1. We now have the tools to grind out away results
You wait ages for a midfielder to come along who can both tackle and pass, only for two to come along at once. Sandro was magnificent for us in the second half of last season, while Scott Parker has made a very impressive start to his Spurs career. They made their first start together against Wigan and it looked like a very solid combination.
It’s not a partnership that I expect to see together too often at White Hart Lane this season, especially considering that by this time next week, we will have already played three of our toughest home fixtures. Away from home however, it seems like a great foundation and will make us very hard to beat.
2. Modric’s worst midfield position is on the right
Like his Croatian teammate Niko Kranjcar, Luka Modric looks far more comfortable when he plays on the left flank and can cut in on his right, than when he is picked on the right and is expected to cut in on his left. Of course, he looks most comfortable of all in the centre of the pitch and you could argue that he should have played there against Wigan, with Sandro and Parker behind him.
Instead Harry decided to play Rafael van der Vaart behind Emmanuel Adebayor, with Modric on the right in a 4-4-1-1. I think it would make more sense for VDV to play on the right, drifting inside onto his left, while Modric played in the middle. The presence of two defensive midfielders behind Modric would mean that there would be less necessity for a right-sided Van der Vaart to protect his full back Kyle Walker, who unlike Vedran Corluka, has the pace and energy to attack down the flanks when Rafa goes wandering into the centre.
Can I see Harry re-imagining Tottenham in the tactical image of Barcelona though? Nope. It’s all a bit complicated and I expect him to continue to put square pegs into round holes, in order to retain a traditional four man midfield.
3. We need to start looking towards the January sales
With Jermain Defoe ill and Roman Pavlyuchenko injured, we started with Adebayor as our only out-and-out striker. Adebayor and Van der Vaart are by no means a bad pairing, which was evident as they quickly combined to give us the lead, but you couldn’t help but worry as to what we’d do if Adebayor got injured.
Harry obviously had the same concerns, because he opted to keep Adebayor on the pitch, despite the fact that he could only see out of one eye for much of the game. The alternative was a Dos Santos/Van der Vaart partnership and whilst there has been a rise in the popularity of formations without a traditional striker, it’s once again hard to envisage Redknapp jumping on this tactical bandwagon.
We really shouldn’t be in this position, but the fact is that we didn’t buy a striker over the summer. We have to rectify this in January, because it’s frankly unrealistic to expect Adebayor to play in every league game this season. In almost every other position on the pitch we have plenty of cover and options, but there is no one to replace Adebayor and in that respect, he has quickly become our most important player.
4. Benny is still Benny
This season has seen the popularity of the cult of Benoit Assou-Ekotto reaching feverish heights and rightly so. He is a refreshingly honest and down-to-earth footballer, who more often than not gets through a game without putting a foot wrong.
He remains prone to the odd lapse of concentration though and against Wigan he made his first major gaffe of the season, as he failed to clear his lines and gave away possession, leading to Wigan pulling one back. Thankfully such errors remain a rarity these days. Last season saw him lose it at Werder Bremen, but generally he remained consistent. You just have to accept that he will have his moments of madness and look at his positives, of which there are many.
5. Bale is not just a left foot
Gareth Bale’s left foot is such a force of nature that it is easy to forget that he’s rather adept when it comes to using his head. Three of Bale’s last five league goals have been headed and a familiar Spurs tactic is to ping the ball over to his flank – especially when Bale is faced with a small full back.
Such is his ability in the air that he might well be the best option we have at our disposal as a striker, if the aforementioned injury to Adebayor ever happens. Until then, let’s hope that Bale can grab another headed goal against an Arsenal side that currently concedes more often from set-pieces than any other Premier League team.