After a summer of zero signings, the majority of Tottenham fans (myself included) were agitated with the club and their ambitions for the season. With the recent setback of the stadium, it would usually imbed a sour taste around a football club.
But the man at the helm of our club, Mauricio Pochettino kept calm as always, handled the questions at press conferences and has now delivered two wins out of two in the Premier League. Last week’s win over Newcastle was a hard-fought victory, in the end a relieving 3 points. Going to Wembley today after last week’s victory and the events with the stadium throughout the week, I was unsure of what the atmosphere and general feeling around the fixture would be. 2pm comes and the team news shocks us all, Toby Alderwiereld is back in the starting eleven and we revert back to three centre-backs. This has been a wish of many fans since the turn of the year, but with the ongoing speculation regarding Alderwiereld’s future at the club it became the norm to see Jan and Davinson at the back on their own. I guess Poch was truthful in his statement at his press conference about every player starting from 0 again which was further enforced with his post-match comment, “The players that are here, are committed”. But, the formation. 5 at the back, allowing the two full backs to push on and the hope of seeing Kieran Trippier reciprocate World Cup form.
A home London derby against newly promoted Fulham is a win that fans expect, with no disrespect to Fulham. We started with a high-tempo, with Dele Alli being much at the centre of all good things. It took a Lucas Moura pearler to open the scoring to lead 1-0 at half time. The second half is where it got interesting for me. Fulham grew into the game, eventually getting their equaliser through Mitrovic. At this point, everybody groans thinking is it going to be one of those games where we regret missed chances and opportunities. However, credit must be given to Pochettino for noticing the change and flow in the game, therefore making the change in formation and personnel. There have been many occasions where I felt myself that Poch’s in game management and substitutions were not affective for that game. The first change saw a revert back to the 4 defenders, with Sanchez being replaced by Dembele. This allowed us to gain back control of the ball and start to dictate the play. Shortly after, Erik Lamela replaced Eric Dier to apply more pressure on the Fulham back line. I thought Lucas did a good job all game, continuously working hard to get the ball back and Lamela is the epitome of this, which began to lead to many turnovers of the ball for us. Eventually a Kieran Trippier superb free kick put us 2-1 ahead and the nerves settled. A brilliant solo run from Lamela lead to the third and Harry’s August drought being put to bed and in the end, a comfortable 3 points. To top off a good win, we saw the return of Harry Winks also, someone I think we missed a lot in the second half of the season.
With no signings I think we began to forget as fans the players who haven’t been at our disposal. No, this isn’t a scapegoat comment or saying that returning injured players will be like new signings, but our squad has a lot to offer this season, particularly with the main who we all trust and love being the forefront of this. A fit Lamela, Winks, Wanyama and returning Son in September starts to ask questions of what our best 11 could be with everyone fit and firing. As fans, we have to back the team just like we did today at Wembley and trust that man Pochettino, he knows what he is doing. When he has those players fit and available to change formations, it allows us to be more creative and ask a few different questions of the opponents. Manchester United away next for us, and I would love for us to go there and make a statement. COYS.
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