(I don’t have a CALEY GRAPHIC. Sad day.)
I’ve had quite the few days, driving all over the Midwest, watching some frustrating fútbol/football, and writing this now on little sleep. So, this may not be the most articulate, informative piece I’ve ever written. In addition, my Internet went loopy for the last 15-20 minutes of the game. Hooray.
Spurs played a good first half. They controlled the ball and created a number of different chances. Watford was mostly penned into their own half and it always felt like a goal was coming. Dele had a couple of really nice looks, but both went wide. Moura never stopped running and ran down almost every loose ball. Spurs were exactly unlucky not to score, but it was definitely their half.
In the second, Tottenham’s breakthrough finally arrived when Moura centered a pass off of off Doucouré and inside the post past a diving Ben Foster. Not a great goal, but a deserved one, all things considered. As the game entered the final 30 minutes, fatigue took its toll, and Watford came on strong. After finishing a great header following a set piece, the
Meese Hornets replicated their finish for a 2-1 lead. After that…the Internet apparently died as my game stream and Twitter both bled out? Poch made a couple changes and from the sounds of things, Llorente, Kane, and Rose were all close-ish to tying up the score. None did, however. 2-1 to Watford. They looked great in the second half.
- Formation. 3-5-2. This was the right call from Poch. Spurs were going to have the ball (which they did). They were going to have chances on net (which they did… mostly). They just needed to finish them and they’d bleed the game out (Ehhhh, not really.) Sanchez came back into the lineup and played well, allowing Jan and Toby to push forward when they were able and stretch the Watford back line with diagonals. Dembele started and looked like Moose. He got the formation correct and essentially won the strategy of the first half.
- Subs. This is where the game was lost, I believe. Spurs were great through 60ish minutes, but it was a warm afternoon and subs were needed. The problem is they had 2 fullbacks, 2 defensive mids, and one midfielder on the bench… and Llorente. Once they needed a goal, there were very few places to go. Before that goal, you could see Spurs tiring and Dembele especially was on fumes. That probably is when Winks should have come on for him. Hindsight is 20/20, but Poch has generally been a bit delayed with his changes and it cost Tottenham this time. Once it was 2-1, Llorente came on and Spurs pushed for an equalizer, but it was not to be. Fatigue, heat, and constant soccer for much of the squad since last summer finally got them, it seemed. Also, a lack of another attacking option -Lamela still hurt and Sonny winning a gold medal- put them behind the Eight Ball. They needed to play from ahead, but didn’t get deep enough into the game to make refreshing subs. Unfortunate.
- Moura. He’s not the best player on the team, but he’s been the best player on the team. He’s finally adapted and looks fresher than anyone else in the organization. It was his cross that was deflected into the net. He also made a number of runs early and tracked down many loose balls. If not for a hard first touch a time or two, he could have had two golden looks on net. Still, no way to take him out of the lineup. He’s carrying Spurs offense and has been involved in just about every Tottenham goal this season.
- Dele. Kind of like Spurs, he had a great first half and faded in the second. He missed a sitter and almost had a Van-Persie-esque chip-header off a great pass from Toby. His runs from midfield are still tremendous and he’s great in possession. Would have been nice for him to finish one of those looks. Another day, maybe.
- CBs. I thought all three played well. Their strengths and styles fit wonderfully together. I didn’t place either goal on them. Moose was muscled off of the ball on the second (evidence of his fatigue) and the first was just a great move and finish from Deeney; a proven goal scorer.
- Vorm. Michel Vorm played his first game of the season for an injured Hugo Lloris. Hello, Conspiracy Theorists! I don’t know. Maybe? Probably not. I’m not going to make a big thing of it. He also played fine and could not do a thing about either goal. He did, however, take a goal kick that somehow immediately went out for a corner. My feed was showing a replay, so I still have not seen the thing.
- Harry and Christian. Neither have been amazing this year. Kane finally got a couple of August goals and Eriksen hasn’t been terrible, but neither have set the world on fire. Disconcerting? Probably not. They’re both proven and will probably find themselves. Perhaps against Liverpool. (Don’t delete that, Marc ;).) [Ed: Ha! Trash talk welcomed. I’ve been saying the same things about our offense for the past two weeks. Sometimes it takes a big game.]