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Monday Hoddle of Coffee, Tottenham Hotspur Weekend Recap, November 28, 2016

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Spurs are still fifth best.

Chelsea v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images

The bad news: Our unbeaten run in the league is over.

The good news: We can’t go unbeaten and finish fifth, which would have been Spursy as hell, you have to admit.

The bad news: We dropped more points in the league.

The good news: We actually looked decent for long chunks of play.

After this game I feel much better about my basic take on Poche and this year’s Spurs team:

  • Pochettino is certainly an above-average manager, but he has some notable issues that keep him a clear cut below managers like Jurgen Klopp, Pep Guardiola, and Antonio Conte.
  • Spurs are obviously the fifth best team in the EPL at the moment.
  • Spurs with last season’s best XI might be the fourth best team (leapfrogging Arsenal) but are almost certainly a clear step behind Liverpool, City, and Chelsea.
  • Pochettino’s two biggest issues are not surprising, given his strengths as a manager: He is stubborn and he struggles when forced to innovate. That said, he has attempted to innovate more in the past two months than he has at any point in his career. So there are signs of growth and reasons for optimism.
  • Spurs’ summer signings range from calamitously bad (Sissoko) to not-great-now-but-give-them-time (Janssen and Nkoudou) to totally-decent-but-breaks-every-system-he’s-played-in (Wanyama).
  • This is probably the big story of the season for Spurs: We needed a backup for Kane, a backup for Alderweireld, and a backup for Dier/Dembele. We got a young, extremely raw backup for Kane, we got a fine backup for Dier/Dembele who kinda breaks us despite being individually good because of how he doesn’t work great in our system, and we didn’t get a backup for Alderweireld because we have Dier. But if Dier’s backup isn’t great, then even if Dier slides in well for Toby, it doesn’t necessarily matter because now our midfield is broken. Oh, and we spent £30m on Mousa freaking Sissoko because Daniel Levy apparently heard Roman Abramovich gloating about how many stupid big-money signings he’s made and then went, “Hey Roman. Hold my beer.”

Here’s the last bit of good news: We’re playing the derpiest team in the league not named Crystal Palace this weekend. That should be three points. Meanwhile, Arsenal are at West Ham and United is at Everton, so there’s a chance they’ll both drop points. Finally, Chelsea and City are playing each other so one or both of them will drop points. So this weekend is potentially a great chance to gain ground on Arsenal, Chelsea, and City, to grow the margin between us and United, and to perhaps get a solid 90 minutes of football in after an absolutely wretched November.

Looking past this weekend, our remaining fixtures after a home clash with Swansea are:

  • AT United
  • Hull City
  • Burnley
  • AT Southampton
  • AT Watford

There isn’t a single fixture on that list that is unwinnable. Trips to United, Southampton, and Watford will be tricky, but each of those are manageable, especially with the form United is in. After January 1, it’s entirely possible we’ll be back in the top four, even if we probably don’t deserve to be.

On to the links:

It could be worse y’all. We could be Man United.

The Ballad of AVB

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