Tough times at White Hart Lane
It’s a strange environment at Spurs currently. They are playing in a new stadium and drawing big crowds, but I have the feeling that losing the Champions League final – and the fact they still haven’t won any trophies – was very frustrating for the manager and players.
They’ve done such an amazing job for five or six years, and have improved so much collectively and individually, but in sport you are either a winner or a loser and during this period, Spurs have been the loser every time. So, in their minds, they’re thinking about how hard they’ve worked and how close they’ve been to winning something, but have failed.
If you’ve tried the same thing over and over again and you don’t get what you feel you deserve, it’s only human that your motivation and your communication won’t be the same any more. The feeling you get from the managers and players won’t be the same any more.
This is compounded by constant speculation about the manager and players leaving. Especially Christian Eriksen, who in my opinion is their best player alongside Son Heung-Min.
If you combine all these factors, you can sense how things must feel inside the dressing room. It’s cloudy, it’s not sunny.
The manager still has to try to find words to motivate the players and convince them that what he’s doing is the right way to win trophies. After all this time, I wonder what level Pochettino’s communication with his players is at.
What does he say to them? It’s something I’ve been asking myself since the start of the season, as he seems frustrated on the bench and the situation with Eriksen is annoying him.
I’ve been a player and I can tell you that winning a trophy is the most difficult thing in football.
If you keep getting close and don’t do it, you start to think that maybe you’re not good enough, or that you’re not at the right club. You think that maybe it’s time to look for a new place or a new vision. I’m sure there are players asking themselves these questions, as will be Pochettino.
They have a quality team with quality players but the Spurs we’ve seen since the start of the season is not the Spurs I know. They look heavy, without creativity. No inspiration, no happiness, no desire.
I’m not a Tottenham fan, but I’m worried for them. The competition is very tight, even more so than last year. It will be very difficult for them to win anything this season.
David Luiz is like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, like Hulk and Bruce Banner. He can do great things in terms of leadership and aggression, spirit and mentality.
We all know his warrior qualities, but we also know that he be off his game for many reasons, and that he takes many risks when it comes to positioning and possession.
You don’t know what to expect from him at any given time.
He was brought in during the closing stages of the transfer window so he’s a good bargain, but the reality is that if he plays 40 games in a season, he’ll make many individual mistakes.
Nicolas Pépé will come good for Arsenal
I’m not surprised by Nicolas Pépé’s performance against Liverpool. I thought he was the best Arsenal player on the pitch. He was the only one who looked like he was a danger to the Liverpool defence. Every time he got the ball in space, he was a real threat.
He also made a good impression against Burnley the previous week, so I was surprised that Unai Emery didn’t start him alongside Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang. I didn’t really understand Emery’s tactics – the philosophy or the approach – at Anfield.
Pépé was quite isolated, even though he tried to combine with Aubameyang. The two had great chances, but they were unlucky, with Pépé missing while in on the goalkeeper and Aubameyang almost pulling off a chipped effort. After that, Arsenal’s only threat looked to be the counter-attack – but how can you do that with just two up top?
Pépé will show the Premier League what he’s made of.
He looks skinny and fragile but he’s very toned and very fast – and of course superb with the ball at his feet. He speaks the same football language as Lacazette and Aubameyang in terms of movement and passing.
It’s just a bit frustrating that Arsenal haven’t played slightly more offensively so far. It was only in the last 20 minutes of the Liverpool match that Emery made the decision to put three up front – and we saw straight away that the face of the team changed. I hope the manager will have the guts to do what Jurgen Klopp does with his front three – Emery needs to do the same with Arsenal.