While you can never take too much from a single game and I do think there will be an occasion for playing Wanyama and Dier alongside one another, the Everton game wasn’t a great advert.
There are also some positives to take from the game in the form of positive in-game tactical changes from Pochettino – aided by his growing squad. Janssen came on which facilitated a change in personnel throughout the spine and Eriksen and Lamela switched to behave more like traditional wingers.
Any one of Dier, Wanyama or Vertonghen could have come off for the change and I suspect Dier was taken off due to the number of minutes he’s played in the last year and also to show a level of support to new signing Wanyama, who had a fairly poor first half to the game.
Kane also looked off the pace last weekend leading to concerns about long term fatigue built up from 2 year of nearly non-stop football. That’s possible, and concerning, but just as likely is that he’s sensibly, slowly building up his fitness at the moment which leaves him a little bit pre-season-y at the moment but is much better in the long term.
Palace have essentially swapped Bolasie for Benteke. We’ve arrived in the sweet spot in this regard as the latter is unlikely to be ready for Saturday although he may come on as a late sub.
Benteke, although technically gifted, is something of an old fashioned forward in that he thrives from crosses from out wide. Liverpool were not suited to him in that regard and while Palace play out-and-out wingers in Zaha and Townsend, we Spurs fans know just how keen Townsend is to dummy the cross to allow him to move inside for a low percentage long shot opportunity. Zaha is maybe not as bad, but similar.
In the meantime Palace will have to make do with Connor Wickham who provides an out ball and targetman contributions to the build-up play but just can’t put the ball in the back of the net.
Pardew has apparently suggested he wants to bring a Barcelona style of play to Selhurst park this season (ha!) and maybe by that he means: ‘we don’t have any good strikers so we’ll just play with three wingers and hit on them with pace on the break’
Insisting on starting Yohan Cabaye in a midfield two continues to cause Palace defensive problems when in possession but it’s unlikely that there will be any opportunities for that this weekend.
Back to Spurs and three more games without Mousa Dembele. Alli represents the most similar first XI-er to The Moose so we could line-up similar to the second-half against Everton.
But creativity is crucial for a home game against a defensive opponent. Perhaps Eriksen will drop alongside Dier as he did against Swansea last season or alongside both Alli and Dier in a 433 (Kane on the narrow left).
Ryan Mason and Tom Carroll remain options to Pochettino, even if this option fails to appeal to most fans. The other option is to bring in Harry Winks. This is an idea I originally questioned but have since completely turned around on. This, perhaps risky, but adventurous approach to the game would be my choice.
Demebele isn’t the only absentee. Lloris is out for four weeks with a hamstring injury which has reportedly resulted in explorations into the transfer market for a keeper (if we weren’t already looking). Vorm will stand in for the time being.
Vorm seems to have a fairly low reputation with Spurs fans. He’s made a handful of poor errors in the cup games he’s played but he did play well against Everton. In fact the quality of player that arrived from Swansea had many interpreting his transfer as a precede to Lloris leaving. Surely Vorm was too good to play second string at this stage of his career?
Just about any keeper looks poor when his inclusion in the team interrupts a string of Hugo Lloris performances but I suspect Vorm is the type of keeper who (like many) only perform well with regular starts. Without another coming in we can expect Vorm to be approaching his best just in time for the captain to return.
Opinions on Vorm are at best mixed then, but he is the superior passer to Lloris. Making use of Vorm’s comfort on the ball will aid Spurs in the build-up which, if you’re Pep Guardiola, is just about the most important contribution the goalkeeper can make.