The recent criticism of the form of Tottenham Hotspurs is certainly an element of surprise when you consider that they remain the only unbeaten side still left in the Premier League despite drawing the same number of games than they have won. The one nil defeat at Wembley against Bayer Leverkusen was perhaps a throwback to a Tottenham team not managed by Mauricio Pochettino but this is not a reason to throw the magnitude of criticism at this team as they have been getting. When this team without the injured Harry Kane beat Manchester City 2 nil at the beginning of October, we all believed that Tottenham would be right up there when talking about potential Premier League winners. So where is it going wrong right now for Pochettino and his men?
Well for one they are missing two of perhaps there key outfield men currently and despite having strength in depth, when you take such key players like Toby Alderweireld and Harry Kane out of a team, obviously it will be harder to maintain the usual high standards. Alderweireld is among the best central defenders in perhaps the whole of Europe right now, so having that reliability alongside compatriot Jan Vertonghen is obviously going to have an effect on the team. Eric Dier has been deputising in the absence of Alderweireld alongside Vertonghen and despite being very capable of playing in this position, it is easy to see that Dier is best when he is at the heart of the midfield. Austrian international Kevin Wimmer would have to be considered to be very unlucky not to be in the starting eleven considering how impressive he looked at the heart of the defence last season.
Despite starting the season rather below par Eric Dier needs to get back into the role in front of his central defenders and allowing protection across the final third of the Tottenham defensive line. New signing Victor Wanyama does not have the same presence as Dier has in this role, his inability to allow the Tottenham full backs who provide the team with width, is proving a massive problem for Tottenham right now and when in possession of the ball Wanyama does not have the same ability Dier has to play forward passes. A change either in role of Wanyama in the heart of the midfield or simply taking him out of the starting eleven might just be the answer for Pochettino’s team. Re-uniting Dier with Moussa Dembele in the central position for Spurs I believe would give them a real platform to build upon again. The big money signing of French international Moussa Sissoko, hasn’t quite worked out yet for Tottenham, although he showed signs during the defeat to Leverkusen that he is ready to make a real impact for this Tottenham side. The importance of Eric Lamela to this Tottenham side is currently being showcased during the last few games where he has been side-lined with injury, his creativity and ability of moving inside was vital last season for this Tottenham team. The biggest disappointment currently is the form of Danish international Christian Eriksen, and this gives Pochettino a big decision to make for the next run of fixtures. Eriksen perhaps did not get the recognition he deserved last season with the emergence of Dele Alli, but so far this season his performances have been severely underwhelming. He has looked very out of touch starting out on that left hand side in the Tottenham attack, and even when Pochettino moves him into the number 10 role Eriksen is making very little impact. The form of Son Heung-min has been the biggest plus in attack at this stage of the season, but the importance of Harry Kane to this team has never been so evident.
The early season form of Harry Kane before his injury, yet again grabbed the headlines with the media with his lack of goals, but even when Kane doesn’t score he brings so much to this team. The link between Kane and Alli last season brought rave reviews from all across Europe, and this is proving a big problem with Tottenham right now. Alli has still been playing well and has an impact on games, but he does not have a central striker to really play his game of. The movement of Kane to drop into wide areas or further back from the centre forward position allows Dele Alli to move further up the pitch, since Kane’s injury in attack Tottenham have looked lacklustre and not getting Alli into these key areas around the box I believe is playing a role. Obviously with the finishing ability Harry Kane has when he is fit and does return, which hopefully could be Sunday for the North London derby, the goals will certainly return for Tottenham. Pochettino needs to have his central positions at their strongest again, Kane and Alli………Dier and Dembele………Alderweireld and Vertonghen.
The return of Harry Kane will be a massive lift for everyone at the club but certainly for the rest of the Tottenham attack, Eriksen will come back into form no doubt with Kane’s return, Lamela when he comes back in will look sharp with his movements off Harry Kane and Son Heung-min whether he starts from a wide area, will be able to keep his run of form together. No doubt the criticism of this Tottenham team of late has been over the top, I have a sneaky feeling they might upset the form table with a win against Arsenal and be able to propel themselves from there, especially with the return of key players.