Tottenham managed to grind out three points with a late goal against Brighton, but Mauricio Pochettino must change his attacking tactics against West Ham.
Christian Eriksen’s scintillating strike in the 88th minute saved Tottenham an embarrassing draw versus Brighton. Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino knows his side must play a much different game this weekend if they want to see off West Ham.
In fairness to Tottenham, they can expect their London rivals to play a much more aggressive game than the Seagulls did on Tuesday. Chris Hughton’s team clearly came into their match against Spurs with a staunch directive to keep 11 men behind the ball and defend at all costs. It’s always difficult to break down that sort of side.
However, the inability of Fernando Llorente or Vincent Janssen to do anything at the striker position almost cost Tottenham a precious two points. That’s why you should expect Pochettino to drop them both from the starting XI this weekend.
Llorente was by far the weaker of the two players. He got the start largely based on his massive Champions League goal at Manchester City, but he was invisible for most of the match against Brighton. The idea of Llorente makes a lot of sense against a side that wants to sit deep. He is a tall striker who has a real knack for heading the ball into the goal. Unfortunately, he couldn’t find any space against Brighton’s centre backs. As such, Llorente was largely a lamp-post that barely touched the ball in the final third.
Janssen actually looked bright once he came on as a substitute in the second half, but it’s obvious Pochettino doesn’t rate him. Per Football London, the Dutch striker did get a dazzling ovation from the home fans once he entered the match, but it was his first appearance for Spurs in ages. Injuries have been an issue for Janssen, but he wasn’t even given a squad number to start the campaign. It would take a minor miracle to get him back into Pochettino’s good graces.
Fortunately for Spurs, there’s an easy solution. Pochettino must simply go back to his original plan for coping with Harry Kane’s absence. Specifically, that means that Heung-Min Son should get the start up front against the Hammers.
He’s not the physical No. 9 that’s going to hammer crosses home with his head, but it’s obvious that Son does his best work in the middle of the pitch. His clever running can befuddle opposing defenders and his pace and trickery frequently allow him to fire shots at goal at will. He’s the right choice for Pochettino on the weekend.