Given the continuing injury problems in the squad, what are the areas they should look at ahead of next weekend’s North London derby?
Clint Dempsey: The American was once again largely anonymous playing off the striker, and looks unsuited for the role he has been given at Spurs. Dempsey is not a number ten able to set up the play in the final third, and his passing often lets the side down. Dempsey had no shots, completed only 19 passes in the match and made three tackles. He isn’t contributing enough, and Spurs need to either adjust his role, or try a different player.
Emmanuel Adebayor: The Togolese man was brought back to start against his old club, and was a powerhouse for Spurs. His ability to hold up the ball and draw a foul was the basis of Spurs’ lead and the striker frustrated City hugely. It’s been easy to forget just how good a player Adebayor is whilst he’s been injured, you wouldn’t expect him to be dropped again anytime soon.
Passing: Spurs were very poor on the ball, completing only 66% of 277 attempted passes. No-one expected them to go to City and dominate, especially with the injuries in the squad, but Spurs had trouble completing even the most basic of passes with regularity. Confidence is clearly in short supply, so perhaps bringing in players like Sigurdsson and Carroll, who are in theory happier playing the passing game, might be the way to go.
William Gallas: Gallas started the season very well, and was vital in matches like the win against Manchester United, but his performances have tailed off in recent weeks. It might be worth giving Naughton a go at left back and moving Vertonghen into the centre with Caulker, or bringing Dawson into the starting eleven for Gallas.
Late goals: Manchester City’s winner was the 6th late goal Spurs have conceded in their first eleven games. Two goals, Chelsea’s fourth and Reading’s consolation, haven’t affected the result, but the other four have cost Spurs six points already. There is a tendency to sit too far back in attempting to hold onto results and it invites too much pressure on the defence. Spurs should be able to control a match until the final whistle, and again it looks like a confidence issue. If they can get players fit, and settle down the system, this is something that will hopefully be addressed naturally over time.
image: © Alfonso Jimenez