A case for the defence: Tottenham’s back four options

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

As we enter the home stretch of the current season, now is a good time to take a look at the current squad, both its strengths and its weaknesses. Here’s the first instalment, this time featuring the back line, as the entire squad in one hit could drag out into a mini ‘War and Peace’.

Where better to start than with our ‘cat’ Hugo Lloris? The French number one enjoyed a successful start at the Lane, but has since divided opinion with some dodgy decisions. Still, for me, he is the best we’ve had since Erik ‘the Viking’ Thorstvedt back in the late 80s, early 90s. Though to save me having at least one heart murmur per game, any chance you could catch the ball instead of punching it out?

Left-back still rates one of the biggest concerns. Danny Rose has shown some useful touches, but isn’t up to the class required to help the club challenge for titles, Cups etc. This position, along with up front, is where Mr Levy (and possibly/hopefully Guus Hiddink) will need to concentrate their efforts in the next transfer window.

For the first time in many years, I’m actually quite bullish about our centre backs. The biggest fear for Spurs fans is Jan Vertonghen says ‘sod this for a game of soldiers’ at the end the current campaign, and seek out a team more worthy of his talents, which rank up there with the likes of Ledley King, the one we don’t mention and my personal favourite, Richard Gough.

Moving on, there are doubts surrounding Younes Kaboul’s long-term fitness.  Michael Dawson, for all that he always gives it his all (wish the entire team always showed such commitment), has his flaws and frustratingly tends to put his teammates under too much pressure with some panicky clearances. One of the surprise packages from the summer spending has been ultra-composed Vlad Chiriches, and it would be great to see him and Vertonghen building up a good long-term understanding, with the latter a potentially excellent captain in the making.

Right-back also concerns me, and I’m surprised Kyle Walker doesn’t come in for more criticism. Yes, he is young (23), but has been a regular for quite some time now, but only due to lack of competition. Take away his pace and I wonder if he would even make the team, having made too many naïve decisions, often putting the team under unnecessary pressure. Keep it simple please, Mr Walker, as you have plenty of ability and can make this position yours for the next seven or eight years.

Next time, our over burgeoning midfield.


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  1. I think if Sherwood continues to learn tactically and use the squad he has effectively then I dont see the need for a new manger. Our best CB pairing was playing against Newcastle and they should play every time when fit. Personally I would have recalled BAE in the transfer window because he's better than Rose!!

    • BAE isnt good enough going forward either sell him and get a new LB and have Rose as second choice.. Ashley Cole maybe hes out of contract and could pass alot onto Rose, hes obviously aging and not a long term choice and probably demanded serious wages but would definitely be good enough and has major experience and a winning mentality

  2. Gough was a traitor with no intention of staying at WHL. He used us simply to get to Rangers as Dundee United would not sell him to Rangers. He was quality but did not like us nor London >he was no Campbell but he lied to us and was part of the disembowelment of the club by our long tome hater that scum Souness

  3. I am hoping that Wednesday against Newcastle the ommision of Dawson was tactical and not for injury reasons……I hope QPR come back in for him, he is a liability.
    As I say to many people, if we do keep him, let that be to knock a few walls done when they demolish WHL for the new stadium!!
    Best combination is Vertongen and Vlad….Kaboom next best to partner Jan V.
    Full backs are both liabilties, pace to burn but no common sense, positioning is schoolboy at times….good defenders defend first, do the basics build from the back, and then think of the overlap and attacking options…..if you get a clean sheet, you dont lose!!!

    • You can't play Chriches and Jan together neither is dominant in the air. You'd have to go with Jan or Vlad and Daws or Kaboul, unless injuries gave you no other options

  4. Concerned about a lot of thenkyle walker negativity. He’s a good right back who is young and WILL improve. I guarantee if he was up for sale there would be no shortage of takers from teams above us and abroad.

  5. I agree with much of your article, apart from the Full Backs. I can't understand why they get so much stick. Chriches has made more mistakes than Rose and Walker combined. The only right back better than Walker IMHO is Zabaletta, He'll do 20 great things make a mistake and then get critisied, god I wonder what some fans expect some times I also think Rose has all the atributes to turn into one hell of a player. The role of full back has changed and in these two we have 2 modern day fullbacks. Also bear in mind we have had to constantly change around our central midfield and defense, with our best players there missing for most of the season, stability there will help these players even more.

    • Adam you have good observations on chiriches who is guilty of many errors. But he appears to improve when he stays at his post n not advance as he lacks pace. Now on Sandro I can never understand. Hes negative, unskillful, slow, error prone n hes the worst brazilian i have seen. Hes seriously horrible n a liability. Im all for Tim Sherwood. Tims has great attributes to succeed n hes down to earth. Unless its pep or jose, stick with Tim.

  6. Interesting article. I agree both full backs are not great at defending but I also agree that they are the new breed of full back that can play further up the field. I just feel some coaching and competition is required. We all seem to agree that Daws is all heart – but I also think that Chiriches is a liability (still learning the EPL). Sandro in front of the back four will make everyone look better.


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