Schalke review + West Ham preview

After the 2-1 victory against the German club, I take a look at the game and what’s to come, with the opening game of the season.

The Schalke game

The start of game was very positive, fast passing, and a lot of movement off the ball. When it was lost, the players pressed high and quickly, trying to win the ball back quickly.

We created a fair amount of chances, but the main occurrence was the players being caught offside. What seemed to be the problem would be the player creating a good run, but it being spotted too late and therefore hitting a pass to an offside player. It isn’t too much of a problem as the players will eventually be more in sync with each other and learn when someone is going to make a run. They will hopefully also learn to spot and make the pass earlier on.

After the start of the second half, several substitutions were made and it really affected the game, and not for the better. Both Harry Kane and Soldado came on, neither performing particularly well. Soldado did score, but even him himself laughed upon seeing the replay. Kane failed to take his chances several times and showed he doesn’t really have the quality to be featured in the squad as often as he is. Soldado did some impressive passing and had great link up play as he always does, however the problem is we bought him to score goals, and so far he hasn’t been good enough.

The main problem with Pochettino’s style is it really doesn’t suit Soldado which means we aren’t really ever going to get the best out of him. The style of play that is being encouraged, requires the striker to move about, including out to the channels. You don’t want Soldado going out wide, he’s a poacher, he needs to be in the box.

The only other problem I’ve seen, is long balls, it seems we force teams to do it with how we press, but if their player gets on the end of it, it causes us problems. This leads me onto my next point…

West Ham

We could end up losing to West Ham just because of our weakness to long balls. West Ham play long ball football all the time, they managed to beat us last time with it, they just could again.

But having only won one pre season game I don’t think it’s likely they will beat us!

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