About two months ago, yours truly wrote an article about our possible team if every starting member were to inexplicably become injured. This was still before many of our current players had officially signed with the club, and before the Premier League even started. It seems that now would be a good time to review this new team, and the quality of the team we would play if all of our starters couldn’t.
Goalkeeper: Brad Friedel
No change here. The former U.S. international has secured the No. 2 spot, and it seems very unlikely that any other goalkeeper will take that away from him. The veteran is aging, and it’s very unlikely that he will remain AVB’s long-term second choice. And while youngster Jordan Archer is good enough for our Under 18’s team, Spurs supporters would exactly feel confident with Archer on the bench. However, Friedel is good enough for this season at least.
Right Back: Kyle Naughton
Kyle Naughton hasn’t exactly impressed in his starts this season, however he hasn’t been playing in his natural position. At left back, Naughton would drift inside, and with Gylfi Sigurdsson ahead of him (not a natural left winger) it would be easy for the opposition’s right side to run rampage. At right back, it is expected that his performances would improve. If he improves enough at right back, he will be a decent second choice.
Left Back: Zeki Fryers
Here is the real issue. If Danny Rose were to sustain an injury (as he has now) left back options look bleak. Kyle Naughton could be played out of position, however in this article he is already being used at right back. Jan Vertonghen could be shifted to the left, but in this article he is presumed injured. That leaves us with only one option: unproven youngster Zeki Fryers. This isn’t a good situation to be in, and AVB should certainly target some left backs in the upcoming January transfer window.
Centre Back: Vlad Chiriches
Tottenham’s new Romanian defender is a fine choice at centre back. He fits AVB’s system well, as a ball-playing centre back. He shut down Chelsea almost singlehandedly last season in the Champions League, and starred for his Romanian team Steaua Bucharest. It’s possible that AVB sees Chiriches as a successor to Michael Dawson, who isn’t a player that fits his system.
Centre Back: Younes Kaboul
Younes Kaboul is a bit of a question mark for Tottenham. It is undisputed that he is a good centre back, however an injury that kept him out for almost the entirety of last season has lefts doubts over whether he can pick up where he left off. If he can, he could certainly compete for a starting position but even if he cannot he will still make a fine fourth choice.
Central Midfielder: Sandro
Brazilian monster Sandro is one good reserve player to have. He is assumed to be taking his compatriot’s Paulinho’s place and he is certainly no downgrade. An injury hasn’t seemed to stop him, with a great performance against Aston Villa showing Spurs fans that the Beast is well and truly back. With Sandro back, some Spurs fans will be asking why we spent £17 million on a player who is no upgrade to the one we already had.
Central Midfielder: Etienne Capoue
Early signs have been very promising for Etienne Capoue, and he seems to be a complete steal at under £10 million. He is strong, can outmuscle any opponent and can tackle strongly. The only problem here is that he’s replacing Mousa Dembele. The Belgian is a creative force for Spurs, and Capoue hasn’t shown much going forward. If Dembele were to become injured, the only players AVB would have to replace him with would be largely defensive-minded midfielders.
Central Attacking Midfielder: Lewis Holtby
In my earlier article, I said AVB would almost certainly play a 4-3-3. Instead, he seems to be sticking with a 4-2-3-1, with Christian Eriksen playing just behind the striker. With Eriksen injured, Lewis Holtby would be a fine replacement playing in that role. In fact, Holtby was given this role ahead of the Dane because of their contrasting form, which shows how even the playing fields are. Having said that, its unlikely AVB spent £11.5 million on a player who isn’t going to start, so it’s safe to assume that Eriksen is the preferred choice at the moment.
Left Winger: Nacer Chadli
In my previous article, I expected Chadli to become a starter for Spurs. Despite playing in the first few games of the season, he has not overly impressed and lost his position to in-form Gylfi Sigurdsson. Although, with Sigurdsson’s recent form wobbling, the £6 million Belgian may be able to win his starting role back. Aaron Lennon may also be a candidate for this role, although he is usually seen as a right winger.
Right Winger: Erik Lamela
Spurs new Argentinian hasn’t enjoyed the best of times since joining from Roma. Unable to make the squad due to the good form of Andros Townsend, Lamela hasn’t been able to show what made AVB shell out £26 million for the wide-man. Still, there is time for the player to show us the man who scored 15 goals for his Italian club last season. If he does flop though, Aaron Lennon would perform well in this position as well.
Striker: Jermain Defoe
Spurs fans will be hoping that Roberto Soldado’s goal from open play has sparked a spike in form for the Spaniard, and if so Englishman Defoe will be seeing less and less of the pitch. He will still be entrusted with the responsibilities of starting in other tournaments (such as the Europa League), but after playing his part in our 3-0 thrashing against West Ham, its unlikely he will play much more in the Premier League. AVB will just be hoping that his form remains the same in all the other competitions, to give him an option if he wants to rest Soldado.
It seems after heavy spending, Tottenham have created a very deep squad with very few major issues. Left back may cause some headaches, however if Vlad Chiriches continues his fine form, moving Jan Vertonghen to left back may not cause a huge drop in quality in the middle of defense. A player who can create from central midfield would also be useful, although AVB would probably think twice about buying a player like that, not wanting to limit young prodigy Tom Carroll’s chances in Tottenham’s first team (when he gets back from loan, of course). Although, with everything taken into account, it seems AVB has done considerably well in covering Spurs weaknesses. The Champions League awaits.
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