Spurs started off the new Premier League season off in a fitting style, after an exceptionally unexciting off-season this game was the perfect match.
Spurs’ off-season was about as uninspiring as it gets, couple of defenders in and a couple of kids who’ve done very little in while players leaving that weren’t given much of a chance and were quickly bracketed as wastes of the Bale money offloaded.
Leaving the side that played Man United away in the first match of the new Premier League season pretty much being one that would have played last season. A new face in defence, Alderweireld, Vorm in for the injured Lloris and Dier in the centre of midfield being the only real differences.
So with the same team comes the same failings, as we saw against a mediocre home team a lot of huff a lot of puff and very little else except for the standard bit of Spursy play.
So yes it looks like another season of Bentaleb hindering any Spurs progress.
Last season it was Mason and Bentaleb in the middle. Well Mason at least looked forward, so Bentaleb was effectively the holding player, except he wasn’t very effective, managing less than a tackler per half he played and watching numerous scorers wander past him with ease. So with Dier now looking to have that duty it means Bentaleb needs to look forward but he doesn’t.
Sideways, sideways, back, sideways, back, back, sideways.
Dembele gets abuse for his slowing up of play in the final third, most of his passes were lateral but then that’s all he’s left with as Bentaleb has slowed everything up from the very start. His slow play and sideways passing means that the forward players have no space or freedom by the time the ball reaches them.
But golden boy is one of ours and he bosses the games.
Well he bossed that pass which led to the goal. In acres of space under no pressure he just gifted up possession. A couple of passes then a cross later and Rooney is so inept he can’t score from a few yards out he needs Kyle Walker to do it for him. Typical Walker the one time he actually tries and tackle someone with his feet – instead of the usual arms or fat arse routine – and he goes and scores for United.
Well someone had to, they weren’t going to do it for themselves. Comments made about the departed Vlad Chiriches being a worse defender, yet last season it when he played against ManUre it was a clean sheet and he cleared one off the line.
After that goal went in – in such a Spursy manner – the usual post goal Spurs turned up as they collectively lost their heads and just started doing a Bentaleb and giving the ball away.
Up until then they had been on top, in the way that having the ball and creating pressure while doing nothing much with it is being on top.
The standard Pochettino approach was working. The pressurising the ball and opposition knocked United of any stride they might have. While United had nothing and did nothing, Spurs had a couple of chances but as per usual didn’t take them. Eriksen with an early lob over the net after a nice lob over the defence to him from Kane.
I wondered how long the pressing game would work before tiredness of the first real competitive game and those midweek exertions in Germany would take hold but United faded as much as Spurs so it levelled out.
Then shortly after the second half started there was a minor tremor as the world shifted on it’s axis and the board went up showing Bentaleb was coming off. Did it really happen or was I only dreaming?
No he departed, as someone said
the best move he made all day. The replacements Mason, Lamela and Alli added a bit more go forward but very little else. Spurs showed some late game urgency but very rarely took the right option, there were chances and maybe Pochettino was right and they deserved something out of the game but in all honesty it never really looked like coming.
And maybe something will happen in the remaining couple of weeks of the transfer window but if it does it’ll have all the excitement of these last few weeks, doubtful anything to lift the spirits of the team nor the fans. Of course on the other side there was a what could have been as Schneiderlin lined up for the hosts, maybe not a sexy signing but a much needed one.