Newcastle vs. Tottenham 18/07/13 (Before Hand)
What will be written on Andre’s Tactics Board on the Day of the Crystal Palace game?
Considering spurs still have the Ginger-Bearded magician at the reigns, it is unlikely to see a tactical revolution from last season. One aspect we can be sure wont change is the tactics regarding the defense. We all know AVB’s love for the high defensive line complemented with a keeper who also plays the role that a defensive sweeper may play.
The biggest mystery tactically is the formation. Despite using 4-4-2 and (primarily) 4-2-3-1, it is well known AVB’s preferred formation is 4-3-3, which saw an unbeaten season with his Porto side. There are suggestions both for and against seeing a tactical change for the first game of the season. The most likely clue for the tactical change is the two record-breaking signings; Paulinho and Soldado. The former, a box to box midfielder is used to playing in a 3 man tightly packed midfield, both for Brazil and Corinthians. The later, Roberto Soldado is more adapted to AVB’s preferred formation out of the three strikers in the first team. Having spent the majority of his career at Valencia as a lone striker in that formation, it is likely that the choice of Soldado over other goal-scorers (other than his remarkable goal scoring record over the past two seasons) was that he strives where he is the lone striker.
As much as there is suggestion of a tactical switch (which arguably is the most desiring prospect in terms of formation used) there is just as much, if not more, to suggest that AVB is likely to stick with 4-2-3-1, like at the beginning of last season. This is shown by the common use of the formation in this year’s pre-season. The formation has been most commonly used during the five games played and if you train in a formation, it would be illogical not to use it. However, even this is not conclusive (although a likely indicator). Not friendly in this pre-season has seen a team who is likely to start against crystal palace on the 18th, so why should the formation be the same?
Verdict: Although we would all love to see AVB revert to the winning formation he used in Portugal, it is likely that the primary formation used will be 4-2-3-1. However, it is not unlike 4-3-3 and our tactical wizard must have a very good reason why he has abandoned his favorite formation for the time being. In this sense, we can expect a similar tactical set up as we did last year, although this time it is a familiar to the players who have worked with system for a season and arguable players who are better suited to this formation.
Who’s name will be on the team sheet?
Who will be on AVB’s team sheet in just unlike two weeks time is a complete mystery, especially because of the team selections shown in this years pre-season. So far, we have only seen arguably the least high profile signing of the summer (Chadli) in action against Monaco. We also haven’t seen who we consider definite first team regulars such as Sandro and Kaboul. The fact that we have not seen these players, however, is inevitable as the new signings cannot adapt fully within a matter of days and Sandro and Kaboul missed half a season and a season respectively and are naturally not match fit. The point is, however, is that due to unavoidable circumstances it is difficult to determine who will be on the field against Crystal Palace. The bookies odds on players for the line up should be some indication, you can find these on https://www.bwin.be/en where you can also bet on the match result.
(Bear in mind that these predictions are based on the current squad; that means our friend GB will be included, but by the same token excludes possible incomings.)
Lloris: This is one of the more obvious choices; arguably one of the best keepers in the world and suited to AVBs high defensive line perfectly.
Walker: Despite inconsistencies last season, he is having a solid pre-season both defensively and offensively. Naughton is also still a bit off Walker’s standard.
Kaboul: A terrible shame that he missed last season, and due to Vertonghen’s injury in Hong Kong, it is likely he is the right man to fill the void.
Dawson: Showed incredible determination coming back into the team and seems to be a level up than he was under Redknapp. Always 100% for the team and playing confidently, it would be a shame not to see our club captain on the pitch.
Rose: From pre-season, you get the feeling that AVB prefers Rose at LB and he seems to have a point. He seems effective offensively and much more defensively astute before his loan move to Sunderland.
Dembele: Pre-season has just reminded me how much quality Mossa holds. He seems to win tackles 90% of the time, as well as being very sharp offensively with a variety of skills in his locker (most notably the scissor chop!)
Paulinho: Bearing in mind that Paulinho has been playing more football than Sandro recently, you would expect Paulinho to occupy Sandro’s place in this same. That is not to say that it is more than likely the samba squad will not be playing side by side in later games.
Lennon: Favored by AVB and an obvious choice for RW. However, Townsend may give him some stiff competition as the season progresses.
Chadli: This is just a gut feeling that he will be picked over the likes of Sigurdsson and Holtby for the opening game.
Bale: I don’t think much needs to be said here.
Soldado: I would be astonished if a 26M record-breaking world class signing did not play on the first game of the season, especially since he would have trained (and possibly played) since his arrival.
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