Jai B dredges up the pain as he analyses where it went wrong for Spurs at Man City. WARNING: Reading This May Cause Insufferable Pain. Again.
Facing Manchester City at the Etihad stadium is arguably the toughest fixture in the league, but even the most pessimistic of Tottenham fans wouldn’t have predicted that we would concede within 15 seconds from our opponent’s 3rd touch of the ball.
There are a few things that we can learn about Tottenham from a thrashing like this. The main points are that Erik Lamela should not have made a debut league start, Michael Dawson should only play against certain opposition, and that Danny Rose is essential to how the squad operates, purely because he has no direct competition for his place.
Firstly, the record breaking Argentinean should’ve started against Newcastle rather than against Manchester City. In my opinion substitute appearances against Newcastle, Manchester City and Manchester United would’ve lead to consecutive starts against Fulham and Sunderland; confidence building matches against struggling teams.
[authquoteleft text=”The main points are that Erik Lamela should not have made a debut league start[/linequote]
A long international break, including many flights and few minutes, would have killed a some momentum for Lamela. The main supposed reasons for starting the former Roma man are anti-intuitive. Pairing him on the left, with Jan Vertonghen, was also strange.
It is not a secret that when playing as a full back that our Belgian struggles against rapid wingers; a flair winger would hardly offer much support. Lamela and Vertonghen were both at fault for allowing Jesus Navas to provide an assist for the third City goal.
Vertonghen should be tighter to Pablo Zabaleta here; the City right back has far too much time to thread a pass to Navas. Even more worrying is Lamela’s reaction to the pass, he is poor at getting close to Navas to block the cross. It could be argued that Rose’s superior pace would’ve seen him put more direct pressure on Zabaleta and that Gylfi Sigurdsson’s higher work ethic may have proved more difficult for Navas to navigate around. Of course, these are only opinions and assumptions.
Club captain, Dawson, made his 300th appearance for Tottenham this week and it couldn’t have been worse day for him; his actions caused many opportunities for the home team.
Many argue that out of the current centre-backs in the squad, Dawson is the least suited to playing a high line; he has all but verified these opinions. Out of the following plays, all the chances that City create are from running into the space behind the England international.
In the above picture we see Dawson looking to take the ball off another Argentinean, Sergio Aguero. The captain fails to make the challenge and Aguero immediately runs into the space vacated by Dawson, and is found by a neat flick from a Alvaro Negredo.
Both Kyle Walker and Sandro fail to track this run and the league’s top scorer is left with a 1v1 opportunity that he should have converted.
This next screen capture is from the second goal. This play follows directly from a poor clearance by Hugo Lloris and a Fernandinho header that finds its way to Samir Nasri on the left hand side. As Walker is up the pitch, Dawson goes over to Nasri to cover.
We all know that Nasri is being played inverted and will look to play with his right foot. Our centre-back fails to see this and does not show the Frenchman outside, instead he allows Nasri to play Aguero through with a chipped ball in the vacated space, as Lewis Holtby fails to track the City striker from midfield. This is unacceptable as Holtby has vocally voiced his preference for playing as a transitional midfielder over a traditional number 10.
From the fourth goal, pictured above, the Sky Blues are still exploiting the same area of the Tottenham team. Once again, Dawson gets tight to a player, only to create a massive amount of space behind him. Here Yaya Toure plays the ball to Negredo. As Dawson looks to get close to the Spaniard, Toure is already making a typical marauding run into the vacated space, and is found by a simple flick from Negredo.
The Ivorian is now free to run directly at goal, knowing Walker would be hesitant to challenge him; being the furthest player back; the ball is squared to Aguero who taps home to make the score 4-0.
I really don’t understand what’s going on in the fifth goal, above. My assumption is that Dawson is anticipating Fernandinho to play the ball short into the Citizen’s player (maybe Navas) in the middle of the image, and that Dawson is compensating for his pace by looking to get close to this player as early as possible; leaving one of Walker or Kaboul to track Negredo.
The former Sevilla man isn’t picked up and he is able to stay onside just behind Dawson and collect a threaded pass from the Brazilian midfielder. He then makes mince-meat out of our club captain with a sublime turn and finish.
In conclusion, I believe that this was a game we were always going to lose, but we should make the most of this loss and learn from our mistakes as well as our opponent’s excellence.
Manchester City’s slick play and meaningful passing were the instruments of their success.
Lamela will play well, but starts against teams such as Fulham and Sunderland would help boost his confidence, a 6-0 defeat in a first league start would have shattered whatever self-belief he possessed.
[authquoteright text=”We should make the most of this loss and learn from our mistakes as well as our opponent’s excellence[/linequote]
Dawson should only play against certain opposition because his lack of pace and mobility makes it easy for teams with intent to play around him. When Rose returns, Vertonghen will be seen at centre-back alongside one of Chiriches/Kaboul or Dawson, depending on the fixture.
With a passage of four league matches since Spurs have scored a goal from open play, the team from North London have to perform well against Manchester United, or risk slipping further down the league. Something needs to change in terms of how we play.
[author name=”Jai B” avatar=”https://si0.twimg.com/profile_images/1659352356/IMAG0018.jpg” twitter=”Jai_B[/linequote]