but did it really work?
Ange Postecoglu’s first real game in charge of Spurs saw some encouraging things, some bright new faces, but also the same old failures from the same old players, for their 2-2 draw with Brentford.
This was a game of two strikers, both of whom weren’t here, but if either were it would have more than likely have seen a winner and a lot more goals, than the four this game produced.
Angeball started encouragingly off well, the whole side was just that bit higher up the pitch than they were under Conte and probably the two that proceed him. They were pressing like we never saw under the Italian. They actually looked like they wanted to be here. Of course they were still doing that fannying about at the back, giving everyone palpitations, while just getting away with it.
Things got off to a good start, after Maddison was fouled just to the left of the Brentford box. The new signing from Leicester had already looked the part in the 10 minutes before whipping in, and I mean whipping in, the free kick that that basically hit Romero’s head for the opener.
The power of the free kick led to the goal but also the massive problem for Spurs that everyone knew would be coming, just maybe not this early. Having been involved in a clash of heads a little before the goal, Romero looked a bit dazed and confused in the goal celebration. It was then obvious it was going to be his last involvement in the game.
And here comes the thing that put dread into every Spurs fan. That they were just one injury away from Sanchez/Dier/Davies in the defence. And here it was a little over 10 minutes into the opening game of the season. Spurs now had a right side of defence composed of two clowns. Emerson and Sanchez.
The equaliser though came on the other side, though started from the Brentford left. And from a usual source. The dodgy penalty against. Cross over the park and a knock down, the Brentford player in the box turns and as Son – the new captain and no commentators Kane wasn’t the previous captain – leaves a trailing foot which catches the Brentford player’s foot. It was such a stonewall penalty that the ref, with a good view, waved it off and the Brentford player was confused about which of his feet to through in the air when he did his dying swan act. Of course the ref is told to have another look and then there’s only one outcome.
It wasn’t long until the lead was doubled. And the Chuckle Brothers on Spurs’ right were at the heart of it. People having a go at new boy Micky van de Ven for deflecting the final ball past new boy. But it starts with that pair. A long ball to the Brentford fullback, he skins Emerson, not for the first time nor indeed the last and crosses for the Brentford striker, who is all on his lonesome, to take his shot. He’s all alone because Sanchez just left him all on his own. dopey has one player to mark. He doesn’t.
But people cream themselves over Emerson because of what followed. Three minutes into the allotted 11 minutes added time at the end of the first half – that eventually became something like 13 minutes. Maddison is fouled on the edge of the area the ball falls to Emerson who lashes home the equaliser.
People ecstatic about Emerson, totally forgetting that if he’d defended earlier then the home team might not have had a lead to equalise.
Emerson’s position in scoring the goal was one of the major flaws in this Angeball. Your right fullback on the edge of the D to the left of the opposition box. It led to many of the problems in this game and if continued the problems that’ll blight the season.
For the second half it was all Spurs, they had three quarters of possession, but failings of old were joined by the failings of the new.
How often have we seen Spurs struggle against a flat back 10? Under Rednapp, under he that shall not be named – he’s fucking dead to me – Mourinho, Conte. It was the same here and it wasn’t helped by Angeball. With everyone high up the pitch they were all crammed in together, not helped by Emerson and the other new boy Destiny Udogie being inside. So we ended up with a line of Spurs players just passing the ball along the line sideways, back and forth.
But then you have Maddison dropping back and Kulusevski coming inside every time he got the ball. Too many people. The latter was particularly problematic. With Emerson inside joined by Kulusevski there was absolutely no width on the right side, in fact there was acres of grass for the Brentford fullback to exploit. Which he did but thankfully they didn’t have someone to finish it off more than once.
This isn’t going to work. Kulu looked better in preseason but was back to his lumbering, predictable, ball gifting worst of last season here. Which brought another problem we’ve seen with previous managers. Not making changes when it’s bleeding obvious changes are needed.
It was obvious from the first half but it took Postecoglu until the 75th minute to make a change. And then it was at one point going to be a right Conte sub, with Davies looking like he was coming on. In the end Sarr and Perisic replaced Skipp and Son. Skipp wasn’t working from the off, should have been replaced at the break or shortly after but with Lo Celso. Someone to play that cute ball through.
Anyone of the front three could have been replaced, if not all three. How Solomon stayed on the bench is beyond most. Sonny had the chances but didn’t seem decisive with his finishing. While Richarlison still looks shot. The only time his first touch wasn’t bad was when he missed the ball with his first touch. He’s not going to get the goals is he? While as stated Kulu just repeated himself time and time again, with the same result. Remember when he’d get to the byline and cut the ball back for an assist?
Things did work, that press was great to see. The new boys fitted in well and looked the part – Maddison demanding the ball and playing some nice stuff, that creator they’ve been screaming out for since… well Eriksen left, van der Ven and Udogie looking comfortable, while Vicario made some saves he will no doubt cause some palpitations. Bissouma controlled the second half and looked like they payer they bought, with a manager who is backing him by playing him. But the right half of the defence is asking for trouble as is the midfielder fullbacks, if the wide players are coming inside as well.
There’s promise but there’s still a lot of problems…
On the plus side at least we didn’t have all the hacks telling us Kane had won a trophy within hours of signing for Munich.