Let me start by throwing some statistics your way since Sherwood has taken over as manager:
- We’ve won 5 games and tied one, taking 16 of 18 possible points in the last 6 matches
- Under AVB we had a 7% chance conversion rate, the lowest in the league. Since Sherwood took over we have the highest chance conversion rate in the league at 23%.
The recent results from Spurs have me feeling like a giddy little school girl and Sherwood exemplifies my emotions perfectly after Adebayor’s second goal in the match yesterday:
Not only has our form improved tremendously, but the squad is finally starting to look like a team and developing chemistry as a unit. If you have any doubts in your mind on whether our diverse group of players are beginning to understand and care about each other, please take note of Danny Rose’s reaction to Chiriches being headbutted by Wilfried Bony:
If that’s not true love between defenders, then I don’t know what is!
- To be honest we didn’t start this game well. Swansea had a number of chances to go up early and we were being opened up far too often in the center. One of the reasons for this was the fantastic play from Wilfried Bony. That guy is the real deal and a very quality player. The other reason was poor positioning and defending by our center midfielders, most notably the youngster Bentaleb. Overall I don’t think he had a bad game and after halftime he cleaned up his defending a bit, but once Paulinho and Sandro are back I will have a hard time justifying him to continue as a starter.
- We are playing exciting, entertaining football!
- EMMANUEL ADEBAYOR!!!! Besides the fact that he scored two excellent goals and nearly had a hat-trick on a couple different occasions, he was immense all game. I don’t know what Sherwood has done to spark the fire inside of him, but when he plays like this he’s one of the most dangerous strikers in the league.
- Christian Eriksen was all over the place today. Sherwood’s tactics were very interesting having Erkisen out wide at LM and Chadli starting in a more CAM attacking role. That being said the two seemed to switch back and forth at will and Eriksen seems to thrive with this added sense of freedom. It really feels like we got a young version of Rafa back!!
- The pace of Kyle Walker should be feared by everyone in world football. If his recent form has not given a genuine argument for him to start at RB for England in the World Cup, then Hodgson doesn’t know what he’s doing. Walker is a beast moving forward and excellent tracking back at defense. I also found Sherwood’s choice to bring on Naughton late in the game for Lennon and push Walker up to RM a very successful decision.
- Hugo Lloris was excellent as usual…
- Dawson and Chiriches both had their handful in dealing with Bony, however they both played fairly well. Not only were they defending well, but they were getting more involved with build-up play.
- Rose was a little shaky on occasion at the back, but he was great moving forward and his assist to Adebayor was perfection.
- Chadli and Dembele both played decent games. Nothing spectacular, but nothing really to complain about (besides Dembele’s selfish decision to shoot and miss when he had Adebayor wide open in front of goal).
- It was nice to see Gylfi back in the squad and while I do think he should have scored from his shot, he was instrumental in our third goal.
Chico Flores Own Goal 54′
Post-Match Interview with Sherwood
Before I dive into my thoughts on our victory over Palace I want to show you something beautiful…
This double backheel exchange between our Belgian beast and the young little Frenchman puts a smile on my face every time I watch it (which is too many times than I would like to admit). 19 year old Nabil Bentaleb played a total of 106 passes with a completion rate of 93% on Saturday, which was the most in the league that day. If that’s not enough to sell you on this youngster, check out this shot from Bentaleb that was seriously unlucky not to hit the back of the net:
While Eriksen may have had the crucial first goal that gave us the momentum to beat Crystal Palace in my mind the MOTM was a tie between Bentaleb and Jason Puncheon. To be honest Spurs struggled in the first half and Bentaleb was one of the few players who seemed solid for the whole 90 minutes. We were extremely lucky not to be down at half and Puncheon’s missed penalty kick for Palace was a huge booster for us. There are rumors that Jason’s penalty was taken with so poorly it actually left the stadium, crossed the pond and the ball ended up frozen somewhere in downtown Manhattan. See for yourself:
Here are my takeaway’s from this match:
- What to do with Roberto Soldado? He was a ghost on the pitch today and this was one of this worst performance of the season. When Defoe came in for him not long after half he was far more effective and even scored a goal. I want to like Soldado and I know we need to be patient, but games like this aren’t helping his case.
- Eriksen is brilliant. While he had a somewhat weak first half he was deadly in the second. My only issue is that he drifts in to the middle so often he leaves Danny Rose out to dry defensively far too often. Ultimately I’d like to see Eriksen moved back into the center, but it’s clear he needs to be in the starting 11 every game.
- Bentaleb had the potential to be a star. I’m not sure about his pairing with Dembele as they are somewhat similar in their style, but I trust him on the ball and he can make passes in tight spaces which is something we desperately need. We have so much talent in the CM space I’m not sure who I want in the starting 11 when everyone’s healthy.
- Chiriches, Walker and Rose had bad games, we need Super Jan back desperately. One good thing that came from it was the performance of Naughton. I feel like this guy gets a lot of flack and when he plays LB I agree he is horrendous, but he stepped in well for Walker and had a very nice game at RB.
- Adebayor only played OK, but he is our best striking option no question.
- Lennon had another good game, but where is Lamela?
Old Trafford on New Years Day, what an epic victory… While I can’t deny the fact that the last 30 minutes or so of the game were nerve racking to the point that I almost forgot I was hungover, Tim Sherwood has officially won me over with this fantastic win.
Walker – Chiriches – Dawson – Rose
Lennon – Capoue – Dembele – Eriksen
Adebayor – Soldado
Bentaleb for Capoue 67′
Chadli for Adebayor 69′
Kane for Soldado 75′
- Officially the MOTM was Vlad Chiriches. While he did have a great game, I thought Lloris and Eriksen also played outstanding.
- I’ve said this before, but Lennon is our most dangerous winger and should start every game. Eriksen out wide does narrow our attack and often Rose was getting left out to dry defensively. That being said I like the decision and it’s proving to be very deadly in our attack.
- Soldado missed another sitter, but I’m still very happy with his play. He’s developing good chemistry with Adebayor and playing more of a playmaker role. He was playing creative, incisive balls into the box that we so desperately need.
- Adebayor is back and in my mind our best striking option at the moment. I want to continue to see the pairing with Soldado, but if we had to choose one it would be the man from Togo for me. He was hustling all over the pitch in this match and eventually wore himself out and had to be stretchered off with cramps all over his body!
- I know that Sandro is technically ‘The Beast’, but Dembele effectively took on this role against United. His ability to muscle people off the ball is like no one else in the league and I literally thought for a moment that during their battle for possession he was going to make Wayne Rooney cry. Paired with Capoue in the middle those two are some serious bruisers, wearing down any opposing midfielders easily…
Example of Soldado being a playmaker
Lloris diving header clearance
After a nice Christmas full of copious amounts of food and alcohol I found myself unable to wake up early enough to watch the match live. While I did manage to see the game later that afternoon I feel partially responsible for the draw, which I consider to be a very poor result against West Brom. Over the course of this season I’ve noticed there’s a direct connection between me waking up early enough to watch the games live and Spurs winning the match. Unfortunately I couldn’t do my part and for that I apologize to Sherwood and the gang.
Walker – Chiriches – Dawson – Rose
Chadli – Erkisen – Holtby – Sigurdsson
Adebayor – Soldado
Bench: Friedel, Fredericks, Naughton, Velkjovic (!?), Bentaleb, Capoue, Lamela
Subs: Holtby for Bentaleb 62′ & Lamela for Chadli 72′
- Eriksen’s freekick was immense, one of the best I’ve seen all season
- Danny Rose and Kyle Walker were fantastic this game. They both seemed like they were trying harder than anyone on the pitch and were far and away our best outfield players. In my mind they tie for MOTM performance. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I think Kyle Walker is the best player on our team right now.
- Lloris had a great game as usual
- The officiating was absolutely horrendous in this match. West Brom should have been down to 10 men after a terrible tackle from Reed when he was already on a yellow.
- Holtby and Eriksen have too similar playing styles to be paired in the middle. It was an experiment, but I hope Sherwood understands that Eriksen needs a Sandro/Capoue with him in the middle.
- Adebayor and Soldado don’t play well side by side up top. Soldado seems to get forced outside the box too often. I would like to see Ade play more of a CF role behind Soldado if this partnership continues.
- Chadli is a decent player, but should never be started over Lamela or Lennon.
- Why on earth did we invert our wingers for most of the game?? Gylfi was struggling with his crosses on his left foot and Chadli with his right! Wake up Sherwood this is Football 101
- What to do with Gylfi… Honestly this kid has some of the most raw talent on the team, but playing him out wide doesn’t play to his best abilities. I want to see him in the team as he is a serious goal threat, but Sherwood needs to find a way to deploy him creatively.
- To be fair I don’t think Daws had the worst game, but Chiriches played terrible and our defense was clearly a huge issue. I think Chiriches has potential no doubt, but right now he’s far too unpredictable to start in the Premier League. We need Vertonghen back desperately…
- Adebayor was lazy and back to his old self. Soldado tries so hard each game, but to no avail… Our striker situation is the most perplexing for me.
- Bentaleb played another good game and was actually a better pairing with Eriksen than Holtby
Overall, we didn’t play well enough to truly deserve this win. We had 20 shots on goal with only 3 on target!?? We put in tons of crosses, but no one seems to be able to get on the other end of them.
Waking up at 6:30am after a big night out was not an easy task, but as any Spurs faithful would do I managed to face my morning hangover to watch our boys pull off a crucial victory against Southampton. The feeling I took away from this win was something similar to the victory dance Ade pulled off in celebration of his first goal and MOTM performance…. The reaction from Chris Foy is almost as entertaining as the goal itself.
The Lineup – We started the game with an aggressive 4-4-2 formation consisting of:
- Walker — Dawson — Chiriches — Rose
- Lamela — Dembele — Eriksen — Sigurrdsdon
- Adebayor — Soldado
- SUBS: Dembele for Bentaleb 50′
- Lamela for Chadli 60′
- Soldado for Defoe 85′
- Strikers: Sherwood’s decision to reintroduce Adebayor may just find him managing Spurs longer than most expected! Ade was hustling all over the place, very involved in the buildup play and he was a menace in front of the goal. I like his pairing with Soldado and if they can form a good strike partnership I think the goals will start to pour in. Soldado really should have scored at least one goal in the game, but you can see it in his face how bad he wants it and I’m still entirely confident this Spaniard’s goals will come!
- Wingers: Siggy and Lamela both had good, but not great games. I’m happy to see them both get a start and very excited about their potential as players, but I’m not sure they are the best pairing for wingers. They both play creative which we definitely need, but also tend to drift into the middle too often which can narrow us.
- Center Mids: In the center I was not a fan of Sherwood’s decision to pair Dembele and Eriksen. While Eriksen tried to track back frequently he looked out of place and I don’t think the 4-4-2 best suits his playing style. We have so many good possible pairing in this position (Capoue, Sandro, Dembele, Paulinho, Holtby, Eriksen) it will just be about experimenting. I’d like to see Sandro/Eriksen or Holtby/Paulinho…
- Defense: Rose had a decent game and I’m overjoyed to have him back in the squad. He did make a costly mistake in the back and too often he plays ‘hail mary’ balls over the top that get intercepted too easily, but he’s an enormous upgrade over Naughton/Fryers. Dawson is a huge upgrade over Capoue and he is one of the most solid CB’s in the air. However, he’s possibly the slowest player on the team and as much as I love Daws, I’m anxiously awaiting the return of Super Jan. If Vertonghen can control his temper I’d like him to eventually take the arm band for Spurs and captain us from the back. Chiriches is still fitting in with the squad and to be honest he’s all over the place, but I’m starting to trust him more and more and happy to see him start every game. Walker was solid as usual, I hope the rumors of Monaco trying to steal him away are false!!!
- Keeper: Lloris made an enormous mistake this game that cost us our second goal. Sometimes he’s far to eager to move off his line when he should really stay put. That being said, he made enough solid saves to make up for his mistake and I’m proud to call him our keeper.
Dembele was clearly injured and had to come off. The clear choice was Holtby to bring some energy into the midfield, but when a 19 year old CM from France called Nabil Bentaleb from the youth squad took his place I was intrigued and terrified all at the same time. At this point in the game we were tied 1-1 so the decision to bring on a youth player at such a crucial moment took some serious balls. The being said Bentaleb had an outstanding debut in my opinion. He was good on the ball, distributed nicely and maintained possession in the middle. He was physical and genuinely looked very confident on the pitch. Sherwood’s knowledge of the youth squad is a useful attribute to him being our manager as shown from this gutsy, but very successful substitution. Congrats to a stellar debut Bentaleb!!!
I like Sherwood’s attacking approach and I genuinely feel like he’s trying to bring more entertaining football to the lane. Forming a strike partnership between Ade and Soldado could be incredible and I love his integration of youth talent. You’ve made up for the West Ham defeat, but we need to see some consistency before we name you our man. However, with celebrations like this, we appreciate your intensity!!
Adebayor – 24′ – Off a fabulous ball from Soldado
Own Goal (Hooiveld) 55′
I’m at a loss for words to describe what I just witnessed. The strong emotions of disappointment and sadness are overwhelming and I’m truly ashamed to call myself a Spurs fan at this current moment in time… The part I can’t wrap my mind around is that we came out so strong and aggressive it seemed inevitable that we would score a handful of goals before the halftime whistle. We dominated possession and looked the better side by a wide margin, but we just couldn’t convert anything. We played nice balls in the middle, but no one seemed able to connect with them. In the second half Adebayor scored a cracker of a goal (GIF below), but after that we seemed to lose our spark and West Ham picked us apart for a devastating 2-1 loss. Tim Sherwood’s debut as Spurs manager has all but sealed his fate and I have no doubt we are looking for his replacement with more intensity after today’s defeat. He started an aggressive 4-4-2 formation with Defoe and Adebayor up top, which after our defensive, one striker formations under AVB, I welcomed. However his 2nd half substitution of Holtby on for Adebayor after we went up a goal was very poor and sitting back cost us the game. Our defense (if you can even call them that) aside from Lloris were an absolute disaster. I know we are riddled with injury and playing a CDM as a CB paired with our 3rd choice CB is Chiriches, but it looked embarrassing. The amount of talent we have on this squad, to be losing games like this while fielding a strong squad is painful to watch… If Sherwood remains in charge against Southampton this weekend he needs to do something drastic! a 4-3-3 perhaps?
The only saving grace of this game…
If only the Europa league were the Premier League… That’s all I kept thinking to myself during this match. Now I know that this Russian team really isn’t very good, but we played fantastic. We looked strong in the back, menacing up front and we played with flair and style. This is the Spurs I’ve been desperately wanting to see all season! After a 4 -1 victory today we took the maximum amount of points from the group stage of the Europe League.
Naughton — Capoue — Fryers — Rose
Dembele — Holtby
Lamela — Siggy — Townsend
- Soldado scored his first hat-trick in a Spurs shirt! His first two goals were beautiful and his third was a penalty kick. However, to his credit the keeper guessed the right direction and the Spaniard’s shot was nothing short of perfection. Not only did he score, but he was far more involved with build up play and hustling all over the field to get balls. I think benching him for Defoe has lit a fire under his ass and I’m excited to see him build off this clear MOTM performance.
- Holtby’s goal was a thing of beauty, I could watch it all day long. This little German grows on me all the time.
- Honestly I could write something positive about everyone on the pitch today. Our wingers were great, Gylfi played well in the CAM spot, Dembele was an absolute beast in the midfield and Fryers/Capoue were both capable CB’s.
- Rose and Eriksen both played parts of this game which was very encouraging to see them back in the squad from their injuries. Eriksen’s got a nice beard now which makes him look more like a viking and Rose played decent the first half. Some kid named Fredricks came in at RB for Rose at half and he looked great so congrats to him on a stellar Spurs debut. He was the one taken down for the penalty too!
- I would also like to mention Friedel in this post. He had a fantastic match with some great saves and I’m very happy to have him as our backup.
- The only real negative I saw is Townsend shooting the ball. He’s brilliant at beating people down the wing, but he had an unforgivable miss one on one with the keeper, plus some other horrendous shots.
Soldado Goal #1 – 7′
Soldado Goal #2 – 16′
Holtby Goal – 54′
Soldado Goal #3 (p) – 69′ - Don’t have a GIF of this one yet…
First off a big thanks to everyone that made it out to 3 Lions on Saturday morning. We managed a decent showing of nearly 20 Spurs fans, which really made for a nice atmosphere to watch the game. On a weekend where nearly everyone ahead of us in the table dropped points, this was a fantastic opportunity for us to make up some ground. We delivered with our second comeback victory in a row and now we sit 6th in the table. In fact a win against Liverpool this weekend would give us a great chance of being back in the top 4!
Takeaways from the match:
- Kyle Walker just strung together 3 stellar performances… This season he is beginning to show more maturity and he’s consistently looking solid in the back and dangerous moving forward. He’s still very young at only 23 years old and for me, Kyle Walker was the MOTM (man of the match).
- Aaron Lennon is our fastest winger and should be starting every game. He gives us the width we desperately need and had a solid defensive workrate. He also has great chemistry with Walker.
- After this match Defoe vs Soldado up top has become a legitimate argument. While Defoe should have put this game to bed earlier as he hit the post twice, he seemed to be far more involved in the buildup play than Soldado usually is. While there’s no question in my mind that eventually Soldado will find his form if we can start to give him the service he needs, at this point in the season depending on who we are playing I can see many reasons why Defoe might be a better start.
- Overall we took 3 points from this match so I’m happy, but like the Fulham match earlier in the week I’m still not too confident in our form just yet.
Please let me know your thoughts in the comments below. Who was your Man of the Match? Wingers of choice? Starting striker moving forward? Or anything else you would like to discuss.
The Goals - GIFS take a moment to load and get up to speed, be patient
After the loss to Man City and the tie with Man United, taking away 3 pts from this Fulham match was absolutely essential. Fulham played terrific and honestly we had some very good luck to win the game. Overall I truly feel that most of the team put in a fairly dismal performance. We were flat, lacked creativity and most of the team didn’t play with any heart or passion. Here are the positives and negatives I saw from that match:
The Frenchman put forth one of his best performances of the season. This game could have easily gone the other way without a tremendous effort from our goal keeper.
This was one of the best matches I’ve ever seen Kyle Walker play. He was all over the pitch, shutting people down, making runs and beating people. He was the only outfield player who seemed to be trying their hardest for every ball.
Both Chiriches and Holtby had outstanding goals. While I don’t think Holtby had the best game, his game winner was outstanding and more than makes up for it. Chirches goal just might change our entire season and this unconventional center back is slowly becoming the most impactful signing of the summer.
We are terrible at finishing
We have the lowest conversion percentage of shots in the entire league. Even when we put together some very dangerous build ups we can’t seem to finish any of them. Paulinho’s miss was almost unforgivable,however he did get denied a fantastic header later in the game.
Daws is good in the air, but he hasn’t put in the best performances lately. Chiriches had some questionable moments as well. While I do think Super Jan is an effective left back, I’m anxiously awaiting the return of Danny Rose so that Vertonghen can replace Daws in the center.
Lack of Creativity
To be honest we are becoming a boring team to watch at times. We seem to value possession far more than seeking out creative opportunities to move the ball forward. Paulinho has his moments and Kyle Walker too, but for the most part we ended up getting forced to pass the ball back to out defenders far to often.
Below I’ve added GIFS of both goals from the game. Let us know your thoughts on the game in the comments below.
Like a true Colorado Spurs fan, I was awake at 5am last Sunday morning to watch Spurs v Man U. After the awful performance a week before against Man City, I was slightly worried as I woke up at the crack of dawn. While I was pleasantly surprised by our performance and think at times we looked quite dangerous only taking away 1 pt from this match was still upsetting. There were some things to be happy about (Kyle Walker’s performance) and some things to be upset over (Lloris over zealous), but overall you can never be sad with a draw against the red devils. The highlight of the match was far and away the absolute screamer from our normally defensive minded CM, Sandro. The Brazilian put in one of the most impressive goals for Spurs this year, take a look…