Strange days at Spurs

Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Manchester City - Premier League -October 29th, 2018

it’s enough to make you moody.

Pochettino’s pre-match press conference saw a different Pochettino, a downbeat Pochettino, that seemed to set the mood for a downbeat clash against Man City.

Pochettino was right when he said it’s been a strange season, with everything that’s gone on it’s felt like he said, the worst of his time as Spurs so far, yet here they were with the best points haul after nine games since 1963, with a victory against title favourites, City, would have seen Spurs leapfrog them into third spot, with City in fifth.

Six minutes in that was all irrelevant.

A hump up the park, Trippier misses the header, Sterling does that run of his into the box, beats Trippier again and cross for Mahrez to score the only goal of the game. Trippier getting all of the blame, but the centre-backs were missing in action.

But then people were going on about Sissoko being Spurs’ best player on the pitch.

With all the talk about the state of the pitch after three NFL games, the latest being the previous day, along with the Anthony Joshua fight, it was a bit of a leveller. Like the old days when big sides used to travel smaller teams in the cup and play on a ploughed field. The pitch made a few first touches look Sissokoesque.

It may explain why later on when faced with an open goal from about two yards out David Silva chose to pass sideways to Sterling, rather than score the tap in. Sterling didn’t score because he can’t kick it with his left foot.

But Sissoko was apparently great because he ran around a bit, a decade on from the newly installed Redknapp telling Pavlyuchenko to “fackin’ run arahnd a bit”, people are still glorying in it. Running up the park the ball never being in control, bouncing off feet and knees, it was all summed up when he got into a great position after a run and the commentator asked “Can he pick the right ball here?”. Surely even the most ardent Sissoko fanboy knew the answer here. It was a ball somewhat similar to his pass back to Trippier that went out for a corner. His best moment of the game was doing Sterling. Studs down the back of the Achilles. Of course any other Spurs player and it would have been a straight red and a suspension. Not Sissoko. But then the ref probably figured that Sissoko didn’t mean it, not because he’s “not that type of player” but because he has absolutely no control over his feet.

Nobody was really shining, on both side, which made Sissoko just look not as bad as usual, the slapstick routine was still there though. Moura and Lamela were trying to hard to do it all themselves, running into cul-de-sacs – poor dive from Moura as well. Harry wasn’t getting much service, again, leading to long range shots, one which went quite close, and a bit of dropping deep and wide. His hold up play was still good. He had two decent chances, the first chance saw him Sissoko his first touch, allowing the keeper to come out for the ball. The second chance, never got a chance to play out as the lino, incorrectly, flagged for offside. Mendy was playing him on and he was through.

Spurs were playing like England, while City got the ball forward quickly, Spurs were fannying about at the back, it wasn’t the pitches fault. But the real annoying thing about it all was that City were there to be beaten. They created chances but they weren’t that good on the night. Certainly not at their best and when you come across them in this state you have to take advantage. But Spurs don’t seem to be able to take advantage of any weaknesses in the opposition these days.

The game went when Lamela shot over the bar late on. Good harrying from Moura saw Dele nick the ball and then play the perfect ball for Lamela inside the box. There was bobbles but how many times do you see the ball ballooned over the bar like this? It happens numerous times a game, even when the pitch is a billiard table. Spurs weren’t going to take any chance they were given and they were few and far between.

The only decent thing all night was seeing Dele and Eriksen back on the pitch but why did Poch have to leave it so late before bringing them on? 74th and 81st minutes. They were needed earlier. They’re needed desperately. Dele’s new contract extension is great news but with Spurs you automatically think it’s been put out there because there’s bad news coming up.

A four and half years ago I posted after Spurs under Sherwood had, again, beaten Southampton, under Pochettino, that it wouldn’t do Pochettino’s prospects of getting the job he currently holds any good. What will this do for the prospect of him being the new Real Madrid boss…

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