Post-Match Thoughts: Tottenham Hotspur

Spurs consigned Huddersfield Town to their first home defeat of the season as Mauricio Pocchetino’s side brought Town back down to earth with a bump after a comprehensive 4-0 victory.

In this piece, I give my post-match thoughts and run through some of the major talking points.

Players in focus

Laurent Depoitre – Taking his chance

When Laurent Depoitre was signed from FC Porto, he was scoffed at by casual Premier League fans after a disappointing season in Portugal.

However, David Wagner saw something in the Belgian powerhouse and it appeared to be a shrewd bit of business when he was purchased for just £3.5 million.

Having waited patiently for his opportunity, one which came in the form of an injury picked up by Town’s record signing Steve Mounié, he has more than taken his chance.

The Belgian striker impressed in his last home match against Leicester City and he impressed once again against Tottenham Hotspur.

At times, the target man was very isolated but he was a constant nuisance and his long-range strike which smashed against the crossbar would’ve given him a goal to reflect another superb performance.

Having looked a constant threat against a high quality Spurs defence, even if Steve Mounié is fit for the trip to Swansea, I think Depoitre has shown enough to cement his place in the starting line-up.

Scott Malone – Making the case

Another player who has been patiently waiting for his opportunity is Scott Malone who has mainly been used off the substitute bench.

It was also going to be a difficult task for Malone to usurp Chris Löwe who was one of Town’s most impressive and consistent performers during Town’s promotion campaign.

However, this season, Chris Löwe has found the transition from the Championship to the Premier League difficult and against Spurs, he struggled once again.

It is true that Spurs took their foot off the gas in the second half but even so, Scott Malone was a bright spark as he offered a physicality and an athletic dynamism which saw him become a driving force on the left hand side.

Having already made a number of impressive cameos, he made his case once again for him to have a start in the Premier League.

If he does get given the opportunity against Swansea City, it won’t only be a reward for Scott Malone who deserves the chance but it will also provide Chris Löwe with a much needed rest.

Lessons Learned

Facing the unforgiving nature of the league

Even though Town were two nil down after only sixteen minutes, I personally thought that Town had performed pretty well in the opening exchanges.

Some will say that Town were naïve for being so bold as they looked to take the game and play on the front foot despite the quality and level of the opposition. This inevitably left gaps between the lines and the spaces in behind which Spurs exploited so brutally.

However, even with this open expansive approach, it was uncharacteristic individual mistakes which led to the first two goals and ultimately Town’s downfall in the first half.

A sliced clearance from Jonas Lossl and a missed header by Chris Lowe allowed Harry Kane in and the 24-year-old striker was never going to miss when in that one-on-one situation.

There was some luck involved in Spurs’ second goal as the ball was deflected into the path of Ben Davies. However, Town’s defensive shape never seemed set against Spurs’ fluent one touch passing which carved Town apart with ease.

What Town experienced in the first passage of the game was the unforgiving nature of the league and a demonstration of the disparity between the top six sides in the Premier League and everyone else.

Perspective is needed

Speaking of the disparity between the top six and the rest of the Premier League, I think perspective is needed when putting this result into context.

Whilst a heavy 4-0 defeat is disappointing especially at home, Town were facing a side that had won thirteen consecutive matches against newly-promoted sides.

They were also facing a striker in Harry Kane who is in the form of his life with eleven goals in five Premier League away games and twenty goals in sixteen league appearances prior to yesterday’s game.

There will be some hyberbolic reactions both by fellow Town fans and by outsiders to this defeat but Town are going to lose games this season and in this manner if David Wagner sticks ardently to his philosophy. That is the nature of the Premier League.

It is not these games that will determine’s Town fate. If anything, the challenge for David Wagner is making sure that his squad does not become disheartened by defeats of this nature.

Ultimately, Spurs will turn over half the league in this fashion so I won’t be reading too much into result and I can’t imagine David Wagner will either.

Changes to expect

Having said that, after the disappointing defeat to West Ham United, David Wagner made a number of changes for the following fixture against Leicester City and there was a positive reaction.

Despite the international break now being upon us, I could see David Wagner making some changes for the trip to the Liberty Stadium as he looks for another positive reaction.

One player who has seemingly struggled in recent weeks is Chris Lowe and with Scott Malone continually impressing off the bench, he must be nearing a start for Town in the Premier League.

Another player who could come back into the fold is Abdelhamid Sabiri. The young Moroccan playmaker didn’t feature against Spurs but he could come back in which would allow Ince to return to the wing where he looks most comfortable and threatening.

The final change that I could happen is the reintroduction of Philip Billing, he like Malone impressed off the bench against Spurs and alongside Aaron Mooy, Town have had their most success so far this season. If we are to provide a sustained goal threat, one option might be to consider Phil Billing in the no 10 role and play a fully-fit Danny Williams and Aaron Mooy all in the same midfield.

Even though we shouldn’t read too much into the Spurs result and performance, I do expect some changes for the trip to Swansea.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *