There has been one common theme amongst the topics of main conversation amongst Tottenham Hotspur fans and even the wider media really as we come towards the end of the November section of the 2018/19 Premier League season.
Fatigue, tiredness, a lack of freshness (or however you want to phrase it) and the impact that this has had on our performance levels as most I think would agree we are doing just enough to secure victories this year (winning ugly if you will) as opposed to the more free-flowing and energetic displays we had become accustomed to used manager Mauricio Pochettino.
Launching the Match Thread for this weekend’s clash with Chelsea, I happened to comment on Pochettino’s ‘usual tinkering’ given we always see one or two changes to each starting line up.
I’d not really thought much about the ‘tinkering’ outside of sometimes it was obviously forced to be honest, and then sometimes just Poch trying to keep people fresh for particular games depending on how the schedule fell.
Hot Tottingham put a little bit more thought into it and I find myself agreeing.
Looking at your last sentence about “Pochettino’s usual tinkering”, it got me thinking again about our injuries and disruptions to our team this season. And I think that we are doing rather well when we look at all the changes from match to match and just over the course of 12 matches. And, more out of necessity than choice.
Looking at the squad but specifically at the players that most supporters would probably prefer and/or expect to see as regular 1st team starters in the PL, here are 5 of them. And let’s see how many of the 12 PL matches they have all started in:
Hugo Lloris, 8 starts.
Jan Vertonghen, 7 starts.
Danny Rose, 5 starts.
Christian Eriksen, 6 starts.
Mousa Dembele, 7 starts.
Now 3 players that we would also have looked to as regular starters and options from recent seasons:
Son, 3 starts.
Lamela, 4 starts
Wanyama, 1 start.
Only 2 players have started in all 12 PL matches. (TWO!). That is Harry Kane and Lucas Moura.
Harry’s appearances were, of course, to be expected as long as he was fit but, I doubt that Lucas’s number was to be foreseen. Toby and Kieran have started 11, which is also not a surprise. And, our good friend Sissoko has started in 6 PL matches, which I’m certain HAS surprised most Spurs fans. Many of whom would not have even wanted to see him on the bench.
There are only two players that have featured but have not started any games. That is Llorente and Amos, both used as subs for next to no minutes.
Is it any surprise that we have yet to see the team play at its most impressive best? Is it not surprising that we are doing so well?
Chelsea by contrast, have apparently only utilised 14 players as PL starters this season. Which begs the cheeky questions; “Why, with all of their great talent and financial resources, do they not rotate more often than they do?” And, “How is it that they are just one measly point and place above us, given such continuity, when compared to Spurs?”
Anyway, as long as we beat them (any ol’ how) and rise above them, who cares?
THFC 3-1 CFC!
Writer: Hot Tottingham
The point is extremely valid when looked at from a tinkering perspective. The consensus is don’t change a winning team and familiarity breeds success, but obviously not always.
Yes we can look at oppositions, and blocks of presumed easier to harder clashes in the season so far and even distances travelled in Europe, but bottom line – one point. The draws to losses and goal difference are all that divide us, but points rule at the end of the day and you can only beat the team in front of you.
We’ve done that one more time than they have. Come Sunday, let’s hope it’s two.