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5 Questions with Cartilage Free Captain

We joined forces with SB Nation’s Tottenham Hotspur blog to talk about this weekend’s match.

Tottenham Hotspur v Everton - Premier League Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

Many thanks to Sean (GN Punk) from our fellow SB Nation blog Cartilage Free Captain for taking the time to chat with us ahead of Everton’s home match against Tottenham Hotspur this weekend.


RBM: Spurs sold Kyle Walker, and Danny Rose remains injured. Serge Aurier is obviously in the fold. Will he play on Saturday, and how is Pochettino adjusting without what used to be inarguably the best pair of fullbacks in the division?

CFC: When the rumors came out that Walker wanted out, they seemed kind of silly but by May, all of us at Cartilage Free figured he was gone. We had hoped that the club figured out that when selling a player of Walker's caliber that bringing in someone to replace him is logical.

Fast forward to deadline day where the club finally bought Serge Aurier, who is probably the best option Spurs had available to buy but now have dropped five points in their first three matches. Kieran Trippier is the new Ryan Mason for our squad (I know that'll piss people off, but it's not wrong.) where one segment of the fanbase thinks he's great and the correct segment of the fanbase realize he isn't good enough to start regularly for Spurs. Kyle Walker-Peters is probably the future, but he isn't ready even though he did fine against Newcastle in the opener. I honestly wouldn't have minded him starting against either Chelsea or Burnley. Maybe he wouldn't have jogged back in stoppage time against Burnley!

The left side strategy is basically "Run Ben Davies until his legs fall off." Danny Rose, thankfully, is expected back by the end of the month. Of course, there's that little issue with him doing an interview with The Sun and pissing off Poch, but I digress...

*Does a shot of whiskey*

RBM: Tottenham obviously failed to sign Ross Barkley this summer, but even still, he wouldn't have seen the pitch till at least December thanks to injury. Is there any hand-wringing among Spurs fans over the lack of depth in central midfield, or are Eric Dier and Harry Winks sufficient cover?

CFC: Is it bad that I only want Ross Barkley now because he decided to tell Chelsea to jump off a bridge to spite Everton?

Honestly, while the depth in midfield is a little worrisome, there hasn't been much hand-wringing. Davinson Sanchez being brought into the club means Dier can focus more on midfield again, though don't be surprised to see him still pulling platoon duty in a back three. That gives Spurs four viable options in a midfield two: Dembele, Dier, Wanyama, Winks. Dele Alli can play deeper if necessary, but we only saw that a couple of times last season so it's not a long term solution.

Everton v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images

RBM: One time Everton target Moussa Sissoko has played in all three of Spurs' league matches so far. After the rumors that he was on his way to France or Turkey, has Pochettino welcomed him in from the cold, or are his minutes borne out of necessity?

CFC: Definitely the latter of the two. There is no reality right now where I believe Sissoko is going to be on this club after this season. It could be Poch trying to get literally anything viable out of him, but as soon as Erik Lamela is rebuilt into the football version of the Six Million Dollar Man and is fully fit, Sissoko's minutes will diminish. Of course, Lamela is dead until confirmed otherwise so this is basically hoping that me throwing a penny into a wishing well results in winning the lottery.

RBM: In the past, Spurs' haven't been known for a great ability to balance European competition and the Premier League. Do you think that Tottenham are deep enough to change that this season, and if so, how?

CFC: No.

Spurs went into the summer with the following agenda to complete:

1) Find a replacement for Kyle Walker.

2) Depth at CB and CM.

3) Add to the attack.

Bullet point one was resolved on deadline day. Bullet point two was only partially addressed with Sanchez, and that didn't happen until August. Bullet point three was apparently lost in a paper shredder along the way. Spurs still have an outstanding Starting XI, but there is little coming off the bench that strikes fear into other teams.

RBM: First Rose, now Toby Alderweireld. Do you think Spurs' wage structure is going to handicap the impressive project being built by Daniel Levy and Mauricio Pochettino?

CFC: The wage structure is what it is, but players know this coming to Tottenham. The club is up front about the structure and transfer policy, and players still sign here. There is plenty of info out there that Kyle Walker went to the club at the end of the season and asked to be transferred north. The club accepted it and worked out the deal with City. Spurs got a dump truck full of money. Kyle got paid. City got a great fullback. Everyone ended up getting what they wanted.

Toby Alderweireld's agent is doing what an agent is supposed to do: Make noise and fight for his client. I ultimately believe Toby will get a new deal and it'll be sooner rather than later. As for Danny Rose, that's a textbook case of what not to do. He signed a new deal last season, then goes to a tabloid known for it's shoddy reputation, and complains about the structure. Rose will get back into the squad, but who knows what'll happen with him down the road.