Close sidebar

Opinion: The One Weak Link That Could Cost Spurs Against Juventus

Pochettino man united

Everybody was expecting the worst when Tottenham were 2-0 down within ten minutes away to the Italian champions who usually possess a miserly defence and a significant counter-attacking threat.

Gonzalo Higuain punished some slack marking to peel away and give Juventus a second-minute lead then just a few minutes later Ben Davies gave away a penalty. Higuain converted to double the lead.

The narrative would suggest the North Londoners would crumble and get a hammering but this Tottenham are a different animal under Pochettino. Indeed, their arch foes Arsenal probably would have very possibly folded.

However, this Spurs side have a mental strength about them now which was their Achilles heel in the past. The first ten minutes proved to be a false dawn.

Spurs started getting a foothold in the game as their opponents sat deep.

Mousa Dembele was the best player on the pitch and he was a feature of the dynamism in Pochettino’s side.

Christian Eriksen looked back to his imperious best. They started opening Juve up which is something many sides struggle to do.

When you create chances, Harry Kane will inevitably take one. Eriksen’s free-kick completed the comeback.

In truth, Spurs could have even won but a dominant performance and a 2-2 draw to take back to Wembley makes them favourites to advance.

Massimiliano Allegri’s side looked a shadow of the team who made two Champions League finals in three seasons but they still had chances more so from Tottenham mistakes rather than their own creativity.

Many will point to Serge Aurier’s rashness in giving away the second penalty. The French full-back was fortunate that Douglas Costa did not get more opportunities to take him to the cleaners.

Kieran Trippier has been having a fine season and Pochettino should be convinced he is the much superior option to Aurier.

However, there is a potential weak link further up the pitch that can go unnoticed and that is Eric Dier.

The 24-year-old offers versatility in that he operates in a back three as well as in his favoured midfield position, but he looked suspect at times in Turin.

Dier gave the ball away needlessly at times in midfield. He does not look as comfortable in possession as the rest
of his teammates and that is something that could get exposed in Europe’s elite competition if they are to advance further on.

What does Dier contribute to this Spurs starting XI that Victor Wanyama would not? What is his position?

He is more than a useful squad player as a result of his versatility but that is it.

He should not be starting for a team who has serious ambitions as Tottenham seem to have. If you have a player who will be targeted by the opposition then it is a problem that should be solved.

If he plays in defence against a Real Madrid or Bayern Munich then Cristiano Ronaldo or Robert Lewandowski will be told to stay on him.

If he plays in midfield against a Barcelona or Manchester City then the likes of Ivan Rakitic and Kevin De Bruyne will be urged to press him high up the pitch and make him give the ball away.

He does not even have to be under pressure to surrender possession sometimes.

He is very slow and ponderous and lacks the quick feet to excel at the highest level in midfield. He should certainly not be a central defender.

A jack of many trades but a master of none. It is food for thought for Pochettino going forward.

Vincent O’Shea, Pundit Arena

Read More About: , , , ,

Author: The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team.