The season has had a puzzled start for the men of White Hart Lane. With some dominant victories and a short winning streak, the boys of N17 seemed to fall short in three of four London derbies played already this season. With the return of Aaron Lennon imminent and Emmanuel Adebayor back and fighting fit in training, is it time to see some of the older figures at the Lane step up and show the team what they are missing at the moment? Unity.
Photos. If I scrolled through my photo library at the moment, the majority are fantastic Spurs pictures from around the globe. My favourites however, they just happen to be from last season. Sure you have the Van Der Vaart pictures and the Champions League memories in some from seasons gone by, but last season provided a key element that seems to be missing in this calendar year’s photos. Unity. You have the pictures of them cuddling for sure this season, but let’s not forget the type of goal they are celebrating, jammy box goals. The boys were a unit, they were together and they were gelling. They had a rhythm and balance with the wingers and central figures playing an equal part. So far in this campaign, it’s a mixture of winger figures and an array of other cameos.
There isn’t an existing flow to the team, goals come from random locations because there isn’t a linking system that existed last season (Parker clearing the lines, Mousa shipping it to the wings and a dynamic attacker there to finish it). This season consists of Paulinho or Eriksen squeezing the ball into the centre for a lucky man (usually Sigurdsson) to hit it from close range. This is not fluid football, this is crafty play into a compact area and hoping for a man to stumble onto the ball. Although AVB has stuck to a 4-3-3 system, the key source if you like is missing. There isn’t a pattern, if you will, in the goal creation. No repetition.
“This is the best club he’s ever played for.”
I will now take you back to a little affair at Stamford Bridge last season. Emmanuel Adebayor came up with by far his best performance of the season and arguably in the top ten individual performances seen in the Barclays Premier League during 2012/13. The thing with Adebayor is, on occasion, he will sulk. It’s not going his way and he will give up. However, towards the tail end of the campaign, he added a new dimension to his game (which was shown in the Asia Trophy), the ability to hunt. When it wasn’t going his way, he went and found the ball. He dropped to the number ten role and made play for himself including Sigurdsson in on the parade. He used central football to his advantage as well as finding the key gaps on the wing. Remind you of a system I’ve mentioned already? Mousa finding a winger and letting the magic happen. The system is right there under our noses. The wings are the key! Can Adebayor do that on his return?
So. With this knowledge, how do we possibly apply it to a central figure of Christian Eriksen? We have Nacer Chadli, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Andros Townsend, Aaron Lennon and Erik Lamela all available to AVB. We have a midfield of wingers at our fingertips and with a gentle nudge, Aaron Lennon could apply the same tactics used in the last campaign (which won us our top points finish) to a new squad with one of the best forwards in Spanish football last year and a new dynamic mop-up crew in the form of Paulinho and Capoue.
Andros and Aaron
The point I’m attempting to make is, Spurs are lacking that cunning dimension. Andros was the only ray of sunshine against West Ham and was unlucky because he used the wrong skill. He played dynamic balls into little Jermain Defoe, however if he dived into the Aaron Lennon book of tricks allowing to weave into the area, he might find more luck. I’m not saying Andros doesn’t do that at all as of course he gets into the box however he doesn’t seem to possess Aaron’s hold-up ability – the ability to pause and assess the situation. Andros seems to get too ahead of himself and lacks the eye for detail in spotting a valuable run or pass to central figures. I really do think the re-appearance of Aaron could be almost like making a new signing and think Cliff Jones made a valuable point this week that the two could appear together in a Spurs lineup.
The season is just getting started and there is of course time for the boys to learn each-others strengths and ability however there is room for some to slip into the lineup and make a difference. Tottenham are not in crisis, they are not title-contenders, they are finding their feet. With a little bit of encouragement, can the old dogs teach the new boys tricks? #COYS