What do a herd of buffalo, a Japanese bullet train, and Adama Traore all have in common? If they are bearing down on you, the best option is probably to just move out of the way and let them go by. Before we breakdown, the good, the bad, and the ugly of Spurs resolute yet underwhelming victory over Wolves, let’s first just take a moment to appreciate the phenomenon of a human specimen that is Adama Traore. From a pure entertainment standpoint, he has the ability to get supporters out of their seats literally every time he touches the ball. His combination of speed and strength is unmatched in world football and his ability to take on a man is one of the best in the game. I believe all Spurs supporters let out a collective sigh of relief when we saw that he would be starting on the lefthand side to battle the very physical Tanganga rather than taking on our wonderful little Spaniard on the right flank. The physical mismatch between Reguillon and Traore is quite literally like a grade school child taking on an NFL linebacker and I’m surprised that Wolverhampton didn’t try to exploit this. Unfortunately, while Traore was blessed with many things, his ability to finish makes Sissoko look like Harry Kane and the best way to defend him is just to let him shoot. If he ever finds a way to finish or Wolves find a way to shape their team to his strengths, they’ve got a lethal weapon on their hands.
There are many things to be proud of from today’s performance, one of which was another clean sheet on the books. While mistakes were made and Lloris proved yet again that he’s still at the top of his game, our overall defense is already an upgrade from last season. We haven’t really had a reliable right-back with the ability to defend since the departure of Kyle Walker and the fact that we’ve grown another ‘one of our own‘ from the academy is tremendous. What Spanish Reggie lacks in defending abilities, he makes up for in pace and eagerness. To add to the positives, Sanchez & Dier actually look like they know how to complement each other in the backline. While we all know that probably won’t last and have high hopes that Cuti Romero could become Tottenham’s Mascherano, it’s refreshing to see two clean sheets in a row against formidable competition.
A Christian Eriksen Size Hole in the Midfield
One of the key elements to our improved defense is the shield we’ve put in front of them with Højbjerg and Skipp. We all know the prowess of our Danish Viking, it goes unsaid that with him in the team our entire ship is safer and more steady. His partner at the back of our midfield, however, did come as a bit of a surprise to start the season. Most of us probably expected Skippy to be more of an understudy to PEH, as the two have similar playstyles, but they work well together in shutting down the midfield. The only problem we have is that while we’re growing in our ability to dispossess opponents in the midfield, we’ve got no creative outlet to send the ball onto and have to completely rely on pacey counterattacks to cause a threat. Ever since the exit of our Danish midfield maestro, we’ve never really had that creative spark to link up our backline with our forwards. Dele’s evolved as a player to more of a workhorse with some tricks up his sleeve but lacks the vision and quick passing to fill this role. Lo Celso has had moments where he looks like he could be an advanced playmaker, but his consistency is all over the place and it’s still unclear what his best position really should be with Spurs. What’s even more frustrating is that we all know there’s a version of Ndombele that could fill this role. He’s got the Dembele abilities to draw in and beat defenders to open up space, with great vision to pick out a pass. However, his work ethic and desire to play for Spurs is his biggest problem. Unfortunately, it seems as though his days with us could be numbered, as it doesn’t do any good having an asset as expensive as Ndombele depreciating on the bench. While Kane proved last season he has the ability to drop back and be a creative force moving forward, we all know that’s not where he should be playing. We’re still in desperate need of a Christian Eriksen replacement and ever since he departed our midfield feels empty and hollow, like Hogwarts without Harry Potter.
A Korean, Brazilian, and Dutch Counter Attacking Alliance
With Kane’s future still unclear our attack consists of three pacey forwards from three separate continents. With Sonny taking on the attacking talisman role up top, he’s reliant on connecting with Stevie and Lucas to form quick, bursting counter-attacks moving forward. While at times exciting, like a pack of ferocious Cheetahs bearing down on unsuspecting antelope, we need more options moving forward as relying solely on counterattacking can quickly get found out, as seen during our time under Mourinho. Dele’s role in all this is a bit difficult to pin down. It’s like he’s a hyena who’s hunting with a pack of cheetahs, not quite quick enough to participate in the counters, but adds a tough, dogged workhorse role with a touch of creative flair. Until we know where Kane’s future lies it’s going to be tough for Nuno and all of our attacking players to know what the system will be moving forward.
Back in a Wholesome Relationship
In addition to a great start to the season, one of the biggest positives is that our relationship with the manager seems right again. Pochettino will always be the one that got away, he taught us how to fall in love, and while the relationship had some troubles, we still miss him nearly every day. We dumped him for a fling with a porn star and now he’s found a new relationship with someone better. While we regret what’s happened and it’s taken us considerable time to enter a new relationship after losing the love of our life and being defiled by a seductress, with Nuno it feels good again. Perhaps we’re damaged goods from the whole experience as both Nuno and the club know they weren’t each other’s first choice in getting together, but he says the right things, makes us feel pretty, and we’re excited again about what the future could hold.