Analysing Vincent Janssen's impressive home debut for Tottenham
Although in Saturday afternoon’s match with Crystal Palace he didn’t get the dream home debut goal every forward dreams of, Dutchman Vincent Janssen, Tottenham Hotspur’s £17million signing from AZ Alkmaar, put in a creditable shift on his first outing at White Hart Lane. Despite the man himself being luckless in front of goal, his industrious performance was not in vain as Victor Wanyama’s late header ensured the hosts took the points after a hard-earned victory.
22-year-old Janssen’s first Spurs appearance in the Premier League came as a substitute at Goodison Park in a 1-1 draw with Everton on the opening weekend, and after impressing with his cameo on Merseyside, the forward continued where he left off on his first start for his new club and all the indications are there that he will be a big player for the North London club in future.
The Dutchman played as the spearhead of the Tottenham attack, with Harry Kane- who usually occupies the position- playing off him, and he gave Palace skipper Scott Dann a torrid time throughout, and almost opened his account for his new club after Wayne Hennessey parried a Harry Kane effort into his path, but the Welsh international goalkeeper did well to deny him.
The forward also worked tirelessly in Mauricio Pochettino’s system, pressing the Palace centre-halves to not allow them a moment unchallenged on the ball and twice drawing applause from the stands for strong challenges when tracking back to help his team.
His partnership with Kane hasn’t quite had the opportunity to blossom yet, but the link-up play between the two on Saturday afternnoon was encouraging and the signs were there that it could well work for Spurs. It is by no means the finished article, but it will only get better with more games together. Janssen completed 80% of his attempted passes, the majority being between him and the England forward, including two key passes to create goalscoring opportunities.
His own big chance to score came when he was played in on goal by Dele Alli, but the Dutchman horribly miscued when one-on-one with Hennessey. That was Spurs’ best chance of the game before Wanyama’s winner, but the individual goal was all that was missing from his game, after his exceptional work rate drew plaudits from his home crowd.
He is still adapting, having been dispossessed once and miscontrolling on three occasions, but as he sharpens up he’ll more than likely not have to wait long to get off the mark for his new club, particularly if Mauricio Pochettino’s new system with him and Kane together begins to bear fruit.
As well as Janssen’s work ethic, his role as a Number Nine to hold up the ball may open up a world of possibilities for Spurs after his presence as a spearhead allowed Harry Kane to thrive playing a slightly deeper Number Ten role. The Dutchman seems adept from this showing at retaining the ball and drawing fouls in dangerous areas, having been fouled on four occasions by the Palace defence, but furthermore his hold-up play allows Kane to drop off, see more of the ball and create chances and watching England manager Sam Allardyce was impressed by what he saw from Kane in that role. It is likely however that Kane will remain in the Number Nine role for England, but after a successful experiment Mauricio Pochettino now has a new tactical set-up to go on for his Tottenham team if necessary.
It was so very nearly a perfect home start for the Dutchman, but it was simply not be that he would get his first goal on his home debut. The signs however are all encouraging, and Spurs may have a real player on their hands once he gets off the mark and ignites his confidence. If he doesn’t prove himself as potent a goalscorer in the Premier League, then we can expect more goals to come from Harry Kane feeding off his service at the very least.
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