18/08/2014 12:24 BST | Updated 18/10/2014 06:59 BST

After Guffawing Their Way Out Of Upton Park, Spurs Fans Face Sober Reflection


Eric Dier's last minute winner by Richard Swarbrick

Every football fan knows that the best route to a derby victory is the one that inflicts the most dismay and humiliation on the opposition. When Spurs had Naughton sent off midway through the first half on Saturday and West Ham's Mark Noble, who hadn't missed a penalty for five years, placed the ball on the spot, the home fans were already celebrating a fourth victory on the spin against the team they most love to hate. So young Eric Dier's winning goal, despatched in the dying seconds of the game, meant sheer, wretched abasement for the locals. Oh how the Spurs faithful laughed as they bowled out of the Boleyn ground. But once the guffawing stopped - around about Monday lunchtime - the process of sober reflection began.

There were some upsides in the largely mediocre Tottenham display, notably the performances of Bentaleb, Capoue, Rose and the awesome debutant Dier who managed to be the team's outstanding centre half, right back and finisher all in the same game. But there was a lack of cohesion about the team as a whole and none of the attacking players that started - not even the feted Eriksen - played particularly well. The new improved Lamela failed to materialise; he looked just as tentative and off the pace as he did last time he appeared in the Premier League all those months ago. Lennon was even worse and the decline we saw in him last season looks set to continue. Players who rely on raw pace deteriorate extra-rapidly with age and in Lennon we are seeing the living proof. He has been a great servant with the emphasise on the has been.

Lamela, though, is worth persevering with. He was visibly disappointed when he was taken off which at least suggests that he's up for the challenge; let's not forget how long it took Bale to stop looking feckless.

In the central attacking positions, Adebayor and Eriksen will play better. What was intriguing was Pochettino's decision to bring on Harry Kane in preference to Roberto Soldado late on. If Spurs can get in Destro of Roma and/or Remy from QPR, expect Soldado and either Townsend, or preferably Lennon, to be invited to leave.

At the back, Vertonghen plus Dier suddenly looks like being the best central pairing unless Levy can revive the deal to bring in Mateo Musacchio from Villarreal. Dawson failing to get in ahead of the new kid seems to spell the end of him as a regular first teamer and he too could be gone by September.

Also unlikely to be seen again is former folk hero Sandro who couldn't even make the bench on Saturday. The scale of his decline has been precipitous since his big injury and Sherwood's decision to marginalise him last term has now been effectively rubber stamped by Pochettino. If Levy can get any kind of fee for him, he'll be off too and it is to be hoped that Southampton's Morgan Schneiderlin arrives as a ready made 'beast' mark two.

The manager may use Thursday's Europa League qualifier in Cyprus to give the late World Cup home comers Paulinho, Dembele, Vertonghen and Chadli some match practice as they start to stake their claims. The only thing that we can be reasonably certain of right now is that Pochettino's preferred eleven, when it settles down in the autumn, will bear little resemblance to Saturday's line up which somehow makes the purloining of the points all the more sweet.