I didn’t watch either of the first two preseason friendlies but the reports were that we played mostly U-21 guys since all of our starting lineup played in the Euros or Copa. I just finished watching the final preseason match against Inter Milan. It was good.
First, a couple of regulars were missing. Wanyama couldn’t get a visa in time. Vertonghen is recovering from an ankle issue and may miss the first game of two of the season. Wimmer didn’t play for Vertonghen and I’m not sure why since he was really good covering for him last season. Son is playing for South Korea at the Olympics. Dembele has 4 games left on his suspension so I think they’re leaving him out of the squad to ready for the start of the season. Chadli and Bentaleb were told to find new clubs. Pritchard was sent on load to Norwich earlier this week. Yedlin is rumored to be loaned or bought by new coach David Moyes at Sunderland and didn’t travel with the team. Otherwise, we played a strong starting lineup in a standard 4-5-1 configuration:
Eriksen, Alli, Lamela
Rose, Alderverald, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Walker
The first half was up and down. Inter looked strong in attack and our defense looked unorganized and easy to counter. Most frequently this was on the Walker/Carter-Vickers side. Cameron Carter-Vickers (CCV) is one of our U-21 guys who looked out of his depth in the other two preseason matches. I guess Poche is giving him a run when there’s no consequence. Our offense looked good, though. Fast on the counter, crisp and clever passing, and lots of driving runs (mostly on the left with Rose/Eriksen/Alli). We took an early lead with a Kane PK. Inter leveled with a counter-attack that split Walker and CCV. Then some slick passing between Walker/Alli/Kane set up Lamela at the top of the 18 with a clear shot and he sniped it into the top corner like a boss. 2-1 Tottenham at half.
In the second half we made some subs and lined up 4-4-2 but played like a narrower 4-2-2-2 formation:
Davies, Aldervierald, CCV, Trippier
We quickly unlocked the Inter D, creating and finishing opportunities. Alli put in our third. Kane our fourth. More subs came on. Janssen poached our fifth. More subs came on. And a young striker deeeeeeeeep in the academy scored our sixth. 6-1 final score. And we played like it, certainly in the second half. Inter is Italy’s 4th best team and we destroyed them. Clinical passing and overlaps created lots of opportunities. We could have scored a seventh but Kane hit the crossbar on a header and Lamela’s half-scorpion kick (!) off the rebound from 4 yards out went over the bar.
Our default is to run up the wings but we created most of our scoring chances through the middle. It’s a very complete attack. Janssen looks awesome. He communicated well with Alli and Kane, creating lots of 1-2 passes and opening up slicing runs. Our defense tightened up in the second half. Alderverald was somehow everywhere all the time. Trippier is less athletic than Walker and doesn’t rely on his speed to help him recover on D. Perhaps that left CCV less exposed. Lamela was ferocious in his effort on and off the ball, and could have had a second goal had he not laid it on a platter for Harrison to score the 6th.
I’m so wet for this team. 8 days to kickoff!