out someone to replace the kids.
The kids were alright, the kids were winning the first home game of the season against Stoke, it’s just Pochettino had nothing to replace the kids with.
Some are wondering if Pochettino is just another yes man for Levy but something happened both in last week’s league opener and this week’s home opener. Last time out after an atrocious 50 or so minutes Bentaleb was benched, this week that’s where he started, unfortunately it’s not where he finished.
Now Mason isn’t everyone’s favourite player, he isn’t great but he also isn’t as bad as they say – especially as they seem to fawn over Bentaleb at the same time – and with Dier in as the defensive midfielder he is needed because he looks forward, thinks forward and goes forward.
So no coincidence unlike the first game of the season there was more go forward to Spurs’ play.
Which as per usual brought the standard fare of missed chances and a goalkeeper getting all the footage he needs for his career highlights reel, while Spurs have all the ball, with the odd game saving – well it was at the time – moment from Hugo in goal.
The first goal came from what some say was great play by Walker but in reality was down to Walker’s dithering and then a misplaced ball to no one. Dier played him forward and as he got to the byline he hadn’t a clue what to do until he hit the ball back to no one in particular, luckily Mason was charging in and his shot was deflected for a corner.
From that resulting corner a bit of deja vu all over again as Dier opened Spurs’ scoring account for the second season running.
Harry Kane has picked the number 10 shirt after it was taken from Adebayor – dear god, still haven’t fully binned him off yet – but after a couple of balls from him maybe he should have gone for the number 8.
The first was a glorious ball over the Stoke defence onto the advancing Mason – going forward you see, to add to some of his earlier blocks in the Spurs’ box. The lad took the ball down well and it wasn’t an easy chance and he was lucky not to have scored, stopped by the ‘keeper’s foot.
Minutes before Stoke had nearly scored when Diouf headed straight at Hugo, this would have been a double blow for the visitors, could have been a triple as not long after Spurs did add to their lead.
Again Kane playing the type of ball he wants to be on the end of but doesn’t seem to be, to the advancing Davies, who nodded on and then put in a first time cross from the byline right onto Chadli’s foot – turned the lace away – a slight deflection and it was two nothing.
Two trips to the byline and two goals.
Things probably changed in a fifteen minute period in the second half, revolving around Kane. First after about 51 minutes, Kane was gifted an excellent opportunity to open his account for the season by a lovely chip from Chadli but the ‘keeper was having one of those days and saved it.
Quarter of an hour later and Kane was departing, tired with a slight strain – showers later – to be replaced by someone who isn’t a striker and leaving the team with nobody to hold the ball up in the Stoke half. So nobody did and the ball kept coming back and Stoke’s pressure kept building.
Five minutes later things were exacerbated when the team hindrance came off the bench to do nothing. It’s no coincidence that this season the goal difference with Bentaleb is minus three and plus two without him. He doesn’t defend and he doesn’t contribute going forward.
Stoke’s goal was coming and while Spurs’ substitutions made things worse for the home team the visitors made them better. Ireland in particular and when Diouf got his head on Ireland’s cross they nearly got one back but like the first half effort he made to much contact on the ball. He would make less later.
Much like the beginning of last season with the first scorer being Dier a new boy would give away a penalty after an impressive start. It was Dier last time round against Liverpool, in Spurs’ third game, it was Alderweireld here. Again like last to quick to manhandle someone in the area.
This gave them the foot in the door and the best Spurs could hope for now was a grim hanging on for 15 minutes.
It barely lasted 5 when Ireland’s cross was slightly met by Diouf this time to see the ball go past Lloris and square it all up. At that point there was only one winner and Ireland nearly provided that but Spurs luckily did manage to hang on for the draw.
The kids did alright, the kids that started, it’s just the kids that replaced the kids that weren’t and with Levy’s transfer policy of seemingly being as surprised at the transfer window being opened as Kyle Walker looks and as panicky as a Spurs defence with 10 minutes to go and a one goal lead what chances of it getting any better?
Small mercies I suppose, they lost twice to Mark Hughes’ Stoke last season.