Andros Gets The Plaudits But Spurs Brazilian Duo Make All The Difference

If I were you Andros my friend, I’d pop down the bookies and bet on every 100-1 shot, buy a lottery ticket (you’ll only need one) and nip into the casino on the way home. When you’re hot, you’re hot and Andros my boy, you are currently smoking. If Townsend ever again has a couple of weeks anywhere near as good, we Spurs fans are in for a treat. A sensation for England and yesterday the crucial opening goal, a cross rather than a shot at that. Give Scarlett or Mila a bell when you have a moment, it can’t go wrong.

Spurs deserved this win against Aston Villa without ever reaching top form. After a frantic opening, the game settled into a flat, monotonous pattern, all effort but little guile or inspiration. Just as our performance was in danger of spiralling down the plughole, Townsend’s goal lifted the spirits and crucially the tempo. From then on, Spurs stayed on top save for the period around the hour when Villa talisman Benteke came on. The earth shook and defenders’ nerves trembled as he leapt then fell to the ground, vainly trying to convert a series of dangerous crosses. Narrowly wide on a couple of occasions, the ball went safely by the woodwork and that was essentially that. Spurs’ second, delightfully set up by Holtby and Paulinho, finished by Soldado in style, may have been a rare instance of incisive creativity but it put us out of sight. Again it came at just the right moment, effectively extinguishing hopes of a home revival. From then until the final whistle, the momentum stayed with Spurs.

Townsend won the man of the match award. Undeniably he played well, contributing throughout and running rampant in the last 15 minutes when he had more space as Villa pushed forward in search of a goal. However, our Brazilian central midfield (I can’t believe I’ve written that about a Spurs side, think I’ll type it again), our Brazilian midfield made a telling contribution to victory. Sandro was the unobtrusive powerhouse, loping across in front of the back four to sweep up the danger and provide a platform for our more creative players. Paulinho was industry and application from first until last. He was always available for his team-mates, made a series of telling runs into the box (missing a great headed chance from close in to make it three near the end) and his energy kept the ball moving when Spurs were in danger of falling into the torpor of a slumbering first half.

Last night on twitter Townsend modestly said his award should rightfully be Sandro’s, a rare and interesting insight into the mind of the professional who knows that the dribbles and runs are not possible without foundations of graft and effort, without someone to get the ball back when it has been lost. It was heartening to see the Brazilian’s return. He looked fully fit and determined to play both for a win and for his place in the side. It’s something I advocated in last week’s blog and so it proved. Paulinho began the game alongside him but was able to get further forward as the match settled into a pattern. In the second half in particular he supported Soldado as well as asserting his authority in midfield. This central axis proved decisive yesterday: it has to be the way forward.

After a busy first few minutes, Spurs allowed the tempo to fall and with it the standard of performance. We have to shift the ball around quickly to be at our most effective. Agbonlahor missed early on then Villa posed few dangers. Spurs were lacklustre, giving the ball away too easily and clumsy in our distribution from the back with our opponents’ main efforts coming from our mistakes.

Then Townsend’s goal, an inswinging left-footed cross that Soldado and Holtby both missed at the near post but occupying keeper Guzan’s attention so the ball floated in at the far. It was fortunate in some ways but the quality of the ball created that indecision and the sight of two Spurs players attacking the ball in the box augers well for the future.

Soldado’s goal, his first in the league from open play, was a beauty, calmly converting a well-worked set-up. With the ball at his feet in the box, in a trice he was a player transformed. Upright, calm, in control of the ball and everything around him, it was a moment of high class finishing. He’s busy up front, not a target man but the target for crosses and balls into channels. He waits, that’s what he does, and so we have to be patient and give him the ball in those areas. He can do the rest.

Holtby did well, staying involved and he has both the eye for an angled pass into channels and a left foot to deliver. He deserves a run in the side. While it was good to see Chiriches make his debut, Vertonghen left too many openings in the second half and did not have a strong match. he needs a rest on Thursday. Daws was involved in a couple of shaky moments but won his share of challenges. Pleased to see Lennon scampering enthusiastically onto the field like a puppy out for his first walk.

Overall, a win we earned and, glancing back at last week’s piece, some early signs that Villas-Boas understands more about what might constitute his best side.

14 thoughts on “Andros Gets The Plaudits But Spurs Brazilian Duo Make All The Difference

  1. I love Vertonghen at left-back. He is an awesome footballer and has an eye for going forward and creating problems for the opposition. Also, he has the defensive capabilities to deal with almost anything. We know he prefers CB, but I’m thinking take one for the team JV. That said, Chiriches was solid enough, but Daws is kinda worrying me. The bigger teams will catch him out and leave us wanting at the back. Welcome back BEAST. Awesome, and a huge headache for AVB. Who to leave out? But also a clear statement that mediocre performances in the shirt has consequences. It is a privilege to pull that shirt on come match day, and must be treated as that. COYS

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  2. Cheers Alan,

    I was very pleased with the performance from 31mins and win and it was a good response to the West Ham game. We are much too ponderous at times, but it is very hard when teams don’t want to come and play. I was very disappointed in Villa all told.

    I am an increasingly huge fan of Paulinho’s, and it was amazing how much energy he had given he was in China or South Korea, I think it was, in midweek. Good to see Sandro back of course. Disappointing that Kaboul seems a long way from coming back. He wasn’t even on the bench.

    Ice cold, classy finish from Soldado. The team gave him a lot more support second half and he looked very dangerous, some lovely flicks and lay offs and runs from him as well as a fine finish for the goal. We’ve too many (fine) wingers though! Something will have to give in January?

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    • Paulinho works tremendously hard and AVB allowing him to get forward. I’m worried about Kaboul – I feared there could be a big problem there, hope I am wrong. Too many wingers indeed – see today’s post, we do not look good with two of them in a home game versus blanket defence.

      Regards, Alan

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  3. We have to get the ball more quickly in the box to Soldado. He’s a predator with great technique who is being negligently underused. Do that and he will score bucket loads.

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  4. Great display from all yesterday. Andros of course was good, but the player I would mention was Sandro. Amazing job and a sign he is on his way back to the form he had before the injury. Also Chiriches was impressive to me, great decisionmaking and composure so early in his Spurs career. Coys!

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    • Yeah Chiriches looks like a real ball playing defender, and Sandro is quickly becoming a cult legend. Did anyone see the interview afterward? The bloke is bonkers but obviously loves the club and his teammates.

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  5. Good read, and well observed. Personally, I think that a partnership of Sandro and Dembele looks the most promising on current form, and, MOST importantly, in terms of team balance.

    Both Sandro and Paulinho are not renowned for their (creative) passing, or an ability to manufacture space under pressure, which was particularly noticeable in the opening 25mins of yesterdays match, when Villa were content to sit back, press the ball high-up the field and hit Spurs on the counter.
    This is when Mousa, at his best, becomes Tottenham’s most valuable player, with his capacity to evade challenges in tight situations, feed the ball (more) effectively to our forwards (whilst under pressure) and drive the team up-field from deep positions with his pace, power and SUPERB dribbling prowess.

    Unless he was injured, as was rumoured,yesterday, I cannot understand why he would be on the bench given the fact that he was arguably our best player against Chelsea (especially in the 2nd half) and probably our most committed performer against West Ham (a match where Paulinho was poor for a second time in three London Derbies).

    The lack of a Dembele (type) meant that Holtby never got enough of the ball in and around the box, until Villa were forced to come forward in search of an equaliser. In fact such was Lewis’s frustration at his lack of service, he was often found dropping deep and picking the ball up off the back 4, just so he could stay involved.

    To get the best out of players like Holtby, Soldado and Sigurdsson, they NEED to be supplied with the ball in (advanced) areas of the pitch where they can do the most damage. Paulinho, I’m afraid, was unable to do that until the game became a bit more open, after our first goal.

    Playing the two Brazilians next to each other may very well work against opposition who come to fight fire with fire, but against opposition who set-up ONLY to play on the counter and press AGGRESSIVELY, Spurs could find that their midfield becomes too disjointed from the attack.

    Spurs have been MOST successful over the years by deploying a number of creative, BALL-CARRIERS in the midfield department. Players like Bale and Lennon always tended to get the headlines for latter trait, but the ability Luka Modric had, from CENTRAL areas, to drop a shoulder and drift pass a man was a key part in the teams attacking make-up. It gave the team a sense of unpredictability in their attacks, and PLENTY of variation going forward. It would also free up space for others to move into as more of the oppositions players would have to commit themselves to stopping Modrics forays.

    That is why Dembele was such an inspired signing. As he too has the ability to drift past, and, commit, opposing players in the middle of the field.

    The partnership between Sandro and Dembele was one of the best in the league, last term, before the Brazilians season was prematurely ended. I see no reason why that cannot be the case again. After a slow start to the current campaign Mousa seems to be back to something approaching his influential best. And as things stand, he is, without question, Tottenham’s most COMPLETE midfielder, with his work-rate and application, matching his guile and technique.

    If Spurs aren’t to find themselves frustrated by ‘weaker’ opposition on a regular basis in the future, than it is VITAL Dembele maintains his place in the team, BEHIND a natural no10, providing the Belgians form warrants his inclusion. Mark my words, Mousa is a potential SUPERSTAR, and the more of those Spurs have in the team, the better!

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    • Thanks, one of the more insightful reads. Take nothing away from Moussa, the guy who dissected Man United in his Fulham days.

      Certainly, do consider Dawson as a liability, I would rather we do a 3-1-2-3-1, with Sandro being the protector and Dembele and Eriksen spreading play out to the 3s , Lennon/Lamela. Paulinho and Townsend.

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  6. Good read Alan.
    You made me chuckle about the Brazilian duo being in our team.
    Good to see Sandro back, who for me was man of the match. Watching him fills me with confidence that we have surerity at the back.
    Andros.. what can one say about the kid. Brilliant and focused, a legend in the making, who was actually born to play for Spurs through his dad being a massive Spurs fan.
    AVB.. spot on with team selection, which was good to see from last game against the Hammers.

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  7. Hello Alan,
    Felt that Villa would run out of steam yesterday and that proved to be the case.
    I forgot that Chiriches was a new player which is always a good sign.
    Has anyone else noticed that Saldado seems to be drifting out wide to recieve the ball.
    He combined with Townsend with a couple of well worked backheels but there didn’t seemed to be anyone taking his place in the box which is I presume where we need him most.
    We saw what he can do when given service so I think I’d prefer him central.
    Villa were working very hard and I thought Sandro was immense.
    A mediocre game but 10/10 to everyone for effort alone.
    My one worry is Lloris, he seems to be distracted and I wonder if the France qualification is playing on his mind.
    I

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    • We were too strong for Villa in the end. They sat back too far and we got our reward. Saldado works hard and needs help in the box. He can become too isolated. Lloris is fine from where I’m standing. Big favourite of mine. Do you feel he’s been belowe his best form?

      Regards, Al

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