The Norwich game was touted by many as the start of a new era for the club. Finally bolstered by the full complement of summer reinforcements, this was a game to whet the appetite.
It didn’t disappoint.
Of course there were the usual early shouts of ‘get it forward’ and ‘stop passing sideways’, but on the whole this was an easy on the eye fluid display. Maybe it will take time for us to acclimatise to a possession-based game ahead of a purely counter attacking exhibition, but all revolutions have their teething problems.
It is easy to forget that Norwich were a side that caused us problems last year, two draws and a cup defeat are hardly results to celebrate. With the additions of Fer, Van Wolfswinked and Redmond, the case for more of the same was a justified one and the Norwich no-show was a surprise to many.
It easy to put this down to a negative set up or bus-parking ploy, but for me they just couldn’t cope with us. We now have the ability to keep possession with consummate ease, something that we have done all season. The difference on Saturday, and this was something Gary Neville alluded to on MNF, is our newfound ability to maintain control in the final third.
Christian Eriksen was singled out for particularly praise, proving what a world-class star he could become for us. Hardly the baptism of fire I know and I doubt he will be afforded such space week in week out, but his opening display went some way to proving his doubters wrong. Maybe he doesn’t have the physique for every occasion, but he is as close to a playmaker I have seen at Spurs since the departure of Modric.
Whilst there is never anything wrong with retaining the ball, people were right to criticise many of our directionless midfield displays so far this season. The additions of Eriksen and Lamela I feel will go someway to solving these issues with more and more suitable outlets becoming available in and behind Soldado. The Spaniard was thankfully more involved than ever on Saturday and came close to an early goal of the season contender if you ask me.
Going forward it looks more positive than ever under AVB.
In defence it seems to be a constant case of the tale of two wing backs, one looking to develop and the other seemingly to stagnate. Danny Rose has polarised opinion at Spurs, but his early displays whilst not always perfect have merited selection. Against Norwich he showed a physical side to his undoubted attacking ability, and for me he was close to taking the Man of the Match gong.
Then we have Walker. He seems an easy target for criticism, and for someone with bags of ability you can see why. At times on Saturday I can only think he was adopting a floating role because his positional sense was diabolical. Constantly inept defensively, and actually less effective going forward than Rose, this boy needs to up his game or the case for Naughton will only continue to grow.
The centre back debate is an interesting one with a collection of clearly very different options. Kaboul’s recovery has necessitated the continued use of Dawson/Vertonghen at centre half, going forward I can see a degree of flexibility here. Dawson’s strength is against the towering frontmen and a direct approach; he was found out against an Arsenal side keen play the ball in behind our backline. So for me in the long run a Kaboul/Vertonghen partnership is the more likely against pacier outfits, with Dawson crucial when we face up against more direct opponents.
My only real complaint is as to where our Spurs of old have gone? I can’t remember the last time we won a Premier League game without the need for the squeaking of bums or biting of nails. This was as clinical and un-Tottenham like a performance as you are ever likely to see and personally it was the most impressive under AVB’s tenure.
More of the same please.