MIDFIELD!!!

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Still think this is our main issue between our midfield and our wingbacks. They can't pass nor keep possession cannot press properly Winks Locelso Tanguy Skipp and Holjberg is not a good midfield 5. Emerson cannot cross the ball we need at least two technical ball handlers on the ball it is pretty sad when Kane and Dier are your two best passers on the ball attacking wise so far.
 
The problem with Skipp and PEH being in at the same time is that they are basically the same player.
You could have at least 8 Kevin DeBruyne’s in the team and you’d be leading the league.

The problem with this team is that it can’t pass the ball. PEH is hopeless in that regard and Skipp is bang average. We need dot-connecting players.

This was supposed to be Ndombele, but alas.

I’d kinda like to try Kane and Lucas in a two up top and then a Winks Skipp Lo Celso midfield.

Lo Celso can’t tackle and is liable to turn into garbage or get hurt at any moment, but in the absence of Sonny we’ve got to try something novel to present any threat in possession.
 
We don't have any properly good midfielders.
Like it was in the 90s for so long.

When I mean properly good, I'm looking at the likes of Eriksen, Dembele, Modric, Carrick.

None of our midfielders will have Real Madrid or whatever sniffing around.
Skipp could be good, but he isn't that level right now - which doesn't help us right now.

Though I have lost all faith in them, there was a spell over several months Lo Celso looked like he was getting towards that kind of level and flickers from Ndombele - but obviously not enough, not sustained, and feels like a distant memory. Their levels now are poor to average.

Top teams going back the 30 odd years I have been a football fan nearly always have 1 or 2 fantastic central midfielders. Until we have that, I don't see us dining at the top table.
 

Airfixx

Death to petro-murder-ball sports-washing.
Midfield?

Yes-Yes-Yes-Wrestler-Cheer-On-WWE-Gif.gif
 
Find replacements for
:dembelefingers:
And
:eriksenserious:
and see how we grow.
We were very fortunate to have these guys at their best. The blight on Poch’s tenure is that the squad should have got over the line in at least one competition. We were brilliant in that period.
Something went wrong with recruitment when it really mattered though.
:levystare:
 
Find replacements for
:dembelefingers:
And
:eriksenserious:
and see how we grow.
We were very fortunate to have these guys at their best.
These 2, plus Walker/Rose as dynamic/fast-paced options on the wings, + Toby's pinpoint long balls.

No wonder we struggle to create at the moment. Kane & Son (and Dele) used to feed off those 5, now they have to create and score...
:klinsmann::vdvcry::dempsey:
 

Guido 🇺🇦

"Legacy Fan"
I posted this in Conte's thread but well worth reposting in here.

CONTE HAS BEEN AT TOTTENHAM FOR JUST 2.5 MONTHS!!!!!!

I think Sanchez has been good under Conte but you will see out performances and the underlying numbers mentioned in here improve still further when he returns to the team. Especially in building up from the back and our intercity through his pressures. Also, Emerson on the right doesn't have the support that Davies gives Reggie, with his better passing and his over/underlapping runs he makes that creates space, I believe we'll see significantly better build-up down the right, also giving us a better balance and a great variety in attack when faced with a low-block.

It's fair to say we need a more press resistant ball progressor in the middle of the park, an number 8 that plays ahead of Winks/PEH/Skipp. I personally think by getting a top-class athletic CF can kill 2 birds with one stone here, as we could drop Kane back (not as an 8 but as a 10) but it would give us the verticality through the middle we don't fully have but are currently working towards.

Anyway, the point is in just a very, very short space of time Conte has made a dramatic change to the team already, without adding players, with very limited time spent with the players at the training ground. Stop the fucking winging and enjoy what this man is doing. Enjoy a team that's responding and working hard for him and each other!!!

While There Are Still Issues to Fix, Conte Has Already Drastically Improved Tottenham​


Antonio Conte was always going to improve Tottenham Hotspur, but there were question marks over how quickly he could turn things around, especially considering that a busy festive period and Covid-19 would limit his time on the training field. But Conte has answered those questions emphatically and Spurs, unbeaten in eight Premier League games, already look like an archetypical Conte team.

It might seem strange to heap praise on Conte off the back of two worrying cup performances. Their 2-0 defeat to Chelsea in the EFL Cup should have been much worse, and things were just as disjointed in the 3-1 comeback win against Morecambe in an FA Cup tie defined by Tanguy Ndombele’s slow exit.

But it is necessarily a slow process, and during this transitional period the Italian will learn as much from a difficult week as a good one. Besides, it is impossible to ignore the statistical evidence of a rapid upturn in performances since Conte’s appointment on 5th December.

Two things immediately jump out. Two things that highlight, before we get into the tactics, how hard work has seen Tottenham improve at both ends and in all areas. The first is that at the time of Conte’s appointment, Spurs sat last in the Premier League for distance covered (100.2km per game). Over the eight games in which Conte has been in charge, Spurs are top of the charts (114.2km per game).

The second is their xG for and against, which was improved rapidly and consistently:

Spurs Rolling Expected Goals Difference


That is enough evidence to show Spurs have improved. But to prove this isn’t just a new manager bounce, that running around a lot with a puffed out chest isn’t the cause, we can look at the theory and practice of Conte’s complex tactical strategy.


Conte’s Principles Taking Effect

Using either a 3-4-2-1 or 3-5-2 formation, Conte shares many similarities with the Germanic system that dominates the European game despite not enacting a gegenpress or as high a line as those seen at Liverpool or Manchester City. He is often wrongly labelled as a defensive coach, when in fact his teams – though sitting more cautiously in a mid-block – look to use assertive, vertical possession to attack with directness, while a ruthlessly organised press snaps into action in the middle third. Using data from the 2021-22 Premier League season, Spurs’ average number of presses has risen since Conte’s arrival from 17.0 to 24.6 per game – a huge jump despite the fact Tottenham recorded just seven and eight presses in their last two matches, against Southampton and Watford, due to holding so much possession. Their average number of pressed sequences has also gone up, from 12.4 to 16.0 per game, as has their number of possessions won, up from 47.7 to 57.5 per game.

As expected, this pressing is not high up the pitch as you would see from a Pep Guardiola team. Compared to Nuno Espírito Santo, Tottenham’s number of pressures has stayed the same in the final third, has gone down in their own third, and has shot up in the middle third (up from 122 to 133 per game).


It is noteworthy, too, that while their overall pressures remain unchanged, their pressures on players without the ball have gone up from 44.2 to 52.8 per game; Conte’s press is an organised and collective one, beginning to eradicate the individualistic disorder of the old regime.


Automatisms and Fast Attacks

But what most links Conte with other managers at the forefront of the game is his use of automatisms: pre-set moves coached in exacting rhythms on the training ground until passing and movement is as meticulously prepared as a back four’s defensive positioning. The idea is to limit individual freedom so that the team can work several steps ahead.

This kind of thing cannot be directly captured in statistics, although the following graphics – of the 3-0 home win and 3-0 away defeat to Crystal Palace this season – show the organisation of the shape and consistency of the passing patterns, especially in comparison to how Spurs were playing before his arrival, with the caveat that in each game a red card was shown to the losing side.

Spurs passing network 3-0 win vs. Palace


Spurs passing network 3-0 loss vs. Palace


Conte has detailed plans for how to construct attacks during sustained periods of possession (see below), but generally speaking, he prefers a direct approach that, with vertical passes getting the forwards in behind, looks to make use of the opponent’s dishevelled shape in transition moments – hence the hard pressing. We are already seeing signs of this at Spurs.

Their direct attacks (open play sequences that start inside their own half, have at least 50% of movement towards goal, and end in a shot or a touch in the box) are up from 1.2 to 2.1 per game, while their ‘progress’ (amount of distance they move upfield per sequence) is up from 11.7m to 14.8m per game. Fast breaks are also up significantly, from 0.5 to 0.9 per game.


Attack Construction Through Eric Dier and Central Midfield

When building from further back the pattern is slightly different, although again the focus is on automatisms and getting the ball quickly and directly into the final third. And yet, such was the disarray under Nuno, Spurs have also improved on metrics that measure more patient build-up – their number of 10+ open play pass sequences per game is up from 11.8 to 14.1, while their build-up attacks – basically converting these 10+ pass sequence into either a shot or at least one touch in the box – have risen from 1.9 to 3.9 per game.

Still, the real focus is eliminating sideways possession. The most prominent method so far has been instructing Eric Dier to spray long diagonal balls from the back, largely hitting the overlapping wing backs (more on their so-so start later). Dier now completes 5.4 long passes per game, up from 3.2 under Nuno.

But the more difficult work takes place in central midfield. Conte has consistently partnered Pierre-Emile Højbjerg with either Oliver Skipp or Harry Winks in the middle, and so far they have lacked the punchy, forward-thinking abilities needed to fully engage with the Conte philosophy.

Højbjerg (1.18), Winks (1.17), and Skipp (0.83) rank poorly for the average number of opponents bypassed per pass through 2021-22, sitting below plenty of flat, non-penetrative players – including Manchester United’s much-maligned midfielders Scott McTominay and Nemanja Matic. However, Højbjerg and Skipp have improved since Conte’s arrival, the former up from 1.0 to 1.3 and the latter up slightly from 0.8 to 0.9 (there is no comparison for Winks, who has only played under Conte this season).


More strikingly, Skipp’s ball-carrying stats were not good prior to Conte’s arrival but have gone up significantly: his progressive ball carries per 90 are up from 4.2 to 7.9 per game, while Højbjerg’s remain the same.

In other words, we are slowly seeing the impact of automatisms as Tottenham’s midfield pair start to learn how to play more vertically under the Italian.


Room for Improvement in the Wing Back and Inside Forward Positions

With time, Conte may wish to upgrade in the middle of the park, but his top priority right now is improving the wing backs. Those Dier diagonals aim to get the wing backs into crossing positions – and sure enough, crosses have risen from 10.7 to 16.5 per game – but the accuracy leaves something to be desired, particularly down the right side.

In the 1-0 victory over Watford, Claudio Ranieri consistently left Emerson Royal as the free man knowing that his crosses would not lead to anything. Of his 14 attempts (the most a player has attempted in a game this season) only five hit the target, and none created a decent opportunity. It was very noticeable that Watford were more than happy to let him have the ball in advanced areas:

Emerson Royal touch map vs. Watford


The only other issue at this point is how to get Lucas Moura and Heung-Min Son working better in tandem behind Harry Kane, who is showing tentative signs of improvement. We have seen glimpses – Lucas’ brilliant strike against Norwich, Son consistently breaking behind Liverpool’s defensive line – but both players can seem a little unsure of their new roles.

Lucas’ dribbling in tight spaces should, in the months ahead, help draw the opposition infield and create more room for flying wing backs, while on the evidence of the 2-2 draw against Liverpool Son may be better in a two: as the Lautaro Martínez to Harry Kane’s Romelu Lukaku.

Considering Conte has only been at the club for two months, these are minor issues. The overall shape both on and off the ball is looking compressed and secure, automatisms are beginning to form as the players follow strict instructions for getting the ball into the final third, and, cups aside, results are dramatically improving.

With two games in hand over West Ham and Woolwich above them, and just two points off the Champions League places, Spurs are in a good position to mount a charge for the top four. Not bad for a club mired in crisis just eight weeks ago.
 
You are aware that I've commented directly on this above right?
yeh I see you're shifting the blame to Sanchez.

it's clear as day to everyone Emerson has not been up to scratch. You know you can just admit that rather then continuously trying to insist he's been playing well.

Can he come good? maybe but I doubt it in the wing back role. As of right now he's been a huge dissappintment.
 
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Guido 🇺🇦

"Legacy Fan"
yeh I see you're shifting the blame to Sanchez.

it's clear as day to everyone Emereon has not been up to scratch. You know you can just admit that rather then continuously trying to insist he's been playing well.

Can he come good? maybe but I doubt it in the wing back role. As of right now he's been a huge dissappintment.
Why do you want me to change my mind on something that I absolutely definitely believe in? Why are you so triggered by this? Do you go to bed at night with it weighing heavy on your mind?

I think Emerson is more than OK. I think he's far better than Reggie, better with the ball and better without it, thus more dominant down his flank. I think he's shown this in almost every game he's played. Reading this it would appear that you interpret this as he's peak TAA, which would be absurd but it's what I'm used to in this forum, absolutely zero nuance and context just measure everything by two extremes and absolutely nothing in between.

Just like your interpretation of me "blaming Sanchez" what a fucking take!!! Absolutely absurd! I have praised Sanchez, one of the only posters to regularly do so, I praised in my comments above too. So no, I'm NOT blaming anything on Sanchez. I'm making direct reference that Romero is better than Sanchez, if you want to disagree with that then the floor is all yours, not sure I could keep a straight face though.

With Romero back we will build attacks far better down our right-hand side, simply because Romero is a better footballer and is way way, way better passer of the ball than Sanchez. He's also far more progressive (even before Tottenham) and has shown this under Nuno too, it means as sure as night follows day that he will be looking to bring the ball out of defence and/or do as Davies is and has been doing down the left which is to under/overlap with the fullback (Reggie). (The ONLY time Sanchez has seen to do this is against a 9 man low-bock late into the game or has remained up the pitch following a corner or set piece that has been played into the box. This will absolutely help Emerson, who has NOT had the benefit that Reggie has enjoyed with Davies linking with him or creating the space with these over/underlapping runs.

Also, with Romero back he will give Dier even more time on the ball than he enjoys when Sanchez plays. Dier has a great range of passing, he’s just not great at dealing with pressure particularly from the side and behind (this has always been his weakness, easily pressed into a mistake no matter what position he's played). Under Poch he played 6 but dropped into the 1st line to give him space to play. Conte has seen this, and is immediately using his qualities. Romero will give him even more time and thus his distribution from the back will improve a few % from what is already quite good.

It is absolutely vital to how Conte plays that it starts from the back, loads and loads of positional automation at play, if plays ours & oppo are not where we want or need them, then he goes back and starts over. The importance of this is to have defenders on the ball who can pass into feet, both diag out to FB's/WB's or vertically to players coming short. Our defence was taking shape nicely just when Romero got injured. Sanchez has been solid in his absence but we've totally missed any build-up structure from him, or at least a sustained and repeatable presence from him (he has been involved in the build-up in a great peak Conte goal a month or so ago that saw us move the ball back to front with one-two touches through the thirds).

Go ahead and disagree with any of this and I'll do my best to try not to laugh out loud.

 

Guido 🇺🇦

"Legacy Fan"
Guido if you drop Kane as a number 10 it nullifies his quality of finishing inside the box and Kane isnt Mobile enough anymore to be dropping backing then trying to get on the end of balls after.
To have a capable number 10 means the balls played by them create bigger chances for others to score from. If I had him as a 10 then I wouldn't want him or expect him to get on the end of anything, I'd want him the deepest lying player in attack, not running on in behind defenders. Take a look at Firmino role for some examples. In fact, he's a far better shot from outside the box than Firmino.
 
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