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Dele Alli’s impressive performance for Spurs was let down by Pochettino’s tactics

This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more… 

Dele Alli was back at his best and rescued a point for Spurs against Watford, but it could have been more if he wasn’t let down by his manager and those around him.

On the chalkboard

The England international has found first-team minutes hard to come by since his return from injury earlier in the season, but he showed signs that he was back to his best on Saturday and tried to get his team going.

However, as is typical of their recent form, Pochettino’s side to failed to get going with other attackers such as Harry Kane and Lucas Moura not involved as much as they should have been, and a negative formation holding Spurs back.

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The Argentine decided to start with three centre-backs, understandable given his side had conceded 13 goals in three games, but not against a Hornets side winless in the league, having scored just four goals and conceded 20 prior to the meeting.

Pochettino realised a mistake was made, too, and decided to swap Son Heung-min for Davinson Sanchez, but it would have been ideal for Alli if the South Korean had started.

An added dimension in attack

Calls from fans for Lucas to feature more were made after the Brighton defeat but he struggled to make an impact on Saturday with 20 passes completed and a pass accuracy of 80%.

That meant Spurs lacked options in attack, and despite Alli’s best efforts to act as the main creator in Christian Eriksen’s absence, he couldn’t find a way through Watford’s defence – until his own effort late on.

It was a situation which could have been avoided had Son started. He provides the pace but also the desire to run in behind, which Lucas lacks, and that failure to stretch the visitors once again made Tottenham too easy to contain, as it was against Brighton and Newcastle, to name two examples.

Alli was a threat throughout, taking the ball past opponents with three successful dribbles and looking to provide chances for his teammates with two key passes – matched only by Erik Lamela.

The Argentina international was another who showed why he shouldn’t be kept on the bench, and had he been on the pitch for longer he could have shared the creative responsibilities with Alli, and in doing so allowed the 23-year-old to get on the end of chances, as he did for his goal.

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Article title: Dele Alli’s impressive performance for Spurs was let down by Pochettino’s tactics

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