I feel as positive as I have ever felt after a 4-1 defeat. Yes, we capitulated after Fazio was sent off, but until then, we created many good opportunities against City and could have scored several goals. Had one of Mason’s first-half efforts gone in, we might have been looking at a different result.
In particular, I feel it’s important to defend Roberto Soldado after he was pilloried in sections of the media after yesterday’s match. Here’s the thing. He played well.
Soldado provided the perfectly weighted assist for Christian Eriksen’s goal, splitting one of the meanest defences in the country. At half-time, fellow blogger Spurs Fanatic tweeted “Soldado’s touches, layoffs, one touch play and passing has been excellent. If only we can create a shooting chance for him!” We did, and his excellent reflex shot from within the box would have burst the net on another day, but he was up against Joe Hart in form good enough to make the BBC Premier League team of the day.
Soldado also won a penalty. He struck this on target, towards the corner, but again, Joe Hart made a great save. Soldado has been criticised for not hitting it hard enough, and Steve McManaman laid into him on BT Sport for a lazy run-up- but if you look at Aguero’s run-ups for his penalties that day, they look even more lazy. On Match of the Day Robbie’s involvement in some excellent defensive work was completely ignored.
This was Soldado’s first Premier League start this season. Unless he scores, the media are keen to hang him out to dry. Give the guy a break. His work-rate and team-play was excellent. If he was playing in the team of a few years ago, with van der Vaart, Bale and Modric providing ammunition, he would bag hatfuls of goals. Instead, he is doing the best he can in a system that suits a tall, physically imposing, mobile centre-forward. He is not that player, but should not be hung out to dry as a consequence. He is a victim of inappropriate recruitment, not an inadequate player.
We now go into a run of games that look very winnable. We are on the same points as Arsenal and United, and sit ahead of Liverpool and Everton. We’ve played Liverpool, City, Arsenal and top-four surprise packages Southampton and West Ham. The team are still learning to play with Pochettino’s philosophy. We will get better. COYS.