Alli lack of discipline is a growing concern: Five things we learned from Fiorentina 1 Tottenham 1
By Editor Wayne Veysey
Alli needs to curb his temper
In what has otherwise been a sensational debut campaign in the English top flight, the midfielder has showed that he is not all sweetness and light. Just like a young Steven Gerrard, the player he is frequently compared to, Dele Alli is prone to the red mist descending and he was extremely fortunate not to be sent off in the first half for an unedifying and unnecessary kick at Nenad Tomovic. After tangling with the Serbian, Alli blatantly kicked his opponent in the stomach while he lay defenceless on the ground. The Spurs man pushed his luck at Watford (Etienne Capoue),against Sunderland (Patrick van Aanholt) and now in Fiorentina. Gifted, certainly. But snide as well.
Spurs are clearing every hurdle
Long-suffering Tottenham fans must be rubbing their eyes in disbelief. Since losing at the King Power Stadium on 13 January, Spurs have registered seven wins and a hugely creditable draw at Fiorentina after making six changes to the team that had won at Manchester City. Twenty goals have been scored in those matches and just five conceded. Those are the statistics of a team who have found the right balance between attack and defence. Spurs have youth, swagger and a formula that is working in all competitions and against all opponents. They are clearing every hurdle that comes their way – and by some distance.
Mason shows leadership skills
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In his first Spurs appearance since late November, the midfield enforcer was handed the captain’s armband by Mauricio Pochettino. Ryan Mason responded with a gritty, committed performance that would have delighted his manager, who had clearly instructed his players to allow the hosts as little time on the ball as possible.
Pochettino has four fine full-backs
It is to the great credit of the system that Pochettino has put in place that he can juggle his full-backs and there is little discernible difference. Kyle Walker and Danny Rose made way for Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies, and the incoming duo responded with fine displays. Davies won the first-half penalty that was converted by Nacer Chadli and Trippier showed that Walker has genuine competition for his place with another eyecatching display at right-back.
Wimmer given two-month run
With Jan Vertonghen ruling himself out until at least the end of March – and possibly 11 matches – Kevin Wimmer will be given an extended opportunity to build upon the good early impression he has made. He delivered a solid display in Florence alongside the outstanding Tony Alderweireld even without the screen of the rested Eric Dier in front of them. In the five matches Spurs have played without Vertonghen, they have conceded just two goals, a consolation strike by Colchester and Iheanacho’s equaliser for City. To say understudy Kevin Wimmer has settled in seamlessly is an understatement.