Andre Villas Boas opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation for Tottenham this season with Moussa Dembele partnering Sandro in the double pivot which had seen Tottenham and their free flowing football in patches. The void after Luka Modricai??i??s departure was filled by the crafty Belgian, who quickly found his feet in Tottenham colours. Dembele became an influential figure in the Spurs set-up and even in the absence of first team regulars Younes Kaboul, Scott Parker and Benoit Assou-Ekotto he managed to pull the strings for the North London team with great aplomb. Dembeleai??i??s absence in the games against Chelsea and Maribor effectively put the spot light on the weakest position for Spurs this season ai??i?? Center Attacking Midfield.

Tottenham faithful were worried about the departure of Modric that they didnai??i??t realize the value of former Real Madrid star Rafael Van der Vaart. Van der Vaart came up with crucial goals in the last two seasons for Spurs and he was the main reason behind Redknappai??i??s new found love for the 4-4-1-1 formation. Van der Vaart made the hole his own and his link up play with Adebayor laid the foundation for a dynamic attacking partnership upfront.

Many expected Gylfi Sigurdsson to replace the talismanic Dutchman, but he couldnai??i??t replicate his pre-season performances, which paved the way for Van der Vaartai??i??s exit. Deadline day arrival Clint Dempsey got his fare share of chances as well, as he was expected to fill in the goal scoring boots of VDV, but has failed to gel with the team. Villas Boas tried both Sigurdsson and Dempsey by changing and chopping the no.10ai??i??s role in different games. Yet, none of them has been able to put in those performances that could seal their position in the side.

Tottenham

Tottenham’s best combination?

How can Villas Boas solve this modern No.10 problem? Tottenhamai??i??s games through the years have seen pacy and traditional wing-play supported by a balanced middle of the park and a mercurial pairing upfront. Spurs were involved in an attacking display of football and the fans adored the way the team played even if they failed to achieve results. So, is it time to make an occasional switch to the traditional 4-4-2 formation?

In Defoe and Adebayor, Tottenham have two dynamic strikers who can complement each other to push towards greater heights. Adebayor brings a versatile attacking threat to the game apart from his goals and assists. With Adebayor on the pitch, Defoe will get better service from knock-downs and Adebayorai??i??s ability to bring others into the game will be a morale booster for the team as well. Defoe with his clinical finishing skills can become much more lethal. Tottenham will offer more direct threat to the opposition with two strikers and it looks like a better attacking threat than deploying an off-colour CAM with a lone striker.

When fielding 2 strikers Tottenham definitely will have enough firepower upfront, but that needs sacrificing in midfield. Spurs need to switch back to the traditional two man center midfield, which means a numerical advantage to the opposition. Dembele and Sandro are tireless runners even if you discount their class on the ball, still it can open up a gap between midfield and strikers. In-order to fill the void, either Adebayor or Defoe needs to drop from the last-manai??i??s shoulders to occupy the free areas. That can provide similar flexibility to the existing Spurs system deployed by Villas Boas and if executed wisely by Adebayor and Defoe, this Plan B can be more lethal than Plan A.

The major problems with this formation are the lack of back-up options available to Villas Boas and it means the defensive shape wonai??i??t be perfect to counter those attack minded teams. So it wont be a feasible solution week in and out, but certainly worth a try to keep future opponents guessing before facing Tottenham. What can Spurs do when apt players are unavailable for both these formations?

Villas Boas has successfully deployed 4-3-3 with Porto and this is the formation which laid the foundation for the Villas Boas era in the footballing universe. The failed pursuit of Joao Moutinho put a full stop towards his 4-3-3 aspirations at Tottenham; Do spurs have enough options presently to try the famous mantra of their coach?

Tom Huddlestone is slowly getting back to match fitness; there were some moments against Chelsea, Maribor and Southampton, which took us back to the time when Huddlestone and Modric controlled the Spurs midfield in the EPL. Surely he is someone who can dictate the proceedings in the EPL, so why not try him along with Sandro and Dembele in a 3 man midfield? Huddlestoneai??i??s lack of mobility is a cause of concern, but he can act as a deep lying playmaker and his distribution is second to none. Along with Sandro and Dembele, Huddlestone can be a real asset especially with his accurate pinpoint long passes which can open up opposition defence in split seconds. The way Huddlestone ran the show against Southampton in the first half is a good sign for the future and it was evident from the fact that his substitution changed the game in Southampton’s favour in the second half.

The Sandro – Dembele combination has already proved their defensive solidity with a large number of interceptions and tackles, so the real concern will be on the attacking front. Dembele is someone who has to take up the mantle of linking midfield and attack, with his flair and dribbling skills. Dembele can easily support the attackers and his creativity can make the difference in crucial junctures as well. The injured Scott Parker once fit; can be deployed in a 3 man midfield without displacing Sandro and Dembele as well. This 3-man midfield will gives more assurance to the defence and successful teams are always built around an assured defence.

The EPL has set its pace over the past two months and the teams are slowly getting into their groove. Scouts have analysed the strengths and weakness of teams across the country and the managers have found out their best combinations as well. Some teams are suffering the injury curse while for some others injuries have come as a blessing in disguise.

Tottenham have a master tactician to ring the changes and he will be waiting for the right opportunity to try out the different options available to him. Even in the midst of injuries in the camp, Villas Boas has a lot of options at White Hart Lane. He might stick to 4-2-3-1 formation in the near future, but a guaranteed start for Sigurdsson or Dempsey isnai??i??t the way forward unless they start performing. Will it be a toss-up between Sigurdsson, Dempsey, Adebayor and Huddlestone for that one spot which will decide the Tottenham formation and tactics for the games to come?

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13 Responses to “Tottenham Need To Revamp Their Formation – Sigurdsson, Dempsey, Adebayor And Huddlestone Hold The Key”

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  1. jay says:

    The problem is we have no squad

    Sigurdsson and Dempsey arent good enough, they were cheap options that the board signed but they just dont suit our play and are NOT good enough……last year we had Pienaar, Krancjar, Defoe, Sandro and co on the bench, this year its sigurdsson, livermore, townsend, falque, naughton and no other striker in the squad.

    The window was bad, we have picked up results due to a better tactician at the helm but he simply doesnt have the players Harry did.

    Levy needs to open up his wallet, our first XI of Lloris, Walker, Caulker, Verts, BAE, Dembele, Sandro, Lennon, Bale, Adebayor and Defoe is good along with a few squad players such as Dawson, Kaboul, Friedel and Parker are excellent but beyond that we are atrocious.

    He never spent a penny in the window just gone with the sales of Modric and co…..he needs to show ambition, the one area we are really lacking in class is Attacking Midfield, the best players in this league play in that role, Mata, Silva, Oscar, Cazorla, Fellaini, Nasri etc….. its the one position you can allow someone to express themselves and have very little defensive responsibilities, we waste this position on the lazy Dempsey and the slow Sigurdsson, 2 players who were playing at Swansea and Fulham last year.

    Go out and sign Willian or Isco or Moutinho

    • Mattaay says:

      We were linked with Eriksen not too long ago, i’d think he’d be a perfect fit..

    • Boon says:

      Moutinho and Willian are exactly the type of players AVB needs to complete the puzzle of his favored 4-3-3.

      Moutinho’s stamina, vision, work-rate and all-round game will provide added cover and dmension to the midfield that is currently relying too much on Dembele.

      Willian can play as left-forward, right-forward or as the No.10 in the 4-2-3-1. Preferably he’ll play in the right forward position over Lennon, as an ‘inverted winger’ who cuts inside, that’s a role for AVB’s 4-3-3 that Spurs currently lack any player who could do the job.

  2. peter says:

    huddlestone going off AGAIN changed the game – sandro + livermore in the same midfield doesn`t and hasn`t worked all season, stifles any creativity that we are playing with and invites the opposition to attack – can`t avb see that??

  3. IoanX says:

    Well said, Jay. You are spot on.

  4. jayspurs says:

    Nice to see Huddlestone getting some recognition at last – he gets a lot of stick but is a master passer for us. Would love to see a 4-3-3 tried out by AVB with Sandro, Dembele plus Hudd pulling the strings with his passing. AVB could do with mixing it up like this on occasion rather than retreat into a all hands on deck effort every time we get ahead in matches.

  5. Boon says:

    Huddlestone’s great at passing. But he must continue to work on his speed, mobility and fitness in order to play the 4-3-3 or even the current 4-2-3-1 well long-term.

    Southampton is a team who are too nice too the opposition as in they do not have any players who can rough up the opposition like other teams do. This allowed Spurs to take the ball off them easily with their pressing game, and then keep it well. Under those circumstance, Huddlestone is bound to do well. There will be further tests to see ahead how well he performs. He can be a liability especially against team with fast midfielders who can run past him easily in midfield.

    But, the signs from him is encouraging. If he can sort out his motivation, fitness, speed and mobility he’ll become a very good player – he really does have the potential. His range of passing and accuracy is up there with the best in England. Come on Tommy!

  6. pbro says:

    Good article. I’m surprised how well Dembele has filled in for Modric. I’m even beginning to entertain the idea that Dembele fits better with our system than Modric.

    The modern #10 problem can be solved by Dempsey. He has been scoring for us even when playing behind Defoe, which VDV wasn’t able to do as successfully. I can see Dempsey scoring twice as often when he gets the opportunity to play behind Adebayor, who is a great team player (most assits last season). Demps probably has the best attack positioning of any player i’ve ever seen.

  7. tottspur says:

    Huddlestone is crap, to slow, loses possesion oftenly & offers nothing in creativity, get rid of him i say, same goes for Defoe, missed a sitter this morning,another who needs to go is Friedel, his reluctance to come off his line makes it hard for our defenders to play further up the pitch, what about this lineup, Lloris, Walker, Vertonghnen, Caulker, Ekotto, Sandro, Dembele, Dempsey, Bale, Lennon, Adebayor – SUBS -Friedel, Naughton, Gallas, Siggurdsson, Livermore, Townsend

    • Mattaay says:

      I’d have Vertonghen and caulker the other way round cus that would mean Vert is playing on his favoured left side, and also, you’re missing a sub so i presume you mean Defoe? Agree, with the Friedel statement, but not too sure about the Huddlestone one.

  8. Mattaay says:

    Livermore is proving to be a liability to the team! We were comfortable up until the point where he came on, and then we instantly conceded a goal. Sandro has the job of two players when playing with Livermore which stops the balance in midfield. In 30 minutes, Livermore conceded 3 free kicks, and got booked. After he came on, we conceded a goal, this also happened against Chelsea, wherre we conceded 2, and against West Brom, where we conceded one. We went on a winning streak (coincidentally when Livermore was out injured). This is the first game in the premier League where Livermore has won. He’s proving to be an overrated, underperforming liability for the entire team. I’d rather have Jenas play for the side!!! LIVERMORE OUT!!! COYS!!!

  9. luis says:

    friedel es mejor portero que lloris para mi, walker es buen lateral caulker los hace bien pero gallas no a actuado del todo, esta la opcion de vertoghen y el lateral izquiero assout ekkoto, en el medio campo central esta sandro y dembele costados lennon y bale el mco es dempsey y el delantero gol adebayor el defoe esta mariskisimo