AVB Must Restructure Attack


Ten games into the season and Tottenham are sitting pretty comfortably in fourth position. They have been grinding out results, and have been collecting points due to their strong defence, that has let in only six goals so far. While this is an incredibly flattering statistic, the attack that has only scored nine is certainly cause for concern for Tottenham supporters and for AVB. The main reason behind the lack of goals is, of course, the personnel in attack.

AVB has opted for inside-out wingers on either side of midfield. In recent games, the two players who have been occupying these positions have been Andros Townsend and Aaron Lennon. Neither of these players is suited for the job that is being required of them.

In Townsend’s case, it’s not about a lack of ability, rather a lack of a consistent goalscoring threat. He has amassed an astounding 40 shots, only finding the net on one occasion. While his dribbles are, at times, phenomenal, he has a tendency to shoot from range and therefore killing off attacks.

In the past, Aaron Lennon has been deployed at right wing. The new switch to the left side hasn’t seemed to fit him, and he has shown this. The Englishman’s lack of a left foot has meant that he has to frequently forgo crossing the ball into the box with cutting inside and attempting to find a pass or shoot. His passing has never been his strong point and his goals tally has never been remarkably high.

In addition to the wingers, AVB has decided to give Lewis Holtby a good run in the first team. While the German’s work ethic and short passing is very good, he isn’t a strong creative force that the Lilywhites need, like the Dane he is keeping out of the side – Christian Eriksen. There is no doubt that Holtby is a outstandingly good player, but it’s unlikely to see him thread any exceptional through balls for other players.

All this leads to less service for Spurs new Spanish striker Roberto Soldado. Last season in Spain, the former Valencia man thrived on expert through balls and crosses into the penalty area. Without these chances being created for Soldado, it isn’t surprising that he has only one found the back of the net from open play. If Soldado is to be used properly, some of the personnel behind him must change.

Townsend has thoroughly impressed this season, and deserves a place in the team. However, he could prove to be more effective coming from the left. As a natural left footer, there would be more chance that the 22 year old would attempt to cross the ball into the box more often than simply shooting on sight.

Moving Townsend to the left would leave a gap on the right. This could be a gap that Erik Lamela would most likely love to fill. The Argentinian has found his chances limited, and the Englishman’s presence on the right wing has seen him collect rust on the bench. But, with the chance available, Lamela might prove to be the goalscorer AVB has been looking for, with an impressive tally of 15 goals in Italy last season. He also has a very good creative ability, and could certainly fashion chances for Roberto Soldado.

The final change would be replacing Holtby with the Danish wunderkind Christian Eriksen. Even though his form can be up and down at times, the former Ajax player certainly has an eye for a killer pass and can put others in a very good position to score. This would help Soldado immensely as it means he doesn’t have to fashion chances for himself (one of his much weaker talents) and just focus on executing chances given to him (certainly his best talent).  Soldado is 7/2 to score first against Newcastle which is worth a bet at william hill.

If all these changes are made, expect Tottenham’s attack to become more fluid. This fluidity will, over time, certainly lead to a few extra goals here and there. If AVB doesn’t change the system soon, Spurs could be in some real trouble. Their defence cant do everything.


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  1. I'd like to see Holtby dropped back alongside Sandro or Capoue in front of the back 4 for some games and let Eriksen play behind Soldado ….not saying every game but there are games we should take by the scruff of the neck and attack not play keep ball with no purpose.

    • Spot on, clicked on this article so i could post the very same comment. There has been tenuous links to Pirlo in the past, but i see Holtby filling this type of role. At home in particular, him along side either one of Sandro, Capoue and Paulinho. It allows for both him and Eriksen to play in the same team or god forbid actually playing two forwards, and the only one that would compliment Soldado would not be Defoe but the other guy who is so low he may actually be dying, apparently! lets bring him back to life.

      • Would be interesting to see holtby and eriksen play the creative part and sandro/capoue behind them to make sure the defense is ok. i don't think paulinho can play as an defensive mid., as he likes to get forward and would leave a gap behind. … the change with two players playing the number '10' would be nice and remember we still have a youth player who has made an average 80 !!! passes in four games at QPR: Tom Carrol

  2. Very good article and the exact changes I feel we need to make. This thing of using 'inverted wingers' has had it's chance and only works if the opposition 'open up' their play, otherwise we need these two 'foxes' in the box to supply Soldado.

  3. Lamela collecting rust? He's played for us every week – not in Prem as a starter however. Holtby has three assists with throughballs this season in direct contradiction to what the author has written. I suspect this author is too young to have any real wisdom about football. Townsend has been unlucky not to score, the law of averages would dictate that some of his on target shots should have gone in by now? Don't believe me? Just look at what happened when he played for England. The inverted wingers idea is good because it allows reverse passes inside the full back who is usually wrong footed. However, I'd agree that Spurs need to vary it a bit – switch the wingers for part of the game (in the first game at Palace, Lennon played wide right and murdered the full back and we were unlucky not to score from the many cutbacks and crosses – partly due to Palace's excellent covering). The goals haven't flowed for Spurs but I feel it's a matter of time. Getting the defence right is massively important and that's been brilliantly achieved. When Lamela and Eriksen settle in, Soldado, too all will be fine.

  4. agree 100% with this need balls being put across the box with striker like soldado .see why he is getting frustrated as supporter starting to feel the same. coys.

  5. It's worth noting that has Townsend failed in all 40 shots, his goal came from a cross and he admitted it. He's only young so hopefully his decision making will improve, sooner rather than later hopefully!

  6. I think paulinho is not giving us that much he needs to rest as witnessed in the hull city game. He needs rest. I think in other games we need to play with two striker look at city for example they are scoring at will

  7. We simply need to find a way of getting the ball into the box regularly for Robbie and JD to get attempts on target. One of the regular and disappointing sights this season has been the looks of frustration after yet another sharp dart into space inside the box hasn’t been rewarded with the through ball they ( and us ) were expecting. I often feel that our midfield is playing comfort-zone, safety first, even self indulgent football which may look good to the untutored eye but has no end product. Are we entering another George Graham risk averse era? I started tbe season thinking that we would have to give the team up till the end of the year

    to really hit their stride, and I still do, but I hope we can start seeing signs that someone at the club is thinking about our effectiveness in attack.

  8. Seems to be quite a consensus for Spurs to play Lamela, Eriksen, and Townsend behind Soldado; and Holtby to replace wither Sandro or Paulinho – preferably Sandro.
    And AVB needs to instruct his players not to shoot from long range – aiming for personal glory. They need to seek Soldado much more.
    But, it's no use for us wishing this and that. It's the boss that has to decide. And I have a hunch he is too conservative, too defensively minded to make these changes. What buggers me is the issue of Lennon. AVButthead was ready to experiment with Lennon on the left; but he was not ready to ??RISK?? playing Lamela – who is a much more quoted, technical player. Anybody fathom this?

  9. AVB out. Let's get a proper manager who understands the Tottenham way of passing football. A grand on a season ticket has been a waste of money so far


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