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Tottenham still have to improve on some key areas

Sunday 24th September 2017
Mauricio Pochettino has worked wonders with a Tottenham side that were formerly a good team, but not a great one. The Argentine manager has led the London side to two near misses in the Premier League, while they have been learning their trade in the Champions League this and last year, following a number of years out of the competition.

This season, they find themselves in fourth place in the league with 11 points, five shy of top two Manchester City and United. After a tough loss to Chelsea at Wembley Stadium and a draw with Burnley, the fact Spurs are technically just two wins from going top is not a bad return.

Indeed, Tottenham took a valuable three points from their game against West Ham today at the London Stadium, a ground that has proved a stumbling block for Pochettino's side in the recent past. Their 3-2 win was a hard-earned one which will give the side confidence, but there were underlying issues with their win that could hinder them in the future.

First and foremost, was their inability to kill the game off. Tottenham were three goals clear early in the second-half and seemed to be cruising. However, the hosts found a way back into the game with goals from Javier Hernandez and Cheikhou Kouyate, but it proved to be too little too late.

While it was vital that they found a way to take all three points, the manner in which Pochettino's men stumbled over the line will worry the manager. The likes of Manchester City and Chelsea do not every really look like they will concede a three-goal advantage in a game. While Manchester United were able to defend a one-goal advantage over Southampton this evening, with a show of their defensive strength evident.

If Tottenham want to become a title challenging side, they must learn how to win ugly and, when they have an advantage, they must make the most of it. Of course, it is to Tottenham's credit that they did still win, but on a different day, and against a better team they would have been punished.

Second is the inconsistent form of Dele Alli. To the credit of Harry Kane and Christian Eriksen, the two seem to always be having a fairly good game, while even if they are not playing particularly well, they are still able to have an impact upon the game.
For Alli though, when he is playing poorly, he is absolutely awful. Today, his first touch was woeful, passes went astray, his shooting was abysmal and he was just generally anonymous throughout the game. West Ham were able to deal with him relatively easily and this was to the detriment of Tottenham, as one of their most creative and influential players went missing. Of course, Alli did supply the assist for Kane's goal, but it was a rare display of the classy player he is.

Tottenham are a side that will continue to grow and improve over the next few years. Pochettino is a superb manager and the players are young and eager to learn and improve, which has been the reason why Spurs have been building with every year that goes by.

If the London side are to now take themselves to the next level then they must learn how to close games out, while Pochettino must find a way to help Alli to shun any in-game slumps that hurt his overall performances. If Pochettino can achieve both of these things, then Tottenham may finally get their hands on the silverware they so crave.
Ben Darvill

I graduated with an upper second class degree in English and Creative writing from Cardiff Metropolitan University. I have been a freelance sports writer since leaving University and have written for a number of online websites. I am a Chelsea and England fan but I enjoy watching any team play as I have an intense passion for football.


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