Our Premier League season is off and running, after we secured a vital win away at Wolves. Here are five things we learned from watching Tottenham’s victory this weekend.

1. 4-4-2 still works

There’s been a lot of tactical debate over the last season, as to whether a five-man midfield of a traditional 4-4-2 was the best way for Spurs to play. When we finally signed the type of big, strong and mobile striker that we needed to be able to effectively play with one up front, it was sod’s law that our link man between the midfield and the attack, was out injured.

So we went back to the drawing board and started with a 4-4-2, that saw Jermain Defoe partnering Emmanuel Adebayor in attack. With the quality we possess in our squad, this is a approach that will see us being able to beat a lot of teams in the Premier League, even away from home. It was blindingly obvious in the second half of last season that our strikers couldn’t make a 4-4-1-1 work and Redknapp should have reverted back to a 4-4-2, by shifting Rafael van der Vaart wide, or dropping him to the bench.

We need to have tactical flexibility and the ability to switch to two or three different formations. 4-4-2 is still a valid way to play, especially at White Hart Lane against the division’s weaker sides. I’ve always thought that Defoe is something of a flat-track bully and generally ineffective against better teams, but he can be a very useful player to have in our squad and will get plenty of goals, if we pick and choose when to use him.

2. Adebayor must be handled with care

Rather unsurprisingly, Adebayor looked rather rusty in the first half, but as the game wore on he looked better and better. He took his goal very calmly, but what was far more encouraging to me, was how he linked play and held the ball up.

Like Peter Crouch, he has good feet for a big man, but unlike Crouch he is also fast and mobile enough to work the channels. Watching his performance against Wolves, you could imagine him playing with Van der Vaart just behind him, or as a genuine lone striker in a 4-3-3, flanked by two wide men, with three deeper midfielders.

That would be extremely useful when we play the likes of Chelsea away. A midfield of Luka Modric, Scott Parker and Sandro for example, would be an extremely solid base, but it can only work with Adebayor in the team. With neither Defoe or Roman Pavlyuchenko being able offer the qualities that Adebayor brings to the table, we will have to wrap the on-loan striker in cotton wool and pray that he doesn’t get injured this side of January.

3. The King is still alive and well

Adebayor wasn’t the only player to look a little rusty against Wolves. Ledley King also took some time to settle back into things, but all things considered, his performance was further evidence of just how much of a special player he is.

As King proved when he returned to our team at Liverpool last season and again on Saturday, he has a remarkable ability to slip back into the action as if he’s never been away, despite the fact that he’s spent the previous months doing nothing more strenuous than splashing about in a swimming pool.

As ever, everyone around King raises their game when he returns to our defence and we look far more stable. On one hand it’s far from ideal to have King being in and out of our team, but on the other, how do you leave out such a world class talent when he is available?

4. We may have a new fastest player with our ranks

I’m not sure who’d win a 100m race between Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale, but I reckon that Kyle Walker would be right up there with them in a photo finish. Pace is increasingly important in the Premier League these days – just look at how Manchester United are ripping every team apart at breakneck speed – so it’s important that we have players in our ranks who can keep up with the very fastest around.

It will take time for Walker to develop the positional sense that he needs to play as an attacking full back, but in the meanwhile, his speed and ability to recover will atone for many of his mistakes.

5. Kranjcar is still looking for a home

If Niko Kranjcar was a jigsaw piece, you could bet that he wouldn’t be one of the corner bits, where you’d instantly know where to put it. Instead he’d be a middle bit, where you wouldn’t know where to slot it in until all the other pieces were in place.

Against Manchester City, it was clear that Kranjcar is not cut out for life as a central midfielder against a top side. When I saw the team against Wolves, my first thought was that Niko would be played on the right where he has never impressed, but thankfully Bale was switched there instead. It was by no means ideal to have Bale on the wrong flank, no matter what Gary Speed might think, but it was a better solution than the alternative.

I’ve read some criticism of Kranjcar’s performance against Wolves and in particular his lace of pace. It’s true that he would be lagging well behind Bale, Lennon and Walker in a sprint and doesn’t offer much protection to his full back, but to his credit he had a hand in both goals. I suspect that his best position for Spurs would be in the Van der Vaart slot and with the Dutchman out, he could be a good option behind Adebayor. Kranjcar is clearly a luxury player of sorts, but we all need a little luxury in our lives.

SHARE

38 COMMENTS

  1. 1.scott parker is a machine like rafa and modfather.:)
    2.adeba is what we needed
    3.ekotto is the best
    4.bale needs 2 start plying again..
    5.long live the king:)

  2. 1. We already knew 4-4-2 worked so we didn’t learn that. Harry should not have benched VDV last season , the strikers should have done what they are paid to do put the ball in the back of the net from the loads of chances they kept getting so the 4-4-1-1 clearly did work.
    2. Adebayor will only play in the league.
    3. Every time King plays he shows the doubters that he should play whenever he is fit.
    4. Walker has shown me enough to believe he is worth being first choice and therefore develop faster.
    5. Bale should never be started on the right it means we will never cross the ball to our target man. We were hopeless when he was there and were only a balanced side when he returned to his rightful place and we improved immensly. We know Krancjar’s place it is on the bench when everyone is fit. His lack of defensive ability means he can only really be deployed as part of 3 interchanging midfield players in front of 2 holding midfielders (Parker and Sandro). Krancjar is an average Premier League player no more than that. He had a hand in both goals from the right not the left!

    • Me you need to watch closer how many defenders are in the box trying to stop goals just look at Stoke v Liverpool see how hard it was to break down saturated defending in the premiership . Toure was a member of one of the best defenses in the premiership that should tell how hard it was for Defoe and co to score. If i was you i would factor Toures enhancement into your criticism of Defoe and our other strikers. Just study last nights 0-0 how players defended for there lives for the full game. Football has changed and stamina is the key to winning games or drawing the longer you can keep players running on full energy means you can keep a killer tempo in attack and defense. All these energy drinks prove my point they are thrust in to players hands at every opportunity during games. Sadly i discovered some teams take this a bit further by using substances banned and Paddy Kenny and Toure are just the tip of a growing trend of tempo abusers and this is why Internationals expose players who play in teams using this tempo slow dramaticaly playing for there country’s and is why Argentina are not World Champions the form of there players in league football has fans drooling till they play for there country and it turns too boos. This is the fault off governing bodys in countrys turning a blind eye to tempo abuse and when they get caught giving light sentences . This has happened in Russia Italy Scotland England and Spain has no deterrent only sudden deaths. The latest scandal five Mexicans failed drug tests how many more where cheating we will never now because they all blamed contaminated meat never mind the fact they where running allover teams and one of there star players scored 15 goals in the premiership the pea. This tempo should be stamped on or allowed because if players costing millions use excuses like Toure did saying he had weight problems what message does this tell the Young players and adoring fans. Judging by the two youth players caught taking a drug used for arthritis with cocaine in it and the FA keeping there names secret and giving small bans is not a good one.

  3. Lack of pace & athleticsm are the 2 factors that saw us drown in the 2nd half against the Manchester’s. This is a serious drawback that the coaches need to remedy.

    • Roy read the above it may just explain why we lost to Manx. I live in the North West and trust me even our post man uses tempo tablets , No not too deliver mail he plays Rugby for his local team and he gets them of ? Well i cant divulge that but lets say we face another team from my area on Sunday.

  4. It became clear that in order to increase their chances to win a game, Spurs should:
    1. use a striker able to score regularly goals (like Adebayor),
    2. use in midfield players with personality, steel, fighting spirit and able also to produce assists (like Parker),
    3. use a dominant, quick-footed and commanding CH, able to read the game (like King),
    4. use a stable keeper (like Friedel),
    5. use the right tactics (like in the game against Wolves).

  5. Some good points and some bad ones the good points are 442 his our best form of attack and even better when these three play Lennon Hudds and King. And this is why Lennon is the fastest at the club over a 60 metres with and without the ball he won a challenge with Agbolahore for a Gillette contest beating him in both disciplines over 60yards Walker has not yet got Lennons ball control and when Lennon is full fit and he has not bean since his three months and five weeks rest for groin strains i believe will requires surgery before he is completely fit. Hudds is also struggling to get 100 percent fit with his ankle and we all now about King if these three get fit and play we will rise up the table and challenge like Fergie predicted the top of the table if what i predicted Utd City Liverpool Chelsea slow with the champions league and illnes through high empo games fueled by City scoring goals and Utd trying to beat there tally. Also Liverpool trying to justify there transfers and players wages will suffer burn out. So when this happens we need to be in touch with them and trust me we need King influence Lennons pace and Hudds size and tackles and excellent passes and the odd thunderbolt too make sure we score the goals. This midfield fed Defoe and Ady scraps for most of the game and lost the ball a few times holding the ball too long Modric Kranjcar. Parker needs a player who can also tackle and Tom improved in this side of his game playing alongside Modric Hudds will be a big hit and Lennon with Parker at there side Modric looks good in the the middle third but never threatened in the danger area and was not instrumental in both goals. Sandro is exciting but is not a creator and too many players of the same type will leave us with more draws than wins the stats don’t lie we create more and score more when these three play Hudds Lennon King and this system spell defeat whoever plays 4411. One last point Gomes need to start against Liverpool because we are now getting beat in the air and conceding headed goals and Wolves should have added too this tally twice and Carrol and Liverpool will target Friedegg who is an older version of Tommo a great shot stopper but a vampire when crosses appear with concrete legs.

  6. i’d like to see us adopt that bercelona formation of 4-2-3-1 and holland.

    the best performance of ours last season was away in the san siro when we done ac milan. we played with 2 dmf that day and we outnumbered them in midfield and looked very solid and professional. We should adopt this aproach now and we will be even better with a much improved squad! adebeyor, parker, walker and hopefully gio.

    also with the barcelona formation the attacking full backs such as alves are very effective and hard to pick up as can get forward alot because of the covering defensive midfielders iniesta, xavi. This is where I think bale will be more effective as coming from deep he wont be so easy to mark and play against tactically. With his extreme pace he can motor up and down the wings all day, as can walker who also posseses electric pace which enables him to bomb forward but be back quick enough to defend.

    I really think we have the quality players desired to play this way now, finally! the relief of seeing the dead wood go is great : )

    4-2-3-1 formation

    Adebeyor
    modric, vdv, dos santos (like to see – this his mex position)
    sandro, parker
    bale, king, gallas, walker
    friedel

    bench (7 players): –
    1. leandro damaio or huntelaar (january buy) sell pav
    2. defoe (bring on to switch to 4-4-2 if required)
    3. lennon (bring on 2nd half when opp defence is tired, sup s)
    4. pienaar or kranjcar (rotate)
    5. cuddicini – sell gomes
    6. kaboul (versatile can play any def position) sell corluka
    7. Dawson or cahill (rotate)

      • but where is AEK? I’d love to see Bale down at left back again against the weaker teams but you’ve got to play AEK against any decent right mid…

        • Apologies I forgot to include Benoit and Hudd but these players used rotating with Bale and Hudd for Parker/ Sandro. We need fresh players coming in all the time, if you looked at manchester uniteds bench against us they had alot left on te bench to bring on if required, we can start with bae and always bring on bale if required in 2nd half as with other players keeping everyone fresh ! we have alot of games.

          • Matty you mean well and i applaud you for having a go at trying to fathom why we got hammered by the NWT formation. But don’t judge Utds or City bench they at the moment could play a Blackpool Donkey in Goals and win and City could play a striker who only scored one goal in 15 games last season oh shit they are doing. By the way NWT is North West Tempo and we will be facing this on Sunday

    • You have to keep BAE in at left. He’s better there for us than sticking Bale back there, Benoit has been one of our best/consistent players the last 1+ seasons.

  7. Harry has got to be strong enough to leave Van der Vaart out and give Adebayor and Defoe a chance to show if they can play together. The previous system didnt work often enough and I was pleased to see Crouchy leave. Not because he cant play but because the system was not working. He worked better with Defoe before Spurs had Rafa. Unfortunately I few good results lead to a season of few shots with most people resorting to blaming Defoe and Pav for not scoring. Always difficult from the bench. Give them a chance they are just as good and as likely to score as the Huntelaars and other people on fans crazy , unnecessary wish lists

    • I dont think getting another striker in like huntelaar or Leandro Damiao is unecessary at all. Adebeyor was essential to come in as crouch was not good enough to be our main focal point of attack. Ade is but an injury to him would leave us in trouble because although pavlyuchenko has scored a few magnificent goals he does not do enough in 90 mins. He is not strong, doesnt hold up play that well and unable to play as a lone striker. Trimming the squad of the dead wood finally was a good move and our squad is full of quality but we need to continue to add to this talented squad to carry on progressing and to continue to compete against man u , man city and chelsea, because they will undoubtedly continue to better their squad.

      We are not far off with the talented squad we have but we cannot afford to stand still as we did last january.

      1 world class striker is all we really need in my opinion to replace pav. Defoe is worth keeping and i am encouraged by also that we have kept gio and the aquisitions of coulibaye, Falque and ceballos.

      • We need to replace Adebayor first. He is only here for one season. Who wants a 2/3 pay cut? We are also one striker short – which is one reason why Dos Santos is still here – as potential “cover”. In January, we will have to stand still. There is no one left to sell. We have one spot in the squad free. So that could be one signing in – that’s it – unless say Bassong goes.

  8. Hang on. Kevin Bond himself came on the radio and said that we played 4-4-1-1. with Defoe in the hole. So not much changed there formation-wise, just personnel. That role suits Defoe better, because good defenders will have him for breakfast as point man. But he does have pace, and can use it to arrive in box late. Or like for the goal, he ran at the defence from a deeper position. Besides, it is just ONE game. Please do not judge on one game.

  9. we wont have to stand still in january, we havent spent the money we made in the transfer window.

    CROUCH 12
    HUTTON 5
    PALACIOS 8
    O’HARA 5
    KEANE 3
    33M

    -5M PARKER
    -2M COULIBAYE
    = 26M IN
    SELL PAV 10M; CORLUKA 7M; BASSONG 5M; GOMES 6M = 28M IN

    TOTAL 48M PLAYER SALES IN

    BUY – LEANDRO DAMAIO or HUNTELAAR 20M+
    BUY – CAHILL 16M
    GALLAS OR KABOUL can both play rb as backup for walker
    BUY – quality young keeper

    Squad will be complete and have real depth

  10. hmmm cahill will be a free man in years time, and cahill is just a clone {albeit a slightly better one} of dawson.
    the centre half we need is a good reader of the game a bobby moore/ baresi type. a ball retainer, composed and good user of the football

  11. I hope to be proved wrong, but I still have absolutely no confidence in Kyle Walker at the back.

    I couldn’t understand positive reports about his performances in South Africa, where I thought he got taken apart and from what little I’ve seen of him this season, he seems very vulnerable and he keeps getting done both on the inside and the outside.

  12. I’ve said for a while that I would play Defoe in the ‘Rooney’ role, keeps him away from that line…lol, and he’s quick-footed and quite strong at shielding the ball now, and as we saw at the tail-end of last season he can score from 20yrd easily enough. So many pluses from this game. Check out Wolves home record. We’ve only beaten them once before in the Prem. We so got what we needed this window. Big Up Harry and Danny.

  13. The best thing that happened was that our fans have stopped panicking and saying that we are gash. We arent. The purchases looked good. The team looked quite balanced. We now have better options from the bench and can hopefully play higher up the pitch without aiming for the head of P Crouch. A decent season is possible, Harry looks like he is off to Englan so the new guy could have cash, a top 4 team, a strong chairman, a new capacity stadium in Tottenham in the pipeline and a group of established, young, quick experienced players that have played together for many years. Wolves are a better side last year. I think that there was more determination than I have seen for a while. Maybe due to the window shutting and players getting on with it

  14. 4-4-2 will always work, but with the dynamics of the squad other formations need to be utilised – for obvious reasons.

    4-4-2-3-1 will work against brighter opponents:
    Friedel
    Walker, Dawson, King, Assou-Ekotto
    Sandro, Parker
    Lennon, Modric, Bale
    Adebayor

    As for speed, we appear to have it in abundance. Lennon, Bale, and Walker, but there is also Dos Santos. Who is probably just as fast as Lennon. Difference is that he is unpredictable, better skill set, and has a far greater shot in his weaponry.

  15. Interesting that virtually every post is supportive of Parker having seen in one game what he contributes. When HR was trying to sign him 95% of posts were critical. Too old, too slow, good in a poor team etc Where have all the doubters gone? Loooool

    • True. Seen a few of Harry’s targets get the ‘God please NO!!!’ treatment online before they arrive. Same happened with Gallas but now who would question his value.
      All three new boys (Friedel/Parker/Adebayor) looked class on Saturday and two of them only had a few days training to settle. Hope this lesson means that more will give transfer targets a fair judgment, but I doubt it will.

  16. I would like to see Gio given a decent chance this season over lennon, who is very overrated imo, 4 2 3 1 is a good formation for us, with Defoe my preferred behind ade

  17. 1. re 442. The big difference is Adebayor not the number assigned to the formation because he is a class above any striker we have had since Berbatov so he makes a huge difference. The strikers did no better last season when playing 442 without Ade and it is likely the same will happen this season.

    2. Spot on. We now have options that without Ade just do not exist and lone striker in the centre is a great example. Make that cotton wool AND bubble wrap AND laying on a feather bed just to be on the safe side 🙂

    3. Spot on. Lord knows why some have been writing King off for years now. Rusty of course, probably from all that time in the pool, but especially with Gallas out he is essential to our success.

    4. Speed is always useful but not always crucial. Bale for example, after tearing Maicon a new one, spent his next game in Phil Neville’s pocket. He did not suddenly slow down. He faced a brick wall and did not know how to get over it. Walker is promising but, understandably, needs time to learn. For example, when you have wingers like Bale + Lennon playing wide a FB’s job is mostly defence and support for his winger the way Corluka/BAE do it. Otherwise you risk the Glen Johnson + Aaron Lennon situation. He seems to have talent and desire so if he learns things like that he should do very well for us.

    5. Agree that Niko’s natural position is the VDV role. He must have been frustrated last season – after being Luka’s then Bale’s back up the arrival of VDV made him a bit part player especially when we really needed an Ade much more than a Niko replacement last summer. As you say Niko loves LM and dislikes RM and Bale did well switching for Wales so switching Bale makes sense with Lennon out.

    A few additional lessons of my own would be:
    a) Friedel looks like the real deal, and on a free too.
    b) Parker was quality and you can see why Harry chased him.
    c) Modric is not sulking.
    d) The spirit of the side is good.
    e) BAE is still the coolest LB on the planet.

  18. There shouldn’t be a set formation for every game, you have to set your team up based on the level of your opponent.

    4-4-1-1 did us well against the ‘so called’ top 4 last season, if it wasn’t for 2 dreadful decisions at the bridge we would of beaten Chelsea and we should’ve done the double over the scum!.

    I think the solutions pretty simple, against weaker opposition deploy 4-4-2 and ship VDV to the right with the option to bring on lennon. Against stronger opposition play 4-4-1-1 with VDV in behind Adebayor. I think Scotty Parker and Modric are the perfect balance of creativity and steel in the middle of the park.

    COYS

  19. FREIDEL WALKER DAWSON GALLAS KING EKOTTO PARKER MODRIC SANDRO ADEBYORE BALE 3 X 2 X 3 X 2 SUBS CUDICINI LENNON DEFOE HUDDLESTONE LIVERMORE VDV

  20. once again I have to agree with TonyRich – Defoe’s best position is in the hole. Apart from his pace, he also has a good shot on him – how many times have we seen him score outside the area. The introduction of VDV denies Defoe his space to (as TonyRich put it) to run at the defence from a deeper position. I do believe an Adebayor-Defoe partnership, if given time, will pay off big time for us. But then how do leave a player as immense as VDV out of the starting line-up. Pushing VDV out on the right isn’t the solution, because he lacks pace and tends to be drawn to the hole. Almost as big a dilemma as what to do with Sandro when he returns to fitness.

LEAVE A REPLY