Monday, 20 October 2014

Apparently Spurs are watching a player who isn't even playing!

The Daily Mirror have published a story that is you do a little digging is almost certainly complete fabrication.

Apparently Spurs are watching a player who isn't even playing!


-'Hugo Lloris is the club's first choice keeper but the Frenchman wants to play in the Champions League and could consider a move away'- they begin which is fair enough, they are setting their story.

Then they tell us the story is in fact from the Sunday People so clearly they haven't bothered to check any of it.

They tell us Tottenham scouts have been watching £9 million-rated Toulouse keeper Ali Ahamada. You'll recall the story from last week where I relayed the news we had scouts watching Wissam Ben Yedder, the Toulouse forward, who incidentally played yesterday.

So what are the holes in this story, well suspicions are raised over the fee first of all so first port of call is transfermarkt to get their version only to find there is quite a significant difference, his value there is just £1.76 million. That's a large discrepancy, especially for a goalkeeper when you consider the price we paid for one of the worlds best, Hugo Lloris.

This guy would have to be one hell of a keeper so how has he been performing? Well that's just the thing, he has only played 1 game on the 23rd August, a 2-1 win against SC Bastia. He has been sat on the bench 5 times and not in the squad 3 times, how exactly are we watching him?

You would think someone would actually check a player we are supposed to be watching is actually playing if you are going to invent a story the other papers don't have, I wonder why they don't have it!



Sunday, 19 October 2014

Waddle feels Spurs are not improving

Former Spurs great Chris Waddle, now a pundit is very honest in his views. Unlike some pundits who faun over their clubs like a love struck teenager unable to see or admit anything is amiss, Waddle will say what he sees.

He disagrees with Jamie Carragher. The Liverpool centre-back, now Sky TV pundit, feels Erik Lamela will not turn round his Tottenham career, Chris Waddle disagrees suggesting he is going to need this season before he comes good next season, if he is going to come good at all.

The Spurs fans has been weaned on names and the amount spent rather than the actual ability of a player, bargains are not well received by supporters, even if at this time of stadium building every penny counts.

Splashing the cash on a group of players, 7, to take the club forward over the next few years we have suddenly found they are incapable of doing so and have in fact taken us backwards. A new coach has been asked to get the best out of them and to add pieces into the jigsaw to complete it.

This summer we brought in 6 new players, that's 13 in total, quite a turnaround. The 6 we have brought in and all budget buys Pochettino will hope to develop and add the right mentality to the side. We have the show players with skill in Eriksen and Lamela but we need the grafters to go with them, the unsung heroes who do all the dirty work. Mason and Stambouli fit the mould, I'd suggest an upgrade for Capoue is needed also.

Which elements do you fix to get the other under performing elements performing, that's the key to Tottenham now. Waddle sees the players brought in as similar to what we already have.

"I think he's got a lot of players very similar to what was already there, there are a lot of players who can play the same role. 
“I don't think they've had a good pairing at centre-half since Ledley King played. 
“Every game I watch Tottenham play, [Hugo] Lloris seems to be called into action every two or three minutes, so there's got to be a problem if you're goalkeeper makes too many saves.”

The problem against Manchester City is midfield are not offering the protection to the defence, there are too many who don't know what to do in a pressure situation. Every game we are also being caught with a simple ball over the top straight down the middle.

You would expect to see some improvement but 1 win in 6 games is hardly that, we have only won one Premier League game since we beat a woeful QPR. The saving grace is that we have one game against Liverpool, Arsenal and Manchester City out the way.

Build from the back as the saying goes, we haven't sorted the back out yet, we're in make do mode and need to turn some of the midfielders and attacking players into a better unit than we are seeing now.



Without rose tinted specs you can see Carragher is right

Fans are notoriously blind when it comes to their own club and own players, not just Tottenham fans but all fans. They tend to overrate and over value their own players or go to the other extreme and label them absolute rubbish and under value them.

Fans live in a hopeful world at time rather than a real world unable to see what the neutral sees or agree with neutral assessment. Regular readers of this blog will know the mental side of sport is he be all and end all of success. Success is determined by the decisions you make, skill is merely the application of a decision. Two people wit the same skill will perform at different standards simply because of their mental approach.

Paulinho is a case in point. He has ability, of that there is no doubt, but ability is not enough, what he doesn't have, as we have seen, is the right mental attitude when he is out of his comfort zone. He doesn't even look like a £7 million player now let alone a £17 million one. I pointed it out at the time but his remark last year about being too lazy to learn English sparked alarm bells.

If you are too lazy in one aspect of your character then that laziness will emerge in other areas. His midweek performances have been woeful, he looks totally disinterested and a million miles from being a Premier League player, he looks a waste of money. He'll flourish elsewhere where he can be in his comfort zone but that mental weakness is not what we require in a player.

Jamie Carragher, as has been well documented feels Paulinho, Lamela and Soldado are destined to be flops in the Premier League.

“Of all the players who arrived during that £100m spree, only Christian Eriksen looked good. But with Roberto Soldado, Paulinho and Erik Lamela you can never see it turning, irrespective of Spurs paying a fortune to sign them. They are not the first and won't be the last."

Taking rose tinted specs off it's hard to disagree. Lamela shows a flash a game and does little else, he gave a goal away against Arsenal, two against Man City for instance. I do think, although the club did everything they do for players and apparently they do a lot, he should have been given a buddy off the field, someone employed to help him settle into and find a South American community.

Mentally he gave up last season and then injuries compounded his mental state. This season it was vital he performed in pre-season and scored goals in pre-season to boost his confidence. He has had a few assists, his dribble against Man City before he passes to Soldado who slotted a ball for Mason when the score was 0-0 was an example of what he can do.

However you have to do things in an area that hurt the opposition. He plays a pass from which we score, that at the moment is keeping him in the team because he offers little else at the moment. He isn't worth £30 million, the Premier League is not the weaker, slower Italian league, he should be adjusting quicker. In an open game with space and room to attack City how many shots did he have, what did he do?

He doesn't put in performances over 90 minutes that are any better than a host of other players in his position at a fraction of the cost. Manchester City was the first game Pochettino has taken him off, until then he has always left him on even when he didn't deserve it.

I'll be watching the situation closely to see what Pochettino does with him next because he is a worry.

Soldado seems to create more than he scores, his shot falling with his left foot that Hart saved with his legs suggests his confidence is not shot, again it suggested a quality striker is there. He made runs and didn't receive the ball, an assist, the pass for Mason should have been another but then he misses his first penalty when even I knew where it was going. Right footers have a default setting to the keepers right and when the pressure is on they invariably revert to their default.

You want him to turn it around and succeed, it would take a run of goals but it's hope rather than expectation. Decry Carragher's words but he is just being honest and saying it how most people see it. If these three were at other clubs we would be labelling them flops.



Our play is twofold

Our play at the moment basically can be broken down into two areas, one counter attack football and two breaking play high up the pitch to attack quickly.

Defensively we are not strong enough at the moment but we are set up to defend and then counter attack, however we have no pace in the side. Our counter attacks have to therefore be through speed of movement of the ball, the passing has to be fast and accurate. It is that skill that we are struggling with in midfield and why Mason has been brought in.

Capoue is one paced and is a better box-to-box midfielder than he is an out-and-out defensive midfielder, the role we are using him in at the moment. Our midfield passing broke down on too many occasions, we were certainly more direct than usual so that's a positive but the passes were just too hard, just to far ahead, just unable to be taken in stride, it was all just off.

When we have the opportunity, and you have to pick your moments, then we high press and swiftly attack from deep inside the opposition half. Our goal was a case in point. Mason saw an opportunity and robbed the City guy, we suddenly had three on two, again thanks to Mason's intelligent run to Soldado's left ensuring the defenders couldn't move across to cover Eriksen.

His role went unseen, it was more than just a tackle and that shows a player worth persevering with, mentally there is something there to go with the skill.

With both Eriksen and Lamela in the side the midfield looks lightweight, skillful but lightweight. There were players passing ball to a team mate who was in no better position they they were, passing responsibility on to them.

There was an incident approximately 10 seconds before 32 minutes when we had 4 men go for the same ball which the City man flicked forward over their heads, all 4 were now out the game playing catch-up. That's a lack of clear head thinking, it's panic thinking and panic thinking is no good when you need to pass the ball at speed.

This is where you separate the men from the boys, players with equal talent can be on different planes simply through mentality, not enough of ours are mentally good enough to play the way we want to the level we want.

Our high press can be effective, we have seen it but have we seen the quick attack from the back through passing lead to a goals yet? We get a point where we seem to want to lay a Hollywood ball, that gets cut out or are slow in moving the ball, we are incredibly slow moving the ball wide for overlapping full-backs.

I look forward to getting a look at Stambouli in midfield alongside Mason but we need competition for the central midfield attacking role, which presumably means competition for a wide berth thus having Lamela and Eriksen fight over the same berth.



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