MK Dons 1 Spurs 3 (friendly); did we learn anything?

 MK Dons 1 Spurs 3 (friendly); did we learn anything?

We started our third pre-season match sluggishly against the Dons team. The consequences of our slow start saw our opponents go in front but then we quickly got into the game and pulled off a 1-3 away win.

Sergio Reguilón was in the lineup for us at left-back. However, he had an ominous start to the match when he misjudged the situation just under two minutes in. The Don’s had played a long ball down their right, and Reguilón assumed that the ball would go out of bounds, but he was wrong; they got to the ball and earned a corner. A few minutes later, calamity struck. A straightforward ball chipped up the middle, Scott Twine was behind Cameron Carter-Vickers and the Spurs defence. Whiteman came out quickly but irresponsibly and fouled Twine. In a Premier League game, he would have received a yellow. But they got their penalty. However, Whiteman saved face by saving that penalty. It wasn’t until the penalty that we started to settle in and slowly seized possession of the game.

Eventually, Lucas Moura had a nice pass to play in Son, who was rushed behind the defence. As Ravizzoli came running out, Son hit a tiny chip over the keeper and into the net for a 0-1 Tottenham lead.

The first half ended without any real action, other than a couple of excellent tackles from Oliver Skipp and Japhet Tanganga. Skipp showed some qualities in the middle of the park and Tanganga made a nifty block in the box.

But It was Dele’s night, captaining the side and on target. Son, Dele and Lucas Moura were on target and, joined by Steven Bergwijn, were a threat throughout. Lucas was also impressive, claiming the assist for Sonny’s opener, providing the stimulus that led to Dele’s goal and then slotting home the goal he deserved after capitalising on a defensive mistake. That’s three assists and two goals in pre-season so far for the Brazilian. The Final score, 3-1 to us.

Asked about his first month as Coach and his thoughts on MK, Nuno responded: “It’s been good, hard work, especially for the boys. Again, today they did it well. I thought they worked very hard, were well organised and there was some good movement, the way they moved the ball, the speed of the lines and the possession was good. We had more chances, that character of putting the ball in the net is important because if you can score more goals, the better you feel, the more confident you become. Every chance we make, we have to put it away. We are preparing, building, good things, things to correct, it’s always about that. We are trying to reproduce what we’re doing in the training sessions. We must trust in the talent we have and the ability to express ourselves. That’s the way we want it.”

Did we learn anything and possible things to come?

It looks like Nuno favours a 4-3-3 formation unless he is playing mind games on those that are watching. But a 4-3-3 can quickly change into a 4-2-3-1 attacking lineup. We have seen this from all three pre-season friendlies. Dele acting as the deep midfielder who joins in on the attacks. However, as the season progresses, I see him changing things around.

Sergio Reguilon and Matt Doherty were back in the starting lineup, while Hugo Lloris and Ben Davies started from the bench. However, we should see a few more returns over the next week; such as Kane, Lo Celso, Sanchez, and Hojbjerg being the last to come back.

Nile John had impressed me, and I can see him coming off the bench in the season. With three central midfield positions up for grabs, he could get a fair few minutes here and there.

Without Kane, Son led the line as a number nine and two flying wingers on either side in Moura and Bergwijn. This system provides a more high-tempo and pressured design that you don’t see with Harry. Are these glimpses of what is to come?

Thoughts

Some of the players showed what they were made of in our friendlies, while others still have question marks hanging over them. But I am sure it will all come together once we get underway. And of course, newly added players joining us.

All good stuff, but it won’t be anything like the real thing once we start to meet the big boys of the Premier League, with a different team concoction of the ones that played in the pre-season friendlies. Plus a few new added players. But I suppose it makes good target practice and warms the cockles of one’s heart. Next weekend (8th August) we take on Arsenal at our stadium in a London friendly. Which I will be there and looking forward to.

Be safe, Glenn

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