Spurs Problems & Solutions: Switch Of Formation? Change Of Players? AVB Out?

By on November 27, 2013

Following on from Tottenham’s disastrous 6-0 loss to Manchester City, The Spurs Blogger looks at the problems facing the team and suggests how things can be rectified.

Paulinho tottenham

This season we’re yet to witness a sustained first eleven, a known strong team that when they’re played together will produce. And in a side with seven new signings, this can’t happen. Even Andre Villas Boas himself doesn’t know his best line-up yet, so how are the players going to feel motivated to work hard in training, to therefore break into the first team, when it seems like at this stage, names are being taken from a hat on who to start?

We have such a large squad, filled with a wide mixture of playing styles, from the strong and powerful Younes Kaboul, Sandro and Nacer Chadli, to the technical and tricky Erik Lamela, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Christian Eriksen and Andros Townsend. So attempting to force these players into a single system, which hardly any are used to, is obviously going to lead to the playing staff becoming confused and unsure of what role they bring to the side.

Switch to 4-3-3

Andre is known to be a fan of the 4-3-3 system, due to his preference for this formation during his extremely successful spell in charge of Porto. However, when attempting to push Chelsea to play it, they weren’t best pleased, as John Terry was clearly not clever enough to understand a different style of play. I always believe that this run of using the 4-2-3-1 would eventually lead to the use of a 4-3-3, and I think we have the players to play it and maybe it may just be the solution to getting us out of this rut.

A midfield three of Paulinho, one of Sandro or Capoue and one of Holtby or Dembele. From what we’ve seen of Paulinho, he doesn’t like to work for the ball, when in a midfield of two, he has to, and his lack of pressing in the deeper midfield berth has led to exposer of our back line. In a three, he can play as the engine, receiving the ball and getting his head up and looking to do something forwards, like he does for Brazil.

Obviously an anchor-man will be needed and either Sandro or Capoue will easily fit that role. Then for the worker, Dembele would be the clear choice, adding extra strength and that ability to drive the ball forward where someone else would just pass it off. But I’d throw Lewis Holtby’s name into the ring, after the Manchester City drubbing, we could see that Lewis isn’t the man to fill Eriksen’s shoes; he isn’t a #10. He likes to work for the team, prefers to drop further back and work for the ball. This stronger midfield will allow for cover of the full backs, allowing our wingers more license to press up the pitch, with Lennon, Townsend and Lamela playing on their preferable sides, this could potentially lead to a more fluid, fast, attacking style of play, compared to the slow tempo which we’re currently seeing.

Stick with 4-2-3-1

However, if we continue with the 4-2-3-1, which is fairly likely, things will have to change. I think Erik Lamela deserves a chance to play in the middle, with Lennon on the right side and Townsend on left. Three fast, exciting workers of the ball, playing dynamically could lead to an interesting show. When one of the wide men drift in, as they undoubtedly will continue to do, Lamela has the ability to drift out to any of the wider spaces, stopping any potential congestion in the middle – which we’re currently seeing. We could return to our explosive counter attacking ways, as we’d be fast on the break and creative in the final third.

Either way that we go, we need to learn different methods of playing, as the current 4-2-3-1 formation, of which we’ve been playing for the last two seasons, clearly isn’t working with the players we’ve got. Even AVB has come out and disclosed to the media that he’s tried a 4-4-2 in an indoor match against a local side. Why has it taken this long before practicing new style of play? Any decent manager knows that you need a mix of a number of different formations and play style to reflect what’s happening in the match and what players are playing.

Of all our summer signings, one individually I believe has really under-performed, when compared to what we expected of him. Paulinho. In the confederations cup in the summer, Paulinho ran the Brazilian midfield as they won the tournament. He was deemed the ‘Brazilian Frank Lampard’, due to his ability to break from midfield and find himself in goal scoring positions and get crucial goals in crucial games, whilst also chipping in defensively, playing as a deeper two. But for us, Paulinho has appeared confused, he seems unsure whether he’s expected to attack or defend and usually ends up doing neither of the two. This could potentially have been caused by his unsureness of his team mates, or getting to know the new league.

In recent games, whether it is Dembele or Paulinho; our midfield haven’t been pressing the ball, causing our defence to become exposed and an increased amount of pressure placed on our centre halves. When playing the high line that we’re playing, we must ensure that our midfield aren’t backing off challenges, allowing the opposition room to play, we must press the ball as soon as we lose it, otherwise, it could be 6-0 more than once this season.

AVB Out?

AVB is currently the bookies favourites to be the next manager to leave his respective club, at 11/10, but how long do we give him? Personally, I have previously stated if we don’t win the Manchester United game he should be out, but looking in retrospect, perhaps giving him until at least January would be fairer. The club would look ridiculous to make such a decision, considering Harry Redknapp was sacked as AVB was the man to lead Spurs into 21st century way of thinking, whilst Harry was considered too old fashioned and considering the heavy investment into the squad to make it ‘his’.

Finally, chin up people, sure we’re ninth, but we’re not having the worst season, we’re only four points from second, we’re safe from relegation, we’re not in any financial debt, we’ve got plans for this new stadium which will go ahead, the futures bright. And hey, at least we’re not Manchester United – last seasons Champions, but this season will struggle to get Champions League, had a disastrous transfer windows, enduring poor results against small teams and a new manager who’s struggling to handle Sir Alex Ferguson’s aging squad and can’t even control the one player that he brought from Everton. But without a doubt we know they’ll have their best performance of the season on Sunday, it always happens. –Sighs-

Thanks for reading, feel free to comment below.

Thanks to Spurs Blogger for posting this article – follow them on Twitter here


  1. Graeme

    November 27, 2013 at 8:56 pm



    Walker Chiriches Kaboul Vertonghen

    Sandro Capoue

    Lennon Lamela Townsend


    Subs: Gomes, Naughton, Dembele, Holtby, Sigurdsson, Kane, Adebayor

  2. terry

    November 28, 2013 at 12:28 am

    great report but think your wrong about man united just wacked levecusen sorry about spelling 5 zip and if we dont get it right on sunday we may be on the end of another hideing great being a supporter eh………

  3. Alee

    November 28, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Naughton, Chireches, Kaboul, Fryers?
    Capoui, Holtby;
    Lennon, Siggurdson, Townsend;

    • oldyid

      November 28, 2013 at 4:15 pm

      every man u fans dream line up

  4. Ahmed Abbas

    November 28, 2013 at 1:29 pm

    The Best article i’ve read in a while 😉
    “But without a doubt we know they’ll have their best performance of the season on Sunday, it always happens” the best part 😀 😀

  5. oldyid

    November 28, 2013 at 4:28 pm

    Pretty good article, which proves if AVB has to either change the team or formation after 12 games of failure he should already be wiping his feet on the lanes door mat on his way out.
    Ifall fit and available
    Walker, Chiriches/Kaboul, Vertonghen, bring back Benny
    Sandro, copoue,
    Lamela Townsend
    the defensive problem on weakening the centre by playing Vertonghen at left back creates a massive problem at the heart of defense, on the other hand even with Rose at left back and Vertonghan in the centre creates a problem on the left side both invite teams to attack us, AVB or any highly paid manager not to realise these problems should not be in charge of a premiership team when £100m was at their disposal.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *