Spurs’ opener was heading like nothing had changed

HIGHLIGHTS: Tottenham 3-1 Aston Villa | Premier League | 10th August 2019

Everything you’ve seen in the past was on show as Spurs played the way that has infuriated many a supporter over the last few years. All the ball, nowt done with it bar sideways passing and being behind to one punt up the park.

It was as per usual all crammed into a small area around the opposition penalty area. It was all too crammed in there. No space. Lamela and Moura all huddled around Kane. It didn’t work at all to finish off any of the attacks. Everyone was up there so when one long punt went over the top from Villa their player was left with Danny Rose who committed himself and fell down and it was one nil down.

What chances did come were spurned. Moura had a decent opportunity but his header was weak and straight at Heaton in the Villa goal. Harry missed with a header that went over the bar from Ndombele’s excellent cross. He should have done better but was just being fouled in the act of heading. He missed another sitter shortly after but had been adjudged offside.

Nothing was working, especially the team and formation Pochettino had put out to start the game. Winks scampering forward and passing the ball sideways gets very tedious very quickly. It really does, he offers nothing of any consequence, it’s all just coward passes to stat pad and get rid of the burden. This nothing was added to by Sissoko being out on the right wing. No one wants to see that.

Sissoko started at Spurs out wide and was a disaster. He was a disaster here. Summed up as he took the ball down just wide of goal a few yards out and panicked his shot for a throw. As per usual Poch waited until the hour was up before thinking of making a change. It was the right one. Some moaned about Winks coming off but he was the one needing to be replaced. With it came a change in shape. Sissoko moved back to where we’ve seen his best, in the middle, alongside his new little brother Ndombele. Eriksen a little more forward and now Lamela and Moura staying that bit more away from Harry in the middle.

It worked. Helped by Eriksen looking bothered. Though as per usual his first set piece saw him hit the first defender from he did miss the wall though with a later free-kick. Its excellence was matched by Heaton’s save. That was my main worry earlier, that Villa have bought themselves a quality keeper. It wasn’t your usual donkey having a career day against Spurs. If they did get past the mass ranks of defenders there was good keeper to save the day.

Though the free-kick came after Spurs had equalised. It came from an Eriksen cross that Sanchez nearly scored from, finding its way out of the box Ndombele was there to side foot it round Heaton’s outstretched arm. I like the way he didn’t celebrate his first goal for the club but waved the players back to the halfway line to get on and win it.

I’d forgotten that Harry hadn’t scored at the new stadium, I thought he was going through another August phase. But he corrected that four minutes from the end. A cross in from Moura just found Grealish, the Villa player had been a tart all afternoon and was again as he dawdled and Lamela nicked the ball off him. His shot rebounded to Harry and he wasn’t gonna miss this one from 10 yards out.

Minutes later he got his brace, after we saw why Sissoko needs to be in the middle. The Frenchman chested down the ball and charged up the pitch before playing Harry in just outside the box, where Harry took a touch and curled it around Heaton, much like Ndombele and much like the way Harry has done to many a keeper.

Again much like last season Pochettino made a change, normally with a formation shift, that worked and turned a poor performance into a victory. Now if they could only just start in the right way, it could be a good season…

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