Connect with us


Dembele appearance a gentle reminder of depth of Tottenham squad

What a night was had by all in attendance at Wembley on Wednesday. Those Tottenham fans who made the journey to northwest London will still be eulogising to anyone who will listen after seeing their side dismantle reigning European and world champions Real Madrid with such consummate ease.

Plucky little Spurs – so long the butt of the jokes in the nation’s capital and always the bridesmaid – put the mighty Real to the sword and qualified for the last 16 of the Champions League with two games to spare. This was a coming of age.

Yet, what surprised this enthralled onlooker most wasn’t Harry Winks making Luka Modric and Toni Kroos looked like also-rans, nor Kieran Trippier resembling Cafu down the right flank, but the appearance of Mousa Dembele – I simply forgot he existed.

Lack of spending hasn’t hindered Spurs

There have been substitute appearances in the Premier League recently, but the Belgium international’s appearance didn’t strike the same chord as it did against Real. Dembele’s, somewhat abrasive, cameo appearance got me thinking – how could I forget the existence of such a talent, a player Pochettino labelled a “genius” back in March?

We have been told that Spurs, who took until final moments of the summer transfer window to sign even one player, don’t have the depth of their big spending rivals.

Manchester City spent almost double Spurs’ entire summer outlay on full-backs. Tottenham’s lack of activity was meant to be their undoing, and the renaissance in recent seasons was about to come to an abrupt end.

Take City out of the equation – they are the Roman Centurion, towering over 19 other civilians who, on paper, are no match for their might – but when examining the rest of the Premier League clubs’ strength in depth, Spurs’ is right up there.

Rivals have spent, but still struggle

Manchester United have plundered over £600million on players since Sir Alex Ferguson left a team of champions, but take Paul Pogba out of that line-up and they have looked anything but a champions elect once again.

Chelsea have looked incredibly fragile in the absence of N’Golo Kante, Arsenal have plenty of midfield creativity at their disposal, but delve a little deeper, and there isn’t a huge amount of cover in the positions, while Liverpool always seem to falter whenever Sadio Mane picks up an injury, such is their lack of a Plan B.

The argument that Spurs cannot compete in terms of squad depth has become something of a moot point – there is so much ability in the Spurs ranks that Real’s conquerers have not missed a midfielder as dynamic as Dembele one bit. Winks has overcome years in limbo to dominate in the middle of the park, Moussa Sissoko has started to look like the player Daniel Levy loosened the purse strings for, while Eric Dier remains equally adept in the centre of defence or midfield.

Pochettino always knows best

We should know by now, not to question Pochettino. Time and again he has proved the doubters wrong as Spurs continually improve. He warned us in August, but we didn’t listen.

“I think we have an unbelievable squad,” Pochettino said. “Last season the club made a big investment and signed unbelievable players. The most important thing is to develop our players.”

And develop he has. Pochettino has to take a huge amount of credit for Winks dominating the ball against the best central midfielders on the planet, for Trippier helping himself to five assists already, and there is so much more to come.

Victor Wanyama is nearing a return, as is Erik Lamela. Danny Rose, a reported £50m target for United, will struggle to get back in the side. As for Dembele, even he might have to play a waiting game. Not bad for a side who made a profit in there summer transfer dealings.

Recent Posts