The sun begins to set on another stimulating transfer bazaar, and we of the Spurs clan will doubtless have mixed feelings as to the comings and (now virtually inevitable) goings at the Lane.
In my last piece, I suggested that Gareth may remain with us throughout another season, however with the acquisitions of both Erik Lamela and Christian Erikson, it now seems more likely than ever that he will be leaving for greasier pastures.
Yet I am not disheartened, for Eriksen (as I have had the pleasure of witnessing with mine own eyes) and Lamela (as I am led to believe through numerous sources I am powerless but to defer to) are very capable replacements.
But these new recruits do leave Tottenham with an abundance of worthy soldiers in the middle of the park, and final attacking third, and one would be forgiven for pondering how they can all be accommodated.
However, there is one very simple way that they can be, all of them- except perhaps Gylfi Sigurdsson, whom I am sorry to say, may not be able to compete for a starting birth amongst the other candidates unless he significantly enhances his game. The way that I refer to is this:
We play different teams, and need different players to beat them!
I know this seems like a crazy idea when we all pick a strongest eleven in our minds every season, but we need to accept that the strongest eleven for one game might not win us the next.
An illustration of this is a team which ‘parks the bus’. Tottenham’s traditionally open, counter attacking style of play is effective against most teams who play a similarly open, attacking formula, as the pace we have on the counter is so dangerous. We can literally outpace any team and score lightening quick goals before they even realise their corner didn’t result in a goal for their team.
However this is not a fool proof formula. It requires a high opposition defensive line; it requires significant opposition midfield advancement, and it requires
our players to be faster than their players.
With Gareth this was easier, but in his absence we need an alternative solution. Not only in his absence I might add, as on numerous occasions with Gareth, Tottenham could not find that killer pass to get a decisive goal.
The teams where this was a problem, were those that ‘parked the proverbial bus’. They left now space behind defenders. They barely attacked; their goal was to stifle our attack, keep a clean sheet and get a well deserved point.
But now Tottenham have the players to break them down.
It is likely that our formation will be either 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 depending on who we play against, and it is generally accepted that the striker will be Soldado in any event, and that two wide players from Chadli, Lennon, Townsend and Lamela will provide attacking support.
The key to defeating those teams that park the bus and those teams challenging for the title or rivalling for fourth, that we simply need to beat, will be the use of either formation, but in particular with the allotted personnel.
4-2-3-1 will be the formation against the teams that park the bus. The wide players and striker will be as aforementioned, yet the midfield will be geared towards creativity and goals. So often in the past have we lacked that killer pass in the final third, or the ingenuity to play through a team when pace has proven unsuccessful, yet now we may be able to achieve this. Players of the calibre of Holtby and Erikson can provide serious creativity for our forward players. Add in a Sandro for defensive measure and we have both a solid and inventive side which could break through a team playing on the edge of their own 18 yard line.
Yet conversely, when playing against a better side, one adept at keeping possession and creating dangerous chances of their own, we are more likely to play a 4-3-3; the front three again as aforementioned, yet in this scenario, the middle three will be taken up by any three of Paulinho, Sandro, Capoue or Dembele. The aim of such a midfield will be to retain control and avoid defeat at any cost. We will still retain pace and ability score via the counter, yet will operate far more solidly than in previous years.
The road to Champions League football will not be simply through winning games, but through not losing to rivals
Tottenham now have the personnel to provide the maximum chance of achieving both of those goals. It is an exciting time to be at the Lane, and throughout the course of a long season, all will have their parts to play…unless your name is Gylfi that is.
Sorry Gylfi mate, but in what promises to be a hot and spicy season at the Lane, you just don’t cut the mustard!
Have something to tell us about this article?