Hot Tottingham
15/12/2017 11:30:00
It will be interesting to see what Poch does once Sanchez is back from suspension. He could switch Dier back up into holding midfield and play 4-2-3-1. Alternatively, he could leave Dier in the back 3 and play the system we've played most of the season. It is always going be tough in the spine without players of Toby and Wanyama's ability. That has taken its toll recently. For tomorrow, I don't think he has any choice but to partner Dier and Vertonghen and put Winks and Dembele together. My guess is that Alli and Eriksen will start and it will be Son that gets the nod over Lamela. It will be very annoying if we see Sissoko start.
15/12/2017 11:50:00
Yes we have regained 4th spot, but before boundless euphoria takes over we should ask how. The answer is we have just won 2 consequetive, very eminently winnable or even "must win" games, both at home against the might of Stoke City, and Brighton, I should hope we have. If we had lost either that would have been justifiable reason for a very critical inquest. Today we play on of the top 4, indeed the runaway leaders of the PL and having already lost to Chelsea, Man Utd, and Arsenal, it would be nice if by our performance and/or result today, we could display a justification for being seen as a top 4 club, something that compared to last season, we have so far failed to do.
16/12/2017 12:37:00
Frank. Yes we beat Stoke and Brighton to get up to 4th. Arsenal and Liverpool helped us by only drawing with WHU and WBA. You can only beat, draw with or lose to who you're playing on the day. Who were you expecting us to beat on the days that we played those two? Barca and Real?
Hot Tottingham
16/12/2017 13:56:00
The other two also only drew with Everton and Southampton, last Sunday. Which also helped us.
Hot Tottingham
16/12/2017 13:59:00
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