As is usual with this time of pre-season, Spurs are being linked with a host of exotic names. Instead of world-renowned players in the form of our reported chase of Rivaldo & Ronaldinho a few years back (remember that? That was weird), we are now “closely linked” with younger, bags-of-potential, foreigners, such as Memphis Depay & more recently Florian Thauvin. I suppose, following last year’s spending at will on youth policy, I can see why the media are reporting these cases.
However, is the true key to our success sitting right under our noses? Aside from Christian Eriksen, whom I adore and can see leading our attacks Modric-style before being sold at an extortionate price to Spain, a certain Lewis Holtby can also play his part in gaining the elusive 4th place. I’m not stating that Holtby is a better all-round player than Eriksen, but that the German whippet offers a more dogged attacking approach than his Danish counterpart.
Here’s the method to my potential madness. We’ve seen this happen a thousand times before; Spurs are playing poorer-quality opposition and we do everything but score. The other team pinch a cheeky goal and suddenly we’re backs to the wall, lofting high balls in and hoping that defender at least hits the target from his 40 yard strike. In the end, it’s either another disappointing loss or a “hard fought” draw against premier league minnows, (insert team name here).
Now, what’s this got to do with Holtby and Eriksen? Well, in my assumption, Eriksen is a fan of beautiful football, which is certainly not a bad thing by any means. The Dane prefers playing against the better teams where their defensive back 4/5 remains defensive and attackers remain up field. This allows him the freedom to pick that killer pass or cross, or perhaps have a go himself. On the other hand, what the German has been so good at during this pre-season is getting behind the busy and numbered defense into a great, and free, position for a strike on goal from a lucky bounce or through ball. This tactic, where the final third is crowded with bodies and a “beautifully crafted” goal is harder to come by, should serve Tottenham well in getting optimum points against these so-called lesser teams. Granted, we haven’t had the most challenging of pre-seasons yet (Shalke is the weekend after me writing this), but from what I have seen, we have had to try and break down this defend-in-numbers opposition strategy, with Holtby scoring goals with intelligent runs behind the strikers.
In conclusion, then, I feel Eriksen should always be the starter in the number 10 position, but if we’re still 0-0 after 60 minutes, Holtby is the man to replace him and break the hearts of the opposition.
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