The appointment of Mauricio Pochettino as Tottenham Hotspur manager brought a sudden feeling of optimism to the club. While Tim Sherwood had stepped in and performed admirably, Pochettino’s success at Southampton convinced chairman Daniel Levy that he was the man to carry Tottenham forward. The Argentinean was set to implement a new style of play and take Spurs back into the Champions League fray.
Pochettino came in with his own unique style of play that worked so well for him during his time at Southampton. Adopting a 4-2-3-1 formation his side were experts in high and intensive pressing tactics. Dejan Lovren marshalled the defense with aplomb, while the likes of Victor Wanyama and Morgan Schneiderlin ran the midfield expertly. Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert were prolific in attack and were helped enormously by captain and chief creator Adam Lallana. The soccer was fluid and effective – a delight for the neutral.
So when the Argentinean tactician made the switch for White Hart Lane, naturally expectations were high, but rather than flourish the Spurs have made a stuttering start. With many players bought in the previous summer during a spending spree, it’s becoming abundantly clear that some players are simply not good enough. Even despite the fact that the Spurs’ rivals for a top four position have all had average starts, they just don’t look capable of asserting themselves in the lucrative positions come May.
Their remains an air of negativity around the club and Levy is under fire for not keeping faith with managers and imploring Andre Villas-Boas to initiate a spending spree. All of this had led many to believe that the squad is imbalanced, namely with too many central midfielders.
One of the main problems originates from their signings made last summer. Etienne Capoue and Paulinho were added to the already long list of central midfielders. Add Ryan Mason, Nabil Bentaleb, Moussa Dembele and summer signing Benjamind Stambouli and you’ve got an overflow of men that can play in the middle of the park. The worrying thing is that none of these players have made a position their very own yet. All have proven qualities, but a lack of attacking impetus is curtailing each and every player’s impact. Villas-Boas wanted to bring in Joao Moutinho from FC Port last summer, who would have been an expensive addition. However, he probably would have cost around the same as both Capoue and Paulinho combined. In retrospect the Portuguese coach probably should have broken the bank. Playing from a deeper position, Moutinho controls the tempo of the game but is also excellent at choosing his moment to push forward and aid the attack.