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Alderweireld and Skipp

5:30 pm

A Couple Of Points From The Chelsea Game


What did you takeout of last nights game?

A couple of things stood out.

A few years back I wrote about the importance of having a right-footed and left-footed combination at centre-back. Toby Alderweireld showed the problem of a right-footed centre-back playing on the left in our system when the opposition press high.

His long-ball passing with his left-foot isn't a patch on his right foot and he just kept giving the ball back to Chelsea. Paulo Gazziniga didn't help him, chipping the ball over players and trapping him in the corner.

The sooner Jan Vertonghen returns the batter, we miss him and his delivery there. Foyth and Sanchez, you'll note, have both been played on the right, being right-footed and it is the experienced Alderweireld who has had to move out of his best position, not ideal.

With stories that Manchester United hierarchy didn't want Alderweireld and thought he couldn't play in a two, strange given he and Vertonghen had created what was generally regarded as the best centre-back pairing in the Premier League.

Will they, therefore, renew interest under a new manager and will Alderweireld have a change of heart and sign the new contract that is on the table?

The Argentinian stopper, born in the same town as Pochettino, needs to learn to look beyond the first pass. The object is to assess your options and the options of the player receiving the ball if you can and play the best pass for the team to develop an attack.

We used to play too many passes that just gave the responsibility to another player and we have remedied that to a great extent, but not eradicated it.

Couple that with not kicking the ball hard enough to a teammate when at the back and we still make life difficult for ourselves sometimes when sides press us.

Overall though, Chelsea had no striker and we coped with their threat well, although we hung on at times. We'll have to play better at their place and not let them dominate the game so.


The other thing that struck me was the faith that Pochettino showed in young 18-year-old (19 in September) midfielder Oliver Skipp. We were holding on for a 1-0 win and Pochettino was happy to give him responsibility in the middle of the park, an important role cutting out passes into the centre-back area.

He once again did his job well and made a great tackle on Hazard to put the ball out for a corner. Skipp is being brought along just as Harry Winks was brought along. These cameos put pressure on him and certainly a Cup semi-final when your side is hanging onto a lead is pressure.

The more experience he gets the better he will become obviously. Those suggesting he is not ready don't know what they are talking about quite frankly, cheque book fans.

Winks himself reminds me a lot of Steve Perryman, a stalwart and a Tottenham great from the 70's and 80's.

If Winks plays over 655 games for us I'll be delighted and he and Skipp could, in time, be our central midfield pairing, we'll see.

Alderweireld and Skipp Alderweireld and Skipp Reviewed by THBlogNews on 5:30 pm Rating: 5
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