The Premier League table makes for very good reading for Tottenham fans at present following the team’s slender 1-0 win over Watford.
Going into the game knowing that three points would see them top the table heading into the first international break of the season, Son Heung-min grabbed the only goal of the game with his inswinging free-kick evading the Hornets defence and finding the bottom corner.
It wasn’t classic stuff from Nuno Espirito Santo’s Spurs team over the course of the 90 minutes but they did manage to get the win on the board to see them claim pole position.
Harry Kane, on his return to the team in the Premier League, wasn’t exactly busy in the final third and had very few chances on goal, with his only real attempts coming in the closing stages as he tested Daniel Bachmann with a low shot after seconds earlier failing to convert Lucas Moura’s low cross.
Far from their best after showing Man City what they were all about two weeks earlier, the sign of a good team is winning when not at the top of their game and that’s exactly what Spurs did against Watford.
The Lilywhites’ organisation and game management in the victory impressed Espirito Santo, who did allude to a need to be more clinical in front of goal when reflecting on the win in his post-match press conference.
“Our fans. The way they support us when the team was in trouble. The way they start pushing. Really pleasing. You ask about all the things, that was the one,” said the 47-year-old when asked what pleased him most.
“From the game? The organisation. I think we kept all the game the shape, the right triggers, the right moments to press. Much better in the second half when we recover higher up the pitch.
“But what pleased me is when we could not kill the game, we had chances to do so, we didn’t lose our minds, we stick together, and we were compact, we did not allow too many chances to Watford. That was good.
“The balance between these two aspects was good, and in the end, the way we managed the game.
“Something I didn’t like: we should be more clinical, I think we had enough quality and talent players to kill the game.”
Making it clear that his team could and maybe should have put the game out of Watford’s reach long before the final whistle, what was noticeable in the victory was that Spurs do miss a central attacking midfielder who can give the side an extra edge in and around the box.
Boasting a wealth of attacking options, the final ball is lacking at times and that was there for all to see against Watford as both Son and Kane were extremely limited in terms of clear-cut chances.
Giovani Lo Celso was named on the bench for the win but, for whatever reason, the former Wolves boss elected against bringing the Argentine on despite the fact that he could have helped make a difference going forward in Spurs’ push for the three points.
Espirito Santo’s 4-3-3 formation does give Dele Alli license to push upfield and form an attacking quartet but he is a player who is going to score chances rather than create them.
Tottenham already have someone at the club in Tanguy Ndombele who could thrive as part of the midfield three and help take the team the next level in linking Spurs’ midfield and attack.
However, the Frenchman is believed to have told the club again this month that he would like to leave and it remains to be seen what exactly will happen with the player come Tuesday’s transfer deadline.
Daniel Levy will certainly not allow the club-record signing to depart on the cheap and will instead demand big money for a player who cost around £60million from Lyon in 2019, thus severely limiting the amount of sides who could buy him with transfer funds limited for many due to the events of the past 18 months.
Unless the player were to get his wish for a move before the 11pm deadline, it’s unlikely that another central attacking midfielder will be brought in at this stage unless it’s an opportunity that the club simply cannot turn down.
Instead, Spurs will be looking to bring in a new winger or striker to help boost the team’s options in the final third, with defence also another priority position for Fabio Paratici.
A surprise departure for Ndombele in the remaining hours of the transfer window, however, and it could possibly see the Italian embark on a late transfer mission.
There’s also the possibility that the 23-year-old comes back into favour under the boss and takes up a role in his midfield three providing of course that he remains in N17 from September onwards.
If Tottenham do go without an attacking midfielder in the summer transfer window, Paratici needs to have the position high up on his priority list come either the January window or next summer.
Failing to so far replace Christian Eriksen at the club 19 months on from his exit, Tottenham can hit the next level under Espirito Santo if Paratici finds the right player to make Spurs tick in the final third.
Source by Football London