Well we should be grateful for small mercies as the usual slow start to Spurs season with a first game loss was avoided with the one all draw away to Everton.
Spurs always seem to be away for the first game of the league season and it feels like for the most part they lose. For an hour of this game things looked like they were going to that plan.
A number of seasons you look at the opening few fixtures and figure, you now a flying start here could be done quite easily. This time around it looked that way for August and September. Everton was away but new manager, lost some players, some maybe unsettled, weren’t too good last term, could be good. Then a couple of home games and then Stoke, promoted Boro and relegation fodder Sunderland. You know, it looks good.
But it never works out the way you plan.
It certainly didn’t go to plan for most of that opening hour as Spurs toiled to do anything with the ball. With new boy Wanyama sat alongside old boy Dier there was a lot of ball winning but very little creating. Kane isolated like he was playing for England, though without the corner taking duties and Everton’s back three formation stifling any creativeness from Eriksen and Lamela. While Dele didn’t resemble Alli.
Another who didn’t resemble his old self was Barkley. He looks to have slimmed down quite a bit over the summer. Though I doubt this had any effect on his free kick which opened the scoring. No, perhaps defenders doing their usual playing the man and not the ball was more the reason it went straight in from Barkley’s set piece. Some blaming Hugo, as per usual, but how many ‘keepers do you see save those. While at the same time how many defenders do you see too busy wrestling with their opposite number.
Well the Hugo haters will be glad when he went off half an hour later. Though they were replaced by the Vorm haters. Well Vorm did OK, especially with one save after Rose’s inept back pass – yup Rose-hating.
Of all the positions that needed new players, yes Spurs needed another striker and an ideal second defensive midfielder as cover for Dier but they are still screaming out for a pair of real quality fullbacks.
Walker did one thing of course and they go overboard over it. for once he didn’t actually dither long enough to get closed down and actually got the ball into the box. To go with that big change was the one of four Spurs player getting into the box. That cross found Lamela and he found the far corner with an excellent header to level the score.
Things had changed slightly before with Pochettino’s introduction of the other new boy Janssen. His presence helping create more space for others like Kane. The other factor was Koeman’s comment about his team only being at 70% and they did drop off, especially after that goal.
Janssen could have made things better with his first competitive goal but for a stunning save from Stekelenburg. And in the end the new Everton ‘keeper was the difference between probably a deserved draw and a Spurs victory. A ‘keeper saving the day, nothing changes does it?
Still a draw is better than a loss.
So what does Poch do now, go with both his strikers or revert back to the isolated lone man up front.
Wanyama did well but was more reckless than Dier and the latter was unlucky to be the one that made way for the formation change. Dier made some excellent challenges. But Palace at home next are two sitters required? Janssen and Kane up front with Dier and Alli in the middle sounds good.