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VDV or JD? Here’s The Answer Harry….

After Harry Redknapp’s admission that he’ll have to choose between Rafa Van der Vaart and Jermaine Defoe, we look at how Spurs use the two players and the formations used.

I think that it has been established that Spurs can play two systems fluently. A simple 4-4-2 and a more fashionable 4-4-1-1. It is clear that Defoe and Van der Vaart cannot play up front together, and neither can VDV play out wide.

Against Arsenal Spurs looked vulnerable, they could not keep the ball and most of their chances came through Arsenal mistakes. When Sandro came on they looked a lot better on the ball and were able to see the game out. The solution I think is to adjust to the situation, something I am not sure Redknapp likes to do. He likes a settled side, which certainly has advantages but for a top side it doesn’t hurt to rotate players a bit. There just needs to be the right balance.

With games against the bigger teams, such as Arsenal, Chelsea, both Manchester clubs, or at other clubs like Stoke away from home where they will want the extra man for some extra creativity then play Van der Vaart with Adebayor. At home though, with teams where Spurs should have more quality than their opponents then play with two strikers.

It surely cannot be too hard for the players to adapt to both systems and perhaps play both systems within a week. It should also help with fitness levels, keeping both players fit for when they are needed. This holds true for the rest of the squad too. Playing Sandro and Parker together will be better when Spurs need to be more defensive, but equally one will be able to replace the other if one needs resting.

Likewise Modric is capable at playing on the wings, as he did against Arsenal giving Lennon a rest, and providing another option. Lennon is better placed in a four-man midfield that suited Spurs throughout their European exploits last season, with two out and out wingers running at defences.

Redknapp needs to best learn how to exploit all the players that are available to him, so he does not alienate those who do not play as much as others. The likes of dos Santos, Pavlyuchenko, Kranjcar and Pienaar are all capable premier league players and they need to get minutes in all competitions.

The real big teams in the league are those that can rotate and players can come in and do their jobs without fuss. Spurs need to learn how to do that.



  1. Mattyboy

    October 7, 2011 at 9:28 am

    would like to see us try 4-3-3 (look how much position arsenal had againstus playing this way and we have better players! 2 defensive midfielders covering the centrebacks would allow walker and bale to bomb forward and also make them harder to pick up coming from deep!

    walker kaboul king bale
    parker modric sandro
    van der vaart adebeyor defoe

    • Mattheus10

      October 7, 2011 at 10:13 am

      Since we’ve sort of agree VDV can’t play on the wing I sugest same formation exept put VDV in behind JD and Ade , so, more of a 4-3-1-2 i guess

  2. brizzlespur

    October 7, 2011 at 9:35 am

    Spot on mate. But the issue isn’t with how to best play them.
    It’s more to do with VDV attitude towards not being selected or subbed.

  3. Colin SC

    October 7, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Yup totally agree, having a multi-dimensional team is the key to the players remaining healthy and adapting to opposition play. However VDV does seem to struggle after a while so if he starts, there has to be a plan for when he begins to slow down (how come he is the only one thet cant see this happening?).
    We will need to boost the rest of the squad in the next window as we need to bed in at least two new strikers (to replace Ade and hopefully Pavarotti(when they go) and (hopefully a spare Ledley (as if thats completely possible, because while heroic he cant last forever))… oh and a third goalie if the rush goalie is offski. To do this we will have to remove more dead wood, which is getting harder as the squad is getting tighter.

  4. Roy Singh

    October 7, 2011 at 9:43 am

    Formation change needs to be experimented rather than playing the repeated stereotype.We have a large enough squad to try this. Who makes the decision & most importantly who will listen to the recommendations?

  5. Colin SC

    October 7, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Actually no (I am wrong) we only need to get rid of one if all the rest are going anyway? I cant see us being able to pay Ade what he normally gets till we have a huge stadium. The one we want to stay until he cant play anymore is Ledders (then I would love him to teach our defence what he does).

  6. Colin SC

    October 7, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Roy that appears to one of the problems with VDV he is given a place to play, ignores it and does what he wants… then complains about being put somewhere he wasnt?

  7. Colin SC

    October 7, 2011 at 9:51 am

    LOL unless of course “arry does his famous ‘Ok you lot, here is the formation… now go out ahd run around a lot”

  8. TonyRich

    October 7, 2011 at 10:00 am

    Dos Santos is far from a “capable premier league player”… remove him from that list… unproven in Premier League still. You WILL find that even the top sides keep it settled. Man U do rotate – but that is because they CAN afford to drop points. If they played their best team vs Stoke, they would have won easy. But they gambled those points by playing a weaker side and lost 2 points. WE CANNOT GAMBLE. Unlike Man U, we struggle to get over 65 points, and if we play anything other than the team ideal to beat our opponents, then we will lose points in the long term. Defoe can be rotated, but VDV cannot. VDV has shown that he is by far our best finisher. We need him to play every league game that he is fit for. Even Adebayor’s shooting boots eluded him vs Arsenal. 4-4-1-1 is more flexible a formation than most give credit for. No change needed.

  9. JD

    October 7, 2011 at 10:05 am


  10. Mattyboy

    October 7, 2011 at 10:05 am

    I like van der vaart alot and even when playing on the right he scored! he is correct in what he is saying about him being more effective in the middle, and i get the feeling he is only saying this because he cares so much for the club and he wants us to do aswell as we can, his passion is unquestionable after seeing his celebration after the goal against the arse, the fans love him and he loves the fans (i.e steffan friend ; ) he done a gr8 interview in dutch telling arsenal to stop whining! I geniuinley think there is no malice at all in his comments about his position and am annoyed this is blowing up as such (stories on newsnow saying he could quit etc) its like ginola, tracking back and helping the fullback for 90 mins nullifys his attacking game!

    lets play like barca 4-3-3 with bombing fullbacks and that allows us to see the best of everyones natural game.
    walker, bale – attacking fullbacks
    sandro, parker – defensive midfielders either side of Modric in the centre pulling the strings dictating the play and tempo. ade as your target man, defoe as your poacher, and vdv dropping to deeper positions linking the play and smashing em in. job done COYS

    walker kaboul king bale
    parker modric sandro
    van der vaart adebeyor defoe

    • Mattyboy

      October 7, 2011 at 10:09 am

      its like playing lampard on the right wing – u wouldnt do it

  11. Colin SC

    October 7, 2011 at 10:09 am

    Personnaly I think he is our best finisher because the system we played stifled the lone strikers chances and enhanced his, but that is just my opinion.When VDV was off with his injury we had Ade and Defoe as two real strikers with wingers and a proper midfield. We totally thrashed Liverpool. I think with that system and variations of it we could also cause serious problems for any team.
    VDV often scores because no-one knows what he is up to, as he is rarely where he is supposed to be. I remember seeing JD passing to VDV from the wing once VDV was in front of the gaol and JD was on the wing. After the match he complained he couldnt score from the wing, half the time he wasnt even there.Not exactly team play is it?

  12. BartSpur

    October 7, 2011 at 10:12 am

    I’d like to see us play 4-2-3-1
    walker kaboul/dawson king benny
    parker/hudd sandro
    vdv/lennon moders bale

  13. Colin SC

    October 7, 2011 at 10:14 am

    Matty, .. lol, Mate it doent take a rocket scientist to know it is easier to score from ‘in front’ of the goal. If you are given the role of being wide isnt your job to be wide. He was inside and as a result Ade and JD moved sideways and out of his way. … err who is going to score when someone does this?… pretty often(also who isn’t going to score,see where this goes?).

    • Mattyboy

      October 7, 2011 at 10:23 am

      yeah thats why i said play 4-3-3

  14. TMWNN

    October 7, 2011 at 10:24 am

    Why do people think that playing Sandro and Parker behind Bale, VdV, Modric and Adebayor is too defensive to play at home?

    It’s precisely at home where the majority of teams roll up with their park the bus attitude, trying to overrun us in the middle. Away from home, we often have more space to play.

    You’ve got 4 of the most creative, attack minded players in the league in that line up. Parker and Sandro are both more than capable of probing forward too, and are not as defensive (though they can both get stuck in) as some seem to think.

    It’s high time Defoe accepted that Spurs is as good as it’s going to get for a player of his limited ability, and he ought to be grateful for being in the squad at all.

    Why Redknapp can’t see that there is no dilemma here is another can of worms.

    • Colin SC

      October 7, 2011 at 10:35 am

      Yup TMWNN totally agree, there are lots of options and those players try to do what is expected of them. They both create and bring extra to the team, totally team players. However while Defoe does have limitations he does track back and help defend. He also scored a lot the year before last working within that system.

  15. TommyHarmer

    October 7, 2011 at 10:33 am

    VdV did not score when on the right, he picked the ball up to the left of the goal, so he was already doing what he wanted. Adeboyar was working on the right at this stage, and Defoe was the one putting in the shift, slotting into the gaps and linking the play. By comparison, VdV was lazy and not following the manager’s brief. In addition, by the second half he had drifted out of the game, and couldn’t be arsed to support Walker in the incident that led to Ramsey’s goal. Also the whole defence grouped centrally and ball-watched. Spurs players should have electrodes planted in their brains gently intoning the words “remember: back post”. In summary, any formation needs to take account of the fact that VdV is self-opinionated, unfit and lazy, whereas Defoe has newly discovered fitness and the art of being a team player. My main contention is that VdV is only a striker in the sense that he is too lazy to be a real midfielder …… In my opinion VdV is now expendable or, at best, only good for 40 minutes.

  16. Colin SC

    October 7, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Love the electrodes bit … classic

  17. Colin SC

    October 7, 2011 at 10:39 am

    VDV would be great as a 35-40 minute impact sub … all that energy and anachy unleashed on a tiring opposition would be brilliant (if he wasn’t sulking about having to wait). It would be perfect as that is about how much steam there is in his tank.

  18. highgatespur

    October 7, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    Please let’s try and forget about Lennon – total let down about 1 good cross every 5 games… time to depend on others…

  19. Colin SC

    October 8, 2011 at 1:16 am

    it would be interesting to see who everybody thought could be considered ‘expendable and untouchable’?
    For instance though Thud is brill but he hasnt played yet … squad place as yet unused. Corluka used once or twice -second squad- expendable. Daweson on off injury – not as good as Gallas or Ledders but younger and will be healthy long after they pull the pin – keeper.
    Who would we keep and who would be second squad and ripe for being out of the 25? To me this is a problem all managers will face and the 25 will ( apart from goalies) be players with the capacity to play as many positions as possible brilliantly.

  20. jerard

    October 8, 2011 at 5:20 am

    Although Defoe is fitter, he is extremely unreliable. When we really need him, he doesn’t seem to score. He misses penalties and is constantly offside. VDV on the other hand is somebody we can rely on when we are chasing a game. He is a big game player and is not intimidated by the opposition. He sets up and scores important goals for us, and gives us the edge that defoe doesn’t. The reason we bought Ade is we needed a lone striker in front of VDV. All of a sudden VDV is no longer needed???

  21. Glenn

    October 8, 2011 at 8:19 am

    Why the hell do we need to incorperate a striker that doesnt score? Heres the solution: Drop DEFOE! Easy. Problem solved. If we lose a talent like VdV for the sake of a Harry old boy……
    How many goals did the respective players score last year? Case closed.
    I really hate this crap.

  22. spurso

    October 8, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    At the end of the day, it comes down to which is the better player, and I have to say that that is Van Der Vaart, a world cup finallist, ex Real Madrid player. Would Defoe ever get bought by Real? I think not

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