With Manchester United facing Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on Saturday, we posed several questions to members of the Shelf Side Spurs forum.
Streford End Arising: What are your thoughts on Saturday’s game?
BigDub: Just excited for the start of another season. I’m anticipating an exciting game with chances for both sides. Curious to see how our young midfield players cope with your newly purchased juggernauts. Hopeful we can get a point. 1-1 or 2-2.
starfish: Mixed emotions: excited for the new season, and pleased to get one of the ‘big boys’ out of the way so soon. On the other hand, United tore through us last time we played them so slightly nervous it could happen again.
SEA: What team and formation is Pochettino likely to field?
BigDub: 4-2-3-1….the Pochettino special. I’d expect to see something like:
Lloris; Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Dembele, Bentaleb; Lamela, Eriksen, Chadli; Kane.
SEA: How have Spurs fared in pre-season?
BigDub: Pre-season has gone fine for Spurs, barring the absolutely ridiculous scheduling that was done. 4 days after last season we were in Malaysia and Australia playing friendlies. Now, with just days until the start of the season, we are in Germany playing Real Madrid and AC Milan. And in between those two things were 3 closed door friendlies. So, I have no doubt we will be fit and ready for the new season….but can help but feel the organisation and scheduling could have been handled much, much better.
starfish: Not too bad, but bear in mind that Spurs’ pre seasons are no barometer for what will actually happen. I seem to recall Juande Ramos leading us to plenty of pre season wins before being sacked after getting just two points from eight games when the actual league kicked off!
SEA: Is Pochettino the manager to take Spurs forward?
BigDub: Yes, absolutely. He has a vision for how he wants the club to be run and his emphasis on younger player development is a truly refreshing change of pace in today’s transfer-fee driven market.
Yidly didly: Long term I think not but he’s ok for now. I don’t see the excitement or flair in our game at the moment, which is why I followed Spurs in the first place.
BrooklynYid: Nope, not a top level manager.
starfish: I remain unconvinced, but am willing to keep an open mind and support him while he’s here. Whilst he does tend to get the best out of our young players, there’s been a few times where I’ve been puzzled by his tactics, line-ups or substitutions.
Why Do We Bother?: His plan is excellent, it will depend if he can get that plan to work on the field, it’s going to take at least another two years, and by then we should see 75% of the starting 11 home grown players who have Spurs in their blood..will he get the time though?
SEA: What are your expectations for the 2015-16 season?
BigDub: Similar to last season. I think we are still a couple of signings away from truly competing for top 4. A winger, striker and another CM should probably be brought in. Even without those additions, though, I think we have a squad capable of another 5th place finish and long cup run.
Yidly didly: Top 6, another final maybe, with hopefully a win this time. I’d take any silverware to be honest, it’s been too long for a club of our expectations.
SEA: Do you think you will break the top four this season?
BigDub: Not without probably 3 new signings. We are in desperate need of another striker, winger and probably a CM. If we can address these things before the window closes our chances will undoubtedly improve. We’d still be the underdogs to be sure, but the added depth and versatility in attack would definitely help.
SEA: Have you been happy with your signings this windows? What else do you still need?
BigDub: Yes… our defence was god awful last season, so it’s nice to see the club address it with the signings of Alderweireld, Trippier and Wimmer. That said, like I mention above, we are still short particularly up top and on the wing. We absolutely have to address these positions. If we are able to do so before the window shuts it will have been a very successful summer. Shipping out the dead weight has been vital.
SEA: Harry Kane – real deal or one season wonder?
BigDub: He’s the real deal. The wide range of skills he displayed last season were simply too good for a player who is just a one season wonder. He’s got great vision, a tireless workrate, strength to hold up the play and a finishing touch to rival anyone in the league IMO. Hope he’s here to lead our line for years to come.
starfish: He’s a young player and can only get better, however such is football these days that if he has another season like last year, he will inevitably get snapped up by one of the super-rich clubs. Boo!
skiathospurs: What he did to players like Terry, Cahill and Arsenal`s back 4 takes talent. He is the perfect professional , he isn’t going to fill many column inches with tittle tattle gossip, but like Lineker and Shearer he just lives to play and score goals. Sorry, but he will be with us well after the new stadium in 2018. He also brings a level of professionalism and aspiration to a whole bunch of talent coming through, he is a perfect example for our kids, unlike Sterling, that Villa kid and many others who waste away their talent.
BrooklynYid: Flash in the pan I’m afraid. Nothing your lot would be interested in.
SEA: Tell us more about Dele Alli?
BigDub: Don’t know all that much about him outside of the fantastic season he had for MK last year. The rest of my knowledge of him comes primarily from YouTube. That said, in the brief glimpses I’ve seen in preseason he looks a very promising young player. Looked more than comfortable being on the same field with Real Madrid. Wouldn’t be at all surprised if he turned into a very important player for us this season.
starfish: Looked really good, I mean REALLY good playing for MK Dons last year (as Unite found out to their cost). But just because he can look decent playing against Colchester doesn’t necessarily mean he can cut it in the Premier League – it’s a big step up. But he’s young, seems eager to learn and – as stated above – Pochettino seems to have that knack of handling young players really well. Spurs is a good move for him.
SEA: Which young Spurs players are worth keeping an eye on for the future?
BigDub: Kane and Nabil Bentaleb are known quantities compared to the others, but offer so much promise for our future. I’ve also got extremely high hopes for Dele Alli, Harry Winks, Josh Onomah Nathan Oduwa and Cameron Carter-Vickers. Hoping they can all become first team regulars in the near future.
SEA: What are your thoughts on the new stadium?
Yidly didly: White Hart Lane died for me in 1980 when they knocked down the old west stand and built that monstrosity we have today, with the final nail being the day they closed the shelf. The new one looks fantastic. Can’t come soon enough.
Lilywhite74: Mixed emotions–necessary to move forward, and looks beautiful, but bittersweet.