DIDN’T HAVE A CLUE
That’s right I didn’t have a clue what to expect from this ‘Friendly’ International Champions Cup match. Didn’t even know Spurs were an International Champion club. Must have passed me by. Maybe I’m Bobby Ewing and I’ve just come out of the shower! Seriously though, I don’t think anyone had an inkling as to what kind of team Poch would put out, how many youngsters he would play and the same with PSG. I did think Kyle Walker-Peters (KWP) would get a run out at some point at RB, and the same with Cameron Carter-Vickers (CCV) at CB. They did, but I didn’t expect them to play at the same time against such opposition even if a friendly. I thought Poch would have played them with some experience beside them, but he didn’t, sink or swim is the new mantra. I was fearful for them in an initial 4:2:3:1 formation against Cavani and Pastore.
My fear was justified as in the early stages PSG were so much brighter and faster than us, forcing Dier, as DM, back almost to the penalty box, where his rustiness was evident. PSG had three good chances to be 3-0 up after 5 mins and when they did score (Cavani) after 6 mins I had visions of a cricket score embarrassment. The French team were making in-roads down our right and getting crosses in. Were they targeting the inexperienced KWP and CCV combo. Probably not, but it did cross my mind. Sure enough the goal came about as CCV was caught out up field, KWP was simply by passed a cross and a goal 1-0. PSG didn’t let up, forward they came, we couldn’t get out of half most of the time. Harry didn’t get a kick, mainly because it was Janssen as the lone attacker – if he doesn’t even get the ball how can he be given the chance to miss, or even score.
However, we weren’t breached again as Spurs gradually made progress, nevertheless it was still a jaw dropping moment when out of nothing Eriksen unleashed a worldy from 35+yards beating Trapp all ends up. I jumped out of my comfy armchair yelled, and clapped. Wifey shouted down from the bedroom for me to ‘keep it down and stop being a big kid’. Wifey isn’t a footballista, she just doesn’t understand.
GKN (can’t be arsed to spell out his full name) was involved in the build-up to the goal assisting the assist, I thought he played quite well when he had the ball. He had a good battle with Alves and others, giving no quarter – loved that. Final ball still a bit lacking but I thought he did quite well. Good job he went off at half time as Alves replacement is called Nkunku. That would have put NKoudou agin Nkunku – nightmare for the Premium TV commentators. Try saying that quickly ten times.
Not long after the worldy we Scored a second (18 min) with Dier pressing and charging down Trapp. Some say a farce of a goal, and lucky or at best fortunate. I disagree. It is a recognised trait of a Pochettino team to press high and indeed it is practiced and trained. So I would say it was a well earned ‘team’ goal especially as the ball didn’t just rebound blindly into the net, but off the big lads outstretched foot and semi directed towards goal. Well done Eric 👏👏👏👏👏.
Unfortunately PSG equalised from down our right hand side with KWP ball watching and not aware of Pastore behind him, who gathered up the ball and strode into our box with purpose and that purpose being to score – which he did. KWP plainly has potential as he possesses plenty of skill especially going forward. He’s handy enough in defence but not yet physically ready to take on mature muscled men. His awareness needs working on but that is probably down to lack of experience at this level. How he achieves that I don’t know. I’m not a multi-million pound a year coach with that sort of knowledge. We have those at the club. Against many opinions I believe similar is true of Josh Onomah, for all his skills he’s just not doing it for me. Playing centrally behind Janssen I am struggling to recall many, if any, good balls from him to our lone forward.
Writing of Janssen, I was again slightly disappointed with his display, but then again how often did he receive a good ball. How often did KWP get to the bye line and put in a decent cross for him? Same for GKN on the other side who did get in a few inaccurate crosses, that even Ronaldo wouldn’t score from. Oh how he would have liked to have had Trippier and Dele behind to feed him. But alas he didn’t have that luxury and failed to make his own luck. Was Harry that much better in general play in the second half agin 10 men and better quality players around him? I bet our Vinney would have loved that penalty chance Harry scored from.
Anyway 2-2 at half time and lots of changes galore – too many for the TV to keep up with and I missed a few watching too. Two were Toby and our own Harry and within a minute of the restart Toby put in one of his trade mark long passes which Harry raced onto. Trapp did a Hugo impression and rushed out to meet the ball. Unfortunately for him he rushed out of his area too and handled the ball, playing pat-a-cake with it and off he went and down to 10 men went PSG with 44 mins to play.
I normally despair at this as another Spurs trait is for them to ease off, relax a little and not make use of the extra man….and lose – in this case they didn’t. They didn’t go hell for leather either but played some nice controlled footy and the chances started to come slowly but surely. PSG are a good quality team and so of course they had their moments mostly on the break. After Winks replaced Dembele on the hour mark and Spurs switched to a 4:3:3 formation PSG had a little 10 min spell, but mainly Spurs were on top. Eriksen almost scored a second Worldy but it just skipped past the post with the goalie beaten.
Another youngster who caught my eye was Tashan Oakley-Booth (TOB, not Toby!) who played on the right and for I believe a 17yo, played very well in such company. Certainly didn’t let himself down. Well done young man.
Wait for it! On 81st minute Winks and Wanyama combined to feed Toby (not TOB!) who advanced in the right channel and unleashed an unerringly accurate thunder bolt of a shot across goal from nigh on 30yds into the back of the net. Yay! 2-3 Spurs. Another (stifled) yell and standing clap from me to the telly. Ears strained, nothing from up-stairs, just the sweet sound of wifey snoring – got away with it.
As is Spurs Wont, a little relax and PSG nearly in from the re-start. But nearly isn’t good enough. Our Harry made it 2-4 in the 88th minute with a penalty given for handball. I have seen the incident a number of times and not yet convinced it was worthy of a penalty award, Harry took it well. I’m sure Janssen would have too as he is good at Pens as we know, but is his luck still out?
PSG have quality all over the pitch and when they attacked they were very good but they did leave the back door open at times. Rabiot I liked a lot. They made sure this was no ‘friendly’ but a competitive game. Their own fault they went down to 10 men and Spurs took the rightful advantage. First pre-season game so players are rusty and from the seniors I can say that about Dier, Dele, and yes Kane too. The youngsters and other fringe players went for it as they were out to impress. KWP and Onomah in my opinion aren’t ready for the PL yet. Maybe Josh needs to go on loan to a League 1 or Championship side until Christmas at least. We have a baller in TOB so it will be good to keep tabs on his progress. GKN showed enough glimpses that he warrants another season under Poch – impact Sub maybe. He proved in his battle with Alves that he is no physical chicken, he just has to curtail his headless impression of one when he gets into or around the box.
A thoroughly enjoyable game to watch, and I’m glad I stayed up to the early hours to watch it.
For a full bells and whistles report with team line-ups and kick by kick action you should visit Paul Smiths Spurs Odyssey site at this link:- Match Report
For a match VLOG you can’t do better than visit the delightful Anna on YouTube at this link:- @SpursXY VLOG
Chris Cowlin’s Fan Cam is here too:- Fan Cam