Saturday, March 25, 2023

Tottenham’s Inconsistency In The Final Third, West Brom’s Plan And Other Talking Points From The Draw

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Yash Shah
A skeptical mystic who likes to channel his inner loneliness into drumming and dissection of football games. Dreams of watching Tottenham play at the new White Hart Lane. Has spent a majority of the last two years on foul-mouthing Moussa Sissoko and worrying about his receding hairline.

Tottenham managed a late equalizer in the 89th minute to deny West Brom all three points at the Hawthorns a few hours ago. The away side did quite well in the first half and despite several attempts on goal weren’t able to find a way through Ben Foster. West Brom gained a little momentum in the second half and threatened on the counter on a few occasions. They were able to find a breakthrough in the 82nd minute through Nacer Chadli only for Tottenham to level the proceedings seven minutes later through a deft finish from Alli.

Here are three talking points from the game.

Tony Pulis almost executing his plan to perfection

Tony Pulis always seems to be well-equipped tactically while playing the top sides in the Premier League. Even in this game, he had come out with a plan which he almost executed to perfection. The plan was to be defensively very organized and structured even if they failed to dominate Tottenham’s midfield. Although Tottenham penetrated West Brom’s defense, they failed to find the back of the net until late on because of Ben Foster’s excellent goalkeeping.

Pulis respected his side’s weakness, their inability to really get decent amount of possession and played to his side’s strength. It must have been a relief for Mauricio Pochettino to be able to take a point from a game in which they managed to dominate and yet the opposition were leading until the 89th minute.

Mauricio Pochettino still unable to find the perfect offensive balance

There seems to be a lack of fluidity in Tottenham’s attack in this changed 4-1-4-1 system. Pochettino must realize at the earliest that Victor Wanyama as the single man in the pivot isn’t working properly. Defensively it works but offensively it has disturbed the balance. Also, Moussa Sissoko has been inconsistent with his form on the right wing and Pochettino must realize before long to use him only as a box to box midfielder where his abilities are utilized to his full potential.

It is quite clearly visible that Wanyama needs someone to partner him and help the team offensively. His side-passes a lot which takes the sting out of the attack many a times. Someone like Dembele or Sissoko along with him can help take the ball forward with more oomph.

erikssen spurs

It often seemed quite easy that West Brom were able to control the game for the majority of the game defensively because they were quite happy to sit back and defend. The sideways passing only made it easier for West Brom as Evans and McCauley did a great job defensively. West Brom were able to exploit this offensive imbalance as they forced sideways passing by applying pressure through Tottenham’s center.

Mixed emotions for fans of both the sides

Tottenham had 7 games in 23 days and had to make the team selection in accordance which resulted in a relatively weaker side being fielded. Also, the International break wasn’t really useful since Tottenham would rather have wanted to continue their form after a convincing 2-0 win against Manchester City.

With the midweek game in mind, the players fielded were deemed enough to do the job, but they failed to finish it off. After attacking incessantly, Tottenham conceded a goal on the counter. Thankfully for the North London side, Heung-Min Son equalized seven minutes later.

If Tottenham fans were asked to take a point before the game they wouldn’t have done it, but the fans would have to be happy to have got a point after trailing with a few minutes on the clock. West Brom fans, on the other hand, would have also been bitterly disappointed after they thought they had all three points in the bag after Chadli scored only for Alli to equalize in the end.

Pulis’ men stuck to the task at hand but a lapse in defense only managed to earn his side a point instead of all three.

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