We've been here before
I'm going to outline some core footballing necessities and then we can all look back and laugh in around eight months time when none of them have come to fruition. I'm joking here with a little ye olde Spurs self-deprecation, a classic defence mechanism where comedy protects us all from the painful realisation that we do love to make our lives extremely difficult. If Tottenham was attempting to cross the road with no zebra crossing we'd blind fold ourselves first and then run with our backs facing the side we're attempting to reach.
I'm pretty much stating the obvious with these necessitates but considering the obvious has been staring right at us for so long and we've struggled to even acknowledge it, let's remind ourselves just how easy it really should be for us and the players we possess.
Last time I did this Andre Villas-Boas was in charge and all the things I wished for failed to materialise. Tim Sherwood offered no long term fixes but then he was only ever a short term solution. Mauricio Pochettino has inherited dysfunction and chaos but then that's how we perceive things. Hopefully he has more confidence than some of our fan-base. Although we have good reason for a degree of pessimism. It's an ever present reminder that festers in the underbelly of Tottenham, always letting us know that if things are looking up, they can come crashing down.
So what are these core necessities?
We have been weak at left-back for some time with Danny Rose not quite up to scratch, deputising for this fabled 'finished article' player we all long to own this important position. Rose is prone to mistakes (an under-statement) but we've written players off in the past and some might argue that coaching and developing might still see the young lad produce some form. Then again, discipline (a lack of it) can only get you so far. We need someone that defends and defends well as their main ability. We need that finished article player, or at the very least something akin to accomplished. Going forward and supporting the left-sided player is important but leaving holes at the back is infuriating.
This can work. With AVB we had players incapable of fulfilling this role because they were not fitted to play it. Instructing players to do so was the very epitome of stagnating, to the point of it being an art-form of motionless drama. Something is meant to happen but nothing is happening, and yet everyone watching is pulling their hair out.
Nothing stopping a 'winger' from taking the ball wide and crossing it in (if there is someone to aim for) but if they're going to cut in the basic dynamic of the midfield and how it shifts to compensate for the extra man means we have to avoid suffocation of space. It's been far too congested in the past and the inverted man would run into bodies leaving us with no shape and outlet.
A potentially talismanic player plagued with injury last season. He's young, he'll have acclimatised to England (if not the pace of the Premier League) and needs to be utilised much like he was at Roma. Wide, cutting in - pretty much the inverted role. Christian Eriksen is our creative hub, technically superb with threading in balls - but Lamela can be that something extra. That something out of nothing. Spurs lack game-changers. Lamela needs to ignite to give us any hope of a spark.
The same pragmatism has to be applied to the likes of Paulinho and others to get the best out of them, rather than ask them to awkwardly fill a position they are not capable of. Moussa Dembele also remains an conundrum, one that has yet to settle into a role that allows him to play with complete confidence and impact.
Supporting the forward line
Is Roberto Soldado the right man for the system? He was the wrong player for last season's system and ended up having to play a style that doesn't even suit him. If he's played as a target then we have to supply him with the type of balls he will demand. Pinged balls cut back in the area, crosses, dinks - the lot. Support is key. It's simple really. If it isn't Soldado and it's Emmanuel Adebayor, the same thing applies. Too much work in the deep or in the channels will be detrimental. It's hardly ruthless to have strikers doing most of their work outside of the box.
Tempo and goal scoring
Home games. Pivotal to the pressure that may or may not be applied by the blood thirsty supporters. Our pace has been tortoise slow early on in games. Pochettino, much like AVB, is from the same school of possession and pressing play but much like AVB he has to see his team turn percentages into goals. Nothing wrong in control as long as the objective is to use it to damage the opposition - out of sight. We've created an abundance of chances in the past season or two and haven't been clinical enough in front of goal.
Nothing earth-shattering, like I said, I'm stating the obvious. But if we improve into a more functional fluid side, a win here and a win there will make all the difference. Do the maths with the previous few seasons to see we've always been a few points short. Add to it the right framework of balance and structure (in terms of players in their best positions working a role that compliments others and the team as a unit) and we might fair better against the clubs we are perpetually chasing (some of which happen to spank us into another dimension last season thanks to our apologetic and fragile mindset and strategies).
The crux of all of this is - Pochettino has to make us fulfil our potential rather than we watch yet another season unravel with underachievement.
via Club Metro with a lot more padding and additional content