If you had asked any Spurs fan what type of player we needed to sign this summer, the majority would have said that we could do with a striker.

Instead we bought a reserve goalkeeper, an ex-Gooner defender, a defensive midfielder and most impressively of all, Rafael van der ‘bloody’ Vaart. The lone striker that we so clearly require remains elusive, but I think that we should just pretend that we got him anyway.

Are any of Jermain Defoe, Peter Crouch, Roman Pavlyuchenko or Robbie Keane particularly suited to playing as a lone striker? Not really, but another way to look at this is to ask whether our midfielders are better suited to a 4-4-2 or a 4-5-1/4-3-3.

With the purchase of Van der Vaart, it’s going to be very difficult to squeeze all our midfield riches into four spots. Assuming that we would play either Palacios or Sandro as a defensive midfielder in away games, that would mean that we would have to pick three players from Van der Vaart, Modric, Kranjcar, Huddlestone, Lennon and Bale, while Bentley, Jenas, Dos Santos and O’Hara would also be kicking their heels.

We’ve got to look at where our strengths are and it’s in the middle of the pitch. We’ve arguably got the best batch of midfielders in the country, so let’s pick five of them and make ourselves very hard to beat.

Van der Vaart has scored 120 goals in 327 senior appearances. The best spell of his career was at Hamburg, where he scored 16, 14 and then 18 goals, over three seasons. That’s as many as any of our strikers are likely to score and we need to play him just behind the front man, rather than out on the flanks.

So who does he play behind? Pavlyuchenko is the player that I think could be the best in the role, but whether he could really be bothered is another matter. It takes hard work to be a lone striker, which is not exactly his forte and he tends to run hot and cold.

Defoe’s hold up play has got much better and he could do a job for us at home. When you consider that he rarely scores away anyway, it wouldn’t make much difference if we didn’t play him too often, when on the road.

Crouch’s problem as a lone striker is the fact that he’s too slow and immobile. However, if you played him up front with fast players like Lennon, Dos Santos or Bale on the flanks, then it would take a very brave defence to push up high, to take advantage of Crouch’s slowness. When we were forced to play with just Crouch up front against Stoke, Bale and Lennon both had effective games.

So that’s three options. None of them are brilliant, but if we choose horses for courses and rotate them according to form and injury, then it would allow our star midfielders to shine. The loser in this rationale is Robbie Keane, who is better suited to playing deep, but you can’t help but feel that his Spurs career is more or less over anyway.

We know exactly what we can and can’t do with 4-4-2. Van der Vaart’s signing means that Harry surely has no choice but to take a look at what a different formation can offer.

It’s a shame that we don’t have a Fabiano, Huntelaar or even a Gyan to really put the cherry on the cake, but what can you do? Let’s make the best of what we’ve got until the summer, when we can start dreaming of the striker that will make all our dreams come true.



  1. ——————-Gomes
    Corluka —-Dawson —King —Gallas
    ——van de Vaart ——Modric
    Lennon —————————Bale

    • I have been saying this since this site begun.

      Boring? Yes. Knee jerk? No.

      Why do we need to play with a lone striker? Because barely anyone else plays 4-4-2 these days and we get outnumbered in midfield.

      We won the double with 3-2-5, but Bill Nick abandoned it because everyone moved to 4-4-2.

      • Plus we have the ideal players for a 5 man midfield.. We have 2 quality holding midfielders plus Sandro.. We have 2 quality wide men and then we have Modric and van de Vaart!

  2. We’ll find out later in the season 442 does not work anymore. If we continue to struggle at home aganst the likes of Wolves Stoke and Wigan we need to break their defences with different methods.
    442 is becoming to predictable like England

  3. First I agree that a striker was a top priority. I only wish that we had gone after Carol who went to toon. Having said that, the Wigan game illustrated the need for another skillful midfielder who can open defences, only Modric has that ability at present. Hopefully Sandro and Van de Vaart can help fill this role.

  4. We must start to look at playing Bale at Left Back again. After all, he got back in the team playing in that position and if we go with 2 defensive CM’s (Huddlestone and Palacios/Sandro) then Bale from left back (doesn’t have to worry as much about getting back hence why cashley Cole is so succesful for Chelski), Lennon, Modric and VDV are the one’s that will benefit from this formation. Bale looks stronger coming from deeper providing we can pick him out at the right times.

    Corluka Dawson King/Gallas Bale
    Sandro/Palacios Hudd
    Lennon VDV Modric

    • January would be great, but who is likely to be available?

      Maybe we could pick up someone young, like Connor Wickham if he turns out to be any good.

  5. ————Gomes———
    -Kaboul- Gallas- King- Bale-
    ———Van Der Vaart——

  6. I’m sorry but i’d have gallas cb than dawson any day

    Corluka King Gallas Bale
    Lennon van der vaart Modric

  7. Gomes
    Naughton /walker – King – Gallas
    Lennon Thudd Bale
    Vandaman Modric
    OOps….I’ve just wet my self .

  8. My fear with the lone striker is the Liverpool conundrum. Woy is trying to change it. Torres was playing alone up front, with Kuyt on the right (rhymes). When (not if) Torres gets injured, the tactic falls apart. Do you swap NGog for Torres – who is no way near as good, or move Kuyt up front (who is a bit better), but then you are swapping 2 players around. An injured striker in 442 does not lose as much impact than 1 up front – unless of course you have 2 strikers who can play on their own – and we have none really.

  9. no we haven’t bought that lone striker but personally i think van der vaart can play behind defoe like what rooney did for england the other night and defoe hit a hatrick , it wasn’t really your 4-4-2 the other night so defoe was up front for england on his own and given the service he’l score for fun , van der vaart is quality and experienced and will have a point to prove

  10. Honestly mate. the spurs midfield is good, but the best batch of midfielders in the country????? chelsea have( essien, lampard, ramires, malouda), arsenal(Fabregas, arshavin, nasri, rosicky, song) and i wont even bother about naming city’s midfielders. united have scholes and hes better than anyone atm. no offense but the spurs midfield just doesnt rank.


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