Champions League Report
What is more overated than a Portuguese chicken shop? A 2-0 lead I tell you, that’s what. For the second time in 3 games we have let a 2-0 lead slip. For the second time in 3 games we let a goal before half time change the momentum of a game, that we looked to have under some control. This is not doom and gloom. As we all saw from last year you do not need to win all your games in the group stages to reach the Final. So here I will go through a few things from the game and how I think they played out during it.
Poch lined up with one of his favourite formations. Hugo as in 98% of the matches this season, was in goal, and the 2 Belgians as the centre back partnership. Davies started at left back as expected. I had thought he might start Palace as Rose had started the previous matches and one of the England games.
However reliable Davies is, does not make up for his lack of bite and thrust going forward. Do not get me wrong, he does get forward and his pass for Lucas to run on to was played brilliantly. But for me he just lacks that forward-thinking mentality combined with directness that would make him much more of an option as a first choice. He was also did not track the run on their first goal, allowing his man to get in and score with a well-placed shot.
Rose is clearly our first choice, but I expect Sessegnon to take this mantel next year. Providing he stays free of injury and takes Poch’s mentality on board.
Our right back was, Kyle Walk.. no sorry it was Serge Au… Wait what, it was Davison Sanchez. I thought in all honestly this experiment would never be repeated. I know it was Arsenal and he was against Auba but still. He is not a full-back, he has no natural body movement that allow him to move into those areas successfully. He showed 2 nice touches and a give and go, but apart from that was not really an outlet you would seek to use.
My current Man crush at the minute is one of our central duo, it’s Harry Winks. Another game, another good performance from him. 101 touches and 84% pass accuracy, I know it’s not Rodri’s 100% but it is still good from the Enfield Iniesta. I keep saying it, but he is really growing into his role in the team. Recycle the ball, break the lines with a clever turn and as English as it sounds, get stuck in. Camera on him for 90 minutes and it would be a 90 minutes well spent.
Next to him, somewhat unfortunate it was his comeback start, was Ndombele. He was a little rusty and it showed. A few times he tried to drive through midfield, and could not quite get his quick turns and movements to be successful. Now, he did show some nice touches, and he will probably start vs Leicester to combat their midfield trio.
Rusty, Garbage and Lively
No these are not the 2019 Dwarf names; these are the ratings for our attacking trio behind Kane on Wednesday.
Dele Alli started in the left position but drifted in and had a very frustrating game. Still feeling his way back into the team, and formation which has changed somewhat since he last played continuously in it. He played most of last year in a midfield position, deeper than he normally plays. He did well, not numbers wise but performing a role for the team. People outside the club have written him off after not replicating his first 18 months form and numbers. I hope he proves them wrong, but atm he is not in our first choice 11. Also should have squared to Kane when he cut in on the right side of the box.
Eriksen played in the number 10 role, drifting over to the left. Interchanging with Alli, he had a poor game by his standards. 78 touches all on the periphery of the area and not that probing. Could be to do with the fact Alli and Davies on his side were not making the desired runs or it could have just been one of those days. He was also culpable for being asleep for their penalty. We intercepted the ball back in our area, and played a pass to Eriksen, facing his own goal. Who was pickpocketed by the opposition player who was more awake. Thus, resulting in the player getting brought down in the box.
Our right winger on the night was Lucas, and we all know how I feel about him playing with Kane. To be fair to him, along with his really well taken goal, he was the brightest spark behind our main striker. He constantly offered himself as an option, 96% pass accuracy and 2 successful dribbles out of 3 attempted. He was predominantly wide right and drifted in to the central spots when this was vacated by Kane. Lucas does seem to thrive on this European stage and his such a handy talent to have.
Another Penalty, Another goal from Kane. Not really much else to say, he had a few shots blocked and should have had a tap in if Alli had squared it to him in the second half. He was very vocal throughout, after diving, sorry being tripped for his penalty. After both the Alli and Lamela shots he was berating them for shooting, but what would Kane have done in those situations? I am betting that 9/10 times he would choose to shoot. Anyway, onto the next one. He still keeps scoring though!
Not much to say in the way of changes, 3 like for like ones. No real impact from any of them.
- Sissoko on for Ndombele. Mo took up the midfield position and does what he does, running forward with pace but no real purpose. Full of energy but did not steady the tempo just made it a little more erratic.
- Son for Alli. The 2 goal forward took the left wing berth and tried to rub beyond and stretch the defence. Only had 11 touches and will be disappointed not to start after his performance on Saturday.
- Lamela on for Lucas. Took over Lucas’ right wing role, but was the dribble and tight angled shot that had most people up on their feet. 100% pass accuracy and does this mean he is, as I said a true Poch man now?
I said on twitter I would have taken a point before kick-off and after seeing the score at 0-2 I thought we would have learnt from Arsenal and taken the win. I also said on twitter, we needed to start the second half and just slow the tempo down. This did not happen and we concede 10 minutes later. In game management when having a lead should not be beyond this group of players. We shall see what the next European game holds for us.
Nice to see players like Alli, Ndombele and even Davies get some game time. We will need the squad and the options within in it with the games ramping up in number from this week.
- Lucas was the bright spark out of the attacking players, He took his goal so well.
- Winks, as usual. Calm composed in that area of the pitch. Think he could be our most important player this year, in a team with no defensive midfielder as such.
- Kane scored again.
- As mentioned above, Davies, Ndombele, Alli were all returning or getting their first start of the season. Their rustiness showed.
- Eriksen was a passenger, let the game go by him.
- Sanchez at right back again, too solid and stiff to be even a makeshift full back.