As the final whistle blew after the worrying 1-0 home loss to mid-table Newcastle, Spurs fans around White Hart Lane groaned and tutted to themselves as the chance to go third in the Premier League table eluded us once again. However, this tutting was not just their signs of frustration at the result, but was also showing their desire for Spurs to play 2 up-top…
The stats this season speak for themselves: only 9 goals in 11 games in the Premier League (3 of which being penalties) and having the lowest number of goals scored outside of the bottom three (even Stoke City whose goalkeeper is their joint top scorer have scored more goals than us), is not the kind of return expected of a top 4 club, especially a club which prides itself on its ability to out-score the opposition.
But how has this goal drought come about? By this time last year we were struggling for form yet we had still managed 18 goals. We have the same strikers, with one extra recruit in Roberto Soldado who is already 1 goal off the total of our first choice striker last year, Emmanuel Adebayor and we have the same manager and a similar style of play as we had last year.
Gareth Bale has of course been a huge miss in terms of his goals. With 21 goals in the league alone he, at times, won us games almost single-handedly (West Ham away being the obvious example). However, without the Welshman, chances should be more evenly distributed throughout the team, as his shoot-on-sight policy didn’t give others a chance at goal as he more often shot than passed when in a dangerous position.
Unfortunately, this shoot-on-sight policy has been taken up to lesser effect too, by Andros Townsend and to some extent Gylfi Sigurdsson. The inverted wingers system which has been implemented by AVB has led to players constantly cutting inside and rarely providing opportunities for the strikers. Last year Aaron Lennon played on the right-wing almost every game which provided ammunition for strikers in the box. However, Adebayor was not the best man for this system so couldn’t profit off of it, whereas Roberto Soldado could do this season, with his whole game being centred around his ability to score inside the box.
However, the two up-top system that I believe should be used, should not be used in every game. In some away games the extra man in the middle of midfield will be necessary; Man City away next week will be a prime example of that, as Toure, Aguero and Nasri would overpower a 1 man defensive midfield. Two up front should be played in the games where we can’t break teams down- where teams sit back and do not threaten our goal and the two man defensive midfield is not needed. Against Hull we did not need both Sandro and Paulinho protecting the defence and what we needed was greater threat upfront to break down their resolute 5-man defence and this would come in the form of two strikers.
The main dilemma with the two striker system is who would be those two strikers? Defoe and Soldado are arguably too similar and have a lack of ability in terms of holding the ball up, so could the ostracised Adebayor come into the frame and find the form that he had whilst on loan in the 2011-12 season?
I would personally like to see a partnership of Soldado and Adebayor; the classic poacher in Soldado and the skilful link up play of Adebayor could be the perfect remedy for breaking down the likes of Hull and Newcastle, who both resolutely stood firm against the isolated presence of Roberto Soldado. Behind the strikers Townsend on the left, Lennon on the right and Lamela in the middle would create an abundance of chances for the strikers, and with Sandro anchoring the midfield we would not have to worry about the threat of a counter attack.
Who do you think should be the two man strike partnership or do you think that the current 4-2-3-1 system should be retained and with time the goals will come?
With matches against Fulham and Sunderland coming up after the two Manchester clubs, hopefully T.U.T will be put into practice and it will provide us with the goals, excitement and a place in the top 4, which is what all Spurs fans are hoping for come the end of the season.
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