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Aftermath thoughts on Saturday's game.

The midfield

If we're missing Dembele we have no natural cover to play alongside Sandro. Huddlestone and Livermore are not replacements. Tommy has been out of action for a prolonged period of time and I'm not sure he's adaptable to specific roles that Villas-Boas might seek from him. Play him in a deep sitting role or one pushed further up-field, but he'll never be a box-to-box engine player and can't keep up with the pace that's required. He's got vision, he's a brilliant passer of the ball but the formation has to be one that benefits his talents, which might be to the detriment of the side. Under AVB, it's about the formation and tactics and the personnel has to fit into it perfectly. Tommy is not robust enough. I still think he has something offer. But if you dared to experiment with him in the position Sig or Dempsey sit in...that opens up further questions on what we're meant to do with three 'offensive' players?

Interestingly (my memory might be playing tricks) but I'm certain there was a league game against Chelsea a few seasons back where he completely dominated the midfield and was supremely influential. The problem here is that every player has his day (see Jenas for the occasional master-class of effort) but Huddlestone has been consistent for us in the past. Livermore is not quite to the standard of a Sandro. He offers hope but doesn't possess the quality. However he's enjoyed similar cameos (okay, perhaps one) and until Parker is available again we'll have to place faith in the training ground and AVB's selection.

Parker, a brilliant 'dirty work' player, chasing down balls - but his passing is not for the long term in a Villas-Boas inspired midfield.

Back to Sign and Demps - Both Sig and Dempsey still feel outside looking in. I've cited 'mojo' and 'groove' and both are lacking that spark. I really don't think we can be dismissive of this role in the team and how vital it is. If van der Vaart was still in the team (although he's erratic and enjoys to roam) he'd provide that missing spark - although he might not aid in other areas vital to the system. Both Sig and Dempsey are not quite offering a final product yet. Now for a second, imagine their influence if firing on all cylinders. Sig has to put the sexy into Siggy and Dempsey needs to discover the dynamism that he's known for.

Brad v Hugo

There is no contest here (for me). Hugo Lloris is simply a far better goal keeper and footballer. He attacks the ball, he reads the game with intelligence and runs out of his six yard box (to tackle/save) and his distribution is superb. Interestingly, you might compare the striking issue (Defoe or Adebayor?) and wonder how much on current form goes towards selecting the players. Villas-Boas does not favour certain players. That's what we've witnessed so far in his tenure. He plays the best players suited for the job. Regarding the strikers, Adebayor had no pre-season, was injured and Defoe is in form (be it not the perfect all round footballer to compliment our play when not in possession). With the keepers, Lloris fits the bill better allowing for cohesiveness and fluidity from keeper to defence to midfield to attack.

Big test on Villas-Boas this. Loyalty to the long term rather than to single individuals. Lloris needs to start as number one.

Defensive shake-up?

Kyle Walker hasn't shown any signs of improvement. Struggling with his positioning, decision making and lacking discipline. Does he need a rest? Does he need competition? Does he need instructions on perhaps holding back from the offensive mind-set all the time and try to focus on the basics to rebuild his faith in himself? All questions I don't have to answer. The coaching staff are responsible for the player and the effect it has on the team. Naughton could provide the competition and rest-bite.

Gallas, a player that I believed to be spent at the end of last season has shown how valuable his experience can be then let's himself (and us) down with a fairly shoddy performance (clearances and possession, lack of).  Long term, Jan Vertonghen has to partner Caulker in the centre with BAE back at left-back. I've mentioned this in the match report - when we have Kaboul available there is strength in abundance there. Gallas can still offer his experience on the training pitch but too often time appears to be catching up with him out on the pitch. If we're making sacrifices to aid our progression and style under AVB, then surely there is no reason to not line-up with the players that we hope to see cement their positions long term for us. However - all of this is once more dependent on player fitness.

Caulker and Vert = athleticism and pace. Good on the ball. Perfect for the fabled high line.

I guess here, it would be easy to cite 'we need more defenders' - when the reality is we'll have too many when everyone is available. So the nearest short term alternative is...Dawson for Gallas?

You're struggling with that one.

Defoe and Adebayor

European game up next. Will Adebayor get a start? Is he 100% fit? Feels like we need to see 90 minutes from him to actually gauge whether all the talk of him being the better player for the system is actually up to scratch. Adebayor, on song, will bring movement to our play - when in or without possession. We know he can work the channels, we know he can drop back and allow the midfield to push forward. The disadvantage is that (goals disallowed aside) he is not always as instinctive as Defoe is. I'm trying to remain balanced here. Both have their advantages and their negatives. Like for like, Adebayor should displace Defoe - but the player has to prove this to the coach and to us.

Do we need a third striker? Like a crack head needs a smoke.

Reader Comments (31)

soz, testing something with this post.

Additional: More Townsend PLEASE.

Oct 22, 2012 at 10:15 PM | Registered Commenterspooky

Totally brilliant blog, hit the nail on the head (s).
Trust that AVB is still finding out about players ability to perform certain roles (demps), only knowable in big games?
Siggs must be backup to Ade behind Defoe or the crack smokers fantasy...?
Rose come home and feel the love....find the form of that run last season when Benny was out, we needs ya bruv! and who the Fck sent you out?

Spooky the best midfield partnership I Have seen for many years was with Tommy and Luca Modric. You are not confused, that was the season we made it to 4th.
We tore chelsea apart at home with them 2 in the middle and Bale was on fire that day as well. Sadly it was Tommys last season that he properly paired up with Modric. The kid has not been the same since his injuries, just hope he gets back to his full potential as he is a class act when on form.
And yes Spooky, More Townsend please. Andros needs a fair crack, the Chelsea game was better suited to him imo than Dempsey. After all is he not a natural winger. I know his uncles through work and the boy is a proper Spurs fan. Just needs a chance to show his worth.

Oct 22, 2012 at 10:43 PM | Unregistered Commenterkoko61

The fact that lloris isn't no1 yet is ridiculous and if we're not carful his unhappiness will be unreversable and we will have another unhappy keeper who's confidence we would have ruined! Why pay 8-12m on a keeper and bench him! Get him in now and keep him in goal. His a tremendous keeper and I'm sure he will make the odd mistake whilst he settles in most do. Brad has been great for us but we now need to look to the future so sort it out AVB. COYS!!!!!

Oct 22, 2012 at 10:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe glory boys

If we don't bid for hunterlaar we need our head tested. Pls do let this player go to Liverpool.

Oct 22, 2012 at 10:49 PM | Unregistered CommenterHotspurs

I've followed your blog for a while now and agree with almost everything you have had to say (that's why my lack of comments) but now I find myself as the only person who wants to see Tom Carol have a go. Don't get me wrong, there may be others who feel Tom could put in a sterling effort but for the past two weeks no one has even whispered his name. If thudd is not that mobile then why not give carol have a run around for 20 minutes at the end of the game? Just a thought. Btw you're blog is amazing, keep up the good work

Oct 22, 2012 at 10:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterTeemz

Can't believe you'd choose Caulker over Kaboul. Kaboul was outstanding last season, he's what we've been missing at the back.

Oct 22, 2012 at 11:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterGGyid

I watched a few old games recently from that 4th season and Hudd was actually surprisingly fast and nimble on and off the ball. Seemed generally more athletic too. I'm saying this as a positive as I'm certainly hoping he'll get his match fitness back up and be a real force for us.

Oct 22, 2012 at 11:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterMr Spang

I respect what you write and certainly the game v Chelsea and raises some interesting issues. We have strengths and weaknesses, which in the main you highlight. however i agree with the comments that were made about Kaboul---immense--- and Townsend--real potential ---and boy do we need another striker. However it would do well for a moment to look at Chelsea. Although I am a died in the wool Spurs supporter I admire the way they won. They look likely the to be first English team that could give Barcelona a real contest by playing great ball not defensive nonsense. The sad thing is it shows you what a miserable state England's national sides are in. Chelsea won bcause of the brilliance of Oscar, Mata and Hazard. There is no English player to match them. Simply compare the way Chesea played with Hodgson's plodders against Poland last week. The negative impact the likes of Allardyce and Pulis have had on the English game is incalcuable and clearly the FA player development scheme is a failure.

Oct 22, 2012 at 11:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Our two best players from last season are missing (Kaboul and Parker), our two best players from this season were missing on Saturday (Dembele and Bale) and our two best players from next season (Lloris and a striker yet to be bought) were missing. Add those to the mix and we're going to rock.

AVB's defensive tendencies at home are worrying though. Townsend and not Dempsey wide please, and the poster who mentioned Carroll instead of Thud has it down. Gallas has looked great against average opposition (Man Ure excepted) but two assists at the wonrg end at the weekend undid a lot of good work. Walker is excellent. He nearly scored a stormer and, yes, had a Stalteri moment, but he'll come through it. More games, not less for me. A fit Kaboul will help him develop and grow in confidence again.

Caulker, widely hailed as the new messiah, looked raw against Torres and struggled against their mobile front four. Who wouldn't? Even Puyol, Baresi, a fit young Rio; dare I say Ledley would have had a hard time with the Chelsea movement. He's going to be great but Kabs and Vertonghen would be my first choice CB's this season.

Oct 22, 2012 at 11:58 PM | Unregistered Commentermunkeyjim

I agree with the comments above. AVB could have played Townsend wide, since Dempsey was not cutting it, nor was Siggy doing much offensively in the middle. However, Spurs seldom played on the right wing and when they did, Lennon gave an assist to Defoe.
In terms of a game plan, Spurs were pressing high most of the game, which could have cost the fitness to defend the lead in the end of the game. Watching back the goals, you cannot take away the quality of Chelsea's squad. The first touch pass from Hazard to Mata's second goal was superb. Just a shame that Livermore let Mata go all alone into the box and our CBs were both covering Torres.
The other goals would be easily avoidable, had there been the necessary composure and concentration. It is probable that the expectation and the vibe at WHL is contributing to this. Looking back at the game, Spurs could have played a bit more laid-back, let Chelsea come and open up, let them do a run, get tired too and then we could have nicked them. We will have another go at them and then, hopefully, with our best squad.
To compete among the top four it seems evident we need signings if the money is there. Moutinho would be a great help and a tactical alternative to what we have. I hope they get him. Cover on the flanks and a number 10. I still dont see the role of the position Siggy or Dempsey is playing in the middle. A little Spaniard like Mata, Silva or Carzola would do a miracle in there I reckon. COYS

Oct 23, 2012 at 1:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterFab

We need a backup winger. I like Zaha. We also need a capable box to box player to back up dembele. I dont know who that could be.

Oct 23, 2012 at 1:52 AM | Unregistered CommenterMitchell

There has been some excellent comments here. We have ALWAYS been shy of a couple of world class players for years. We had two in Berbatov and Modric and sold both of them. We sold Gazza and Sheringham. Carrick as well. Our problem has always been the pay structure. We can only afford one or two top class.

This is not being helped by DL and his last minute hagglings that have been going on year in, and year out. If we could get our signings in for a full pre season, then the squad would become more cohesive from the first game. No more home draws against the likes of WBA and Norwich.

I have read in the press, and I don't have any idea if the reports are true, that Ade wants out and Lloris is very unhappy with the present situation. This kind of proves my point. Both were last minute signings and AVB has to make up his mind in a very short space of time. Who is best for the team?

Defoe is playing well and scoring, but I do think we needs someone near to him to create space for him to use.

Brad is slowing down, a bit reluctant to come off his line. So I see Lloris as the future who needs to be given a hug to get him back on side.

The next transfer window will determine our hopes for the rest of this season. Lets hope DL can get his act together this time.

Oct 23, 2012 at 2:52 AM | Unregistered Commenterkingdom of sod

If Dembele is injured, Spurs is extremely weak in the middle recycling the ball or drive forward. I think it is important to find a young talent to take up that role when required. The wings are also a problem when Bale is not available.

I think we need one more winger that can roam or play both wings like Willian to strengthen the squad. Dempsey can be utilise as a forward and Sig needs I think more time to adapt into AVB system. Maybe AVB should had gone with a slight change of tactics instead bec of the players available like 4-3-3 or 4-3-1-2.

Oct 23, 2012 at 3:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterEd

Firstly, I would say walker needs competition plus I never expected brad to start the game against chelsea. Towsend could have been a better option rather than dempsey on the left wing. Imo, my preffered central backs for now as BAE is out injured is the caulker,dawson pair. As regards the striker issue, you are so right about Defoe having more goal instinct than Ade yet Ade is a bettter striker in the sense that he adds to the team offensively and defensively.

Oct 23, 2012 at 4:10 AM | Unregistered Commenterdoyin

Why is Lloris better? Because he throws the ball out more quickly, even if it is to the opposition, as he did in the Villa match, and also in the international between France and Spain? It's quite clear that AVB selects Friedel simply because he is by a very big margin the SAFER GOALKEEPER. When he goes in you KNOW there won't be any silly mistakes. Lloris should take his golden opportunity to watch and learn from the master.

Oct 23, 2012 at 9:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterShannon

Ever heard of the Collywobbles? Its a fluttering sensation deep in the pit of your stomach. I have the Collywobbles every time I see Souleymane Coulibaly. Coulibaly gives me the Collywobbles. In fact, here at the hospital, we call him Souleymane Collywobbles. He's 18 now, for the love of all things that wobble please lets get him and his mate Falque bloodied, and I'm not just talking about a smearing on each cheek, I'm talking Tottenham chainsaw massacre. If we were Everton ( shudders ) Collywobbles would be fast approaching his 100 goal.

Sorry, just a quick author reset.

Oct 23, 2012 at 11:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterWisky Tom

Great blog again and again I agree with pretty much all of it. I have a fear that AVB is taking a tough stance with Lloris and Adebayor by showing them who's boss and that no one player automatically gets in the team. While this is admirable and for the good of the club, I don't think we can afford a disgruntled bench at this stage, especially not with 2 high-profile summer signings. If either were to look like they're off in January the press will crucify AVB for it. The paper rumours suggest we aren't far away from this. I hope my fears are unfounded but I think both Lloris and Ade could do with a hug and a run of a few full matches RIGHT NOW to keep the ship steady and the wolves from the door.

Oct 23, 2012 at 12:20 PM | Unregistered Commenterjayspurs

No, Friedel plays because he is BETTER. How hard is that to understand or accept?

Oct 23, 2012 at 12:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterShannon

Adebayor should start the cup games to allow him time to gain fitness and form. Once he is fit, he get form, once in form, he will takeover from Defoe.

With Lloris/Brad, it's a no-brainer. Lloris is not one for the future. He is France's number 1, one of the best keepers in the world. He was brilliant against Spain last week. He's ambitious and hungry to succeed. He's Mr HERE and NOW. Change the rotation round whereby Lloris gets the PL games and Brad gets the cups. Both, I believe, would accept that.

I also think AVB has to consider changing the 4231 formation. Although we have won games playing it, bar the united game we have beaten the worst sides in the PL and we have not played well in the process. Chelsea showed you need three skilful players playing very closely to the front man. We have two wingers and either Sigurdsson or Dempsey. Everyone questioned Chelsea's transfer business (too many similar players they said) however, they have shown, you need at least three playmakers. As it stands, we have one in the entire squad and he wasn't fit on Saturday.

Oct 23, 2012 at 4:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan

Off topic.
How is RDM getting off so easy for not stripping Brownshirt boy of the captaincy?
Seems clear to me that if Chelsea wanted to even pretend they had a shred of human decency they would do that.

Oct 23, 2012 at 11:22 PM | Unregistered Commenternycyid

@nycyid - remember who we`re talking about here. RDM is probably just grateful that T***y is allowing him to continue in his role as manager more like.
Spooky stated recently that `football is broken`. Quite right and it`s Chelsea that broke it the moment Roman swaggered into town. The playing field is now so uneven between the haves and the have nots, that in reflection of saturday`s match Spurs fans seem united in conceding that we are simply not expected to compete with them and that an honourable defeat is something to take positives from. No turning back, the only way to keep up is to dig out a billionaire of our own.
During this process Chelsea have created a new breed of footballer, even more repulsive than ever and a creed of supporters who have no idea about the values and feelings that we `proper` fans feel.
There is possible salvation though - a European super league, with the chavs and city as the English clubs involved, franchised with no promotion or relegation. Billionaires come along and join the list to own a franchise. Mercanary players and fans could stew together forever. Europe wide association football could then hit the reset button, impose proper financial constraints and suddenly once again every football fan in the land could feel that tingle of anticipation at the start of the season.

Oct 24, 2012 at 10:10 AM | Unregistered Commentermoe

Thanks Moe. Great post! Excellent points about the moral bankruptcy that is Ch*lsea and modern football for that matter.
Still I'm just surprised that the media aren't placing more emphasis on the captaincy as that seems one place where RDM and the no-class organization that is Cheatski could at least pretend to care and act like decent human beings. Instead they are saying "our captain is a racist, liar and we as an organization are c*nts." In some ways they should be commended for the decision as they are acknowledging and affirming what we all know to be the truth about their club.

Oct 24, 2012 at 11:20 AM | Unregistered Commenternycyid

@Wisky Tom

As a long-time fan of the Collingwood Football Club, I am all-too-sadly aware of the dreaded Colliwobbles..

I'm convinced Spurs perfected their own version last season, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory (oh so Spurs)- I assume that we then proceeded to fatally contaminate Bayern Munich with this insidious disease..

Oct 24, 2012 at 12:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterSonOfSkeletor

Coulibaly stick him in . Sell the gooner .

Oct 24, 2012 at 3:57 PM | Unregistered Commentermaturin

Danke Schalke!

Oct 24, 2012 at 11:13 PM | Unregistered Commenternycyid

Note how no gooner trolls have visited in a while. TEXTBOOK.

Oct 25, 2012 at 12:44 AM | Registered Commenterspooky

Over the last couple of weeks I've become engrossed in a TV programme about India and how some Indians live. Prior to this I'd been feeling a bit nonplussed. Flat I was, however, watching Mr Bhanjee boiling up the flesh of dead animals to make an honest rupee, really cheered me up! The geezer stunk out the place, and his neighbours, (bottle collectors, rag collectors) were, to say the very least, ready to lynch him. It appeared the stench from Mr Bhanjee's glue emporium was so insufferable that only dog feces, smeard over the top lip, alleviated the gag reflex, caused by the odorous stench. I distinctly remember thinking, as I peered over the top of my Spoungbob Squarepants slippers, 'What the fcuk is your problem Wisky, at least you don't live next to Bhanjee's!'

Last night SonOfSkeletors 'Colliwobble effect' reached Amsterdam, 'oh joy' I thought, this shit just gets better, and to top it all,
It would appear that Bhanjee was at the Emirates last night - ;)


Oct 25, 2012 at 11:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterWisky Tom


Thanks Wisky Tom, back on top form, hope Spurs hit their straps today as well as you have.
Now maybe the appropriate time to remember 3 weeks or so ago - you stated that I had posted some `wierd shit`. Coming from you, that was the biggest compliment I ever had!


Oct 25, 2012 at 3:05 PM | Unregistered Commentermoe

Bludfire man, don't encrouge dat insufferable eediat....

Oct 26, 2012 at 7:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterErrol

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