New Season, New Signings, New Formation?


As the new season kicks off from what has been a busy if not hectic summer for Tottenham Hotspur, with transfer rumours and speculation, players coming in and players being moved on. For the first transfer window in a while Daniel Levy has cracked open the dusty checkbook and spent big, bringing in Roberto Soldado (£26 million), Nacer Chadli (£6 million), Paulinho (£17 million) and Etienne Capoue (£9.4 million). Although some of this cash has been supplemented by Villas-Boas’s “revolving door transfer policy” of quickly moving on players he finds excess to requirements like Huddlestone, Gallas, Dempsey and Cudicini. I feel overall it seems to have left the squad in a much stronger position, with more depth, quality and desire when compared to the start of last season.

Spurs started this season playing a 4-2-3-1 formation against Crystal Palace and won 1-0. We struggled to build in the centre of the pitch during the first half but grew into the game and dominated for most the the second. In what was a solid performance and positive start to the season. The first thought that comes to mind is “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” yet on the other hand AVB may want to slightly alter things as Bale and Sandro become available to play again.

The question moving forward from our first win is what formation can get the best out of our players? Last season we played a 4-2-3-1 shape with Dembele and Sandro making up the central duo. However with the addition of the impressive Capoue and the highly rated Paulinho to our squad, it will leave three or four top quality players vying for 2 places. Villas-Boas may intend to tactically rotate the positions from week to week, or else he could play with 3 central midfielders in a 4-3-3 shape. This would certainly give Tottenham more control over the middle of the park, would help us to keep possession and win the ball back quicker. And would mean Lennon and Bale would support Soldado from the wings.

Raising the debate of where exactly to play Gareth Bale (assuming he stays at Spurs). Last season saw Bale move into a no.10 role playing behind the striker, this allowed him to reach new heights; scoring 21 goals, winning worldwide acclaim and both PFA Player of the Year awards. This adds another layer of complexity to the question of formation, as Bale excels at the centre of the attacking trio in the 4-2-3-1 style. Although you can’t set up your entire team to suit one player, the fact is getting the best out of Bale is key to Tottenham’s success.

With our central midfielders favouring a 4-3-3 shape but with Bale more suited to 4-2-3-1, it’ll be quite a challenge for AVB to chose a formation that best suits the side.

Yet I have no doubt that this Spurs team will continue to improve and develop throughout the season and under the management of Villas-Boas, can find the perfect formation to get the best out of all the players and take the club onwards and upwards.

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  1. if today's news is correct….something like….


    walkerdawsonvertonghan contrao

    capoue sandro

    willian Lemella

    and yes i'd pick dawson over kaboul….

  2. I'm going to list players we are apparently close to signing and include Bale in my lists but obviously we may find none of them should be included, but the way I see it is that we will play a 4-3-3, sometimes with one of the central 3 playing further upfield (as Bale did last season and Siggy did on Sunday), other times with a more solid look. So, we could have, to play in CM, Paulinho, Sandro, Capoue, Dembele (all playing deeper generally, although Dembele could also play further upfield), and Siggy, Bale, Holtby, Willian, Chadli, or Lamela further upfield. Then, on the wings (or left/right of an attacking 3) we could have the option of all of the last 5 players, plus Lennon and Townsend, and you could potentially add Defoe and Adebayor to that mix as either could do a job. It seems to me as if it'll be a fluid 4-3-3 with different players brought in for different types of matches, and of course covering for injuries etc.

  3. Until recently when picking a Spurs 11 virtually everyone picked the same players albeit some might have an adjusted formation and possibly 1 and sometimes 2 different names across a selection of 50 + opinions…

    Even now without including Bale or any other possible new signings I have read probably 50 different formations and 50 different selections from probably the same 50 people.

    This goes to show we now have strength I depth and the adaptability to change our set up to compete against the opposition laid before us & also believe in the managers ability to do this ( can you imagine Harry Redknap trying to do that ???? )

    I would love to know what went wrong with Benny as the one position everyone seems in agreement on is that Rose is the LB. probably our weakest position at present with no real competition. Other than that all looks good to me.

    Maybe a back 3 ( Kaboul, Verthongen & Dawson ) with wing backs that like to press

    3 – 5 -1 – 1

    Great. To finally have this debate rather than looking at the squad and only having 11-12 real 1st team players.

    My man to shine this year and someone on virtually no ones starting 11 is young Holtby, I think a big season ahead and an engine to compete ( last season he wasn't match ready ).

    Also ADE – don't know why but in 2 weeks I would build my starting 11 around him….. ( just for 1 game )

  4. Lloris,
    Walker, Kaboul, Vertonghen, Coentrao,
    Sandro, Capuoe
    Willian, Lamella

    Works for me, Dembele Can back up any of the 3 midfilders, Lennon cover Willian, Chadli cover Lamella or move Lamella in for Soldado if out or JD

    • The irony of that team is that the only Englishman retained from last season is Walker….and is also the least deserving….


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