From Rhys Jaggar : Squad improvement, spending/not spending
It must be very galling for the professional media to have slagged Spurs off for eight months for having signed no-one, only for them to have a record EPL start, somehow reach UCL last sixteen and still be in the Carabao Cup.
In my view, rather like Liverpool this season, their swashbuckling best has not necessarily improved, but what has improved is squad utilisation, game management and possibly also the rub of the green.
For a useless squad, Pochettino shows the lesser lights a degree of trust the media thinks unwarranted. 19 players have started four or more EPL fixtures. Two more goalkeepers filled in twice each for the drunkard Lloris after Daniel Levy had to smack his bottom to soothe the media saints.
My definition of improving a squad comes from three sources:
1) Players injured or not performing the previous season now contributing regularly.
2) Youth/academy products promoted internally to contribute.
3) Purchased players coming in.
Analysis of Spurs:
a) Moussa Sissoko – universally hated and derided last season, a total waste of space, yet regularly turning in MOTM performances this. Shocking.
b) Harry Winks – crocked for much of last season, on the pitch in 22 of 24 matches this season, starting 12. Shameful.
c) Lucas Moura – a peripheral figure last season after a January 2018 signing. Started 19, contributed in 22 games this term, more than Harry Kane (twenty starts plus one entry from the bench). Disgraceful….especially those seven goals.
d) Erik Lamela, this decade’s Darren Anderton. Crocked last season, eight starts and sixteen times on the pitch this, six goals. Appalling.
e) Juan Foyth, a young still slightly naive young tyro, given five EPL starts despite the odd mistake you expect youngsters to make during Spurs’ rotational injury schedule of centre backs. Appalling attention to youth development…..Bielsa has given his protege a proper lashing for denying him the chance to develop Argentine talent on loan.
Now if Kyle Walker-Peters had actually got on the pitch occasionally, rather than being the most prolific bench warmer in London, you could really have a go at Pochettino for promoting young English players. Doesn’t he understand that you are only supposed to develop French talent in the EPL?
Arguably, it is N’Khoudhou and Llorente who are not performing, which may explain why 4-2-3-1 is not first choice formation this season, rather than formations needing three from six functioning attackers.
So let us say Spurs need understudies for Son and Kane, who do they buy? You think Asensio will leave Real for a bit part role at Spurs? No chance, he will say ‘Play two up front or forget it!’ Or he will come to replace Harry Kane if he leaves for megabucks. Same to be said for Mauro Icardi, well ensconced at Inter.
Conspiracy theorists would suggest Bale+Suarez for Kane, which would be interesting. Whether it is realistic is quite another matter…
Ryan Sessegnon and Jadon Sancho would fit, but their prices are likely to be ridiculous. Demarai Grey would be interesting, Walcott as a reverse ‘Judas’ would create frothing expostulations in the columns (and seeing whether Pochettino could improve Walcott would answer the crap coaching vs crap talent argument once and for all), not to mention Nketiah. Hudson-Odoi would increase the risk of Derby-day punch ups, but would teach Chelsea to use youth or lose youth.
Of course, if Spurs wish to win a trophy, they need to pay some bungs or sell out to Americans. Everyone knows the scripts by now. Developing squad players to perform? What use is that to Nike, Sky and Jorge Mendes?
As you say, the Spurs players all know each very well and Poch admires the squad hugely.They all admire him, I’m told.
Arsenal’s next mission is to be better than Spurs over 38 games and finish in the top four.
That is a big ask but the recruitment is now far more decisive since Sanllehi and Mislintat took over.
Koscielny may play his first game for Emery tonight against Qarabag. Smith Rowe,injured in training, is not available.
Let’s hope Joe Lewis doesn’t sell to Americans,Rhys.
Sky is an American corporation. Having lost La Liga and Champions League, they now ram NFL down out throats every morning. It’s reverse colonisation. What did we do to deserve such a tedious parade of big shoulders and helmets?