How to solve Tottenham’s midfield crisis

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

After Gareth Bale was sold to Real Madrid for €100 million to Real Madrid and Scott Parker was sent packing to Fulham, Daniel Levy decided to bolster the squad with 7 new players, mostly in midfield position. Capoue, Eriksen and Paulinho all joined the squad in hopes of a Champions League spot finish. However with the midfielders that Tottenham already had before the season such as Sigurdsson, Sandro, Holtby and Dembele, a bit of a crisis started to appear as big talents started to sit on the bench and become unhappy. Holtby and Capoue barely had chances to show themselves on the pitch and Holtby decided he has seen enough and left the club on loan for Fulham. Capoue demanded transfer but Napoli and Spurs couldn’t agree on a fee so he stayed at the club for another 6 months at least.

Under AVB, Spurs was playing the 4-2-3-1, which could only allow 3 midfielders to be on the pitch and even then, the competition was incredible. Now, under Tim Sherwood, Tottenham is playing the 4-4-2, and the competition is fiercer for midfielders. However, the injury problems made Sherwood’s job easier to choose a midfield duo as the likes of Paulinho and Sandro were out for a long time. Now that they are both coming back into the contention, there is going to be a bigger crisis as Bentaleb also showed himself as a first team player.

To solve this situation, and also put the best team on the pitch, Tim Sherwood has to change to 4-2-3-1 with Eriksen having freedom to roam around anywhere he wants. Under AVB, when Paulinho held one of the holding midfield positions, he produced his worst performances because he couldn’t decide whether to attack or to defend as he was always caught in no man’s land. But if Eriksen becomes almost the second striker, Paulinho will now have to control the midfield and show his abilities both ways and prove why Tottenham spent €20 on him over the summer. To balance the midfield Sandro looks to be the best option in front of Dembele because he is a world class holding midfielder at his best. He lacks the technical qualities that Dembele has but with almost 5 men up front attacking, the squad definitely needs a strong midfielder who will recover the ball and prevents the opposition to pass the midfield with ease.

Capoue and Bentaleb will also be solid options as the season goes on, because Sandro, Dembele and Paulinho all had injury problems over the season. As Townsend comes back to contention, I think that Sigurdsson’s spell on the left flank is over and Tim Sherwood should use him as a backup to Eriksen as he has the passing and shooting quality of an attacking midfielder.

This article not only suggests a guideline for the rest of the season, but also proves that we have one of the best squads in the Premier League. At our best, we can easily beat our rivals and make into top 4. Let’s hope that Tim Sherwood finds the balance in his squad and leads this team to success at the end of the season.

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  1. 422154 12457 442 all a load of bollocks play your best players and like Chelsea who all come from midfield at speed you can keep everyone happy
    they are not robots stuck in a position we have apart from left back the potential defense to allow intelligent players to play their game

  2. The best way to solve the midfield is to sell all the mediocre midfielders. Paulinho is the worst midfielder at Spurs and he is like a Jenas MK2 but worse. Sigurdsson is inconsistent. Capoue is not needed.

    Bring back Tom Carroll and Holtby.

      • I think I shall have to call myself BrianL to distinguish from other Brians :>) I put Paulinho in my suggested team on SpursWeb recently, alongside Sandro. IMO they are two players who should play every game when fit.

    • I agree. Paulinho is so overrated but goes missing in most games. Most of his shooting is so off target, it is embarrassing. Carroll is a far more creative player who knows how to pass the ball forwards unlike Paulinho who passes sideways and backwards. Sigurdsson is another anonymous player who does little in most games.

  3. The way forward is to have a few different formations, not just one. It is merely a way to have as many of the best players on the pitch at a given moment with an eye towards who the opponent is. If Eriksen was having the kind of season Soldado is having (and Soldado was scoring any) we’d be talking how brilliant the 442 is for Spurs attacking style, yadayadayada. Bentaleb (whose rise almost certainly means the end of the line at Spurs for Jake Livermore) is a good player but especially in a 451 we need Sandro in there to give cover for Eriksen and Paulinho/Dembele. Would kind of like to see a MF of Eriksen, Dembele, Paulinho, Sandro and Townsend v Everton. Lennon needs to sit for a few games, has been quite inconsistent since his great game at old trafford.

  4. If you think Paulhinio is JJ mk2 you are very much mistaken. He is a quality player and given chance and played in the correct formation he will prove it. Siigy is not a LM. Lennon is old hat and OK for a sub but nowt much else.

    We need to play Sandro, Djembele, Paulhinio, Eriksen, Lamella, Ade. Yes lamella because he will be a great player when he is given chnace and loved a bit more. The boy needs some confidence, use Andros until he is ready. Bit we need to get sandro, Paulhinio, Djembele, Erikson all playing as unit and what a unit they can be. COYS,

    • Nice one Horney Helen! The most intelligent and perceptive post of the lot. In my opinion those are the 6 most talented midfielders we have and also the best blend. Play Sandro and Paulinho as the two central midfielders, with Sandro more naturally the deeper lying of the two. Push Dembele forward into the number 10 role. Play Eriksen in off the RW, with license to roam and use his creative skills like a number 10. Play Townsend on the LW as an orthodox winger/can also swap to the RW as an inverted winger/interchanging with Lamela on his preferred side. Ade playing the lone striker role. Nominal formation is 4-5-1. Capoue, Bentaleb, Lennon and Chadli are your reserve MF on the bench. In reference to the original post, it’s hardly a crisis, that’s having Man Utd’s midfield! It is more a conundrum or a dilemma.

  5. team to play evers lloris walker kabs verts chiriches at lb sandro/capoue paulinho erikson [has to play every game ] towny/lennonlamlla dembele ade depending whos fit coys

  6. A midfield trio of Sandro, Paulinho and Eriksen is the way forward for the rest of the season. Eriksen is a world class attacking midfielder that should be playing in a central position behind the striker. With a 4-4-2, he plays on the left hand side, and whilst his role in attack is not too dissimilar to the 4-2-3-1 as he drifts infield when we have the ball, in defence, our left winger is left totally unsupported. It goes without saying Sandro is a world class holding midfielder and Paulinho is a box to box midfielder. I don't know how the bronze boot winner at the confederations cup ends up being the next Jenas BRIAN!!! What I'm trying to say is that TS should go with the 4-2-3-1 and stick to it, its the formation that best suits our current squad.

  7. Do you think Willian would have managed to get in the team ahead of Lennon, Townsend or Bentaleb if he had joined Spurs? Under Tim, I don't think he would be in the top 18. He really helped himself by going to Chelsea.

  8. Sandro is not available for Sunday, so not an option.

    Dembele is our best midfielder whether he is asked to play in the holding role or accompany the holder and push forward. Paulinho does have talent but he is not a holding midfielder at all!. He would rather stay north of the halfway line and if he can score more he has a place in the Squad. He is way overrated though people just listen to the pundits who never criticize his lack of effort. Play Townsend if fit instead of Lennon, Aarons last two outings have earned him a place on the bench. He was awful. Ziggy just too slow, skill indeed, but well ,just too slow. Bentaleb has been ok I guess but lets not get carried away. Tim has made it clear he wants to credit for this guy and has sacrificed the team in doing so. Nabil may turn out to be good but playing him at the Emirates and against City was just asking way too much. The majority of the time he has passed the ball directly back where he received it or at best went sideways. Lets get real. If Kaboul is fit then Dawson must sit. He is tired and looking beat.

    Whats with the Tom Carroll stuff?? He doesn't get a regular game from Harry. He has not exactly lit it up in the championship. He is a very average championship player, not prem quality.

    If everyone was fit then I feel our best lineup is


    Walker,Chirches,Kaboul, Verthongen


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