The lost key found - Width

Width and pace does it again. Very pleasing to see Andros Townsend come on to play on the left. Did you notice after only a couple of minutes he actually crossed the ball and Defoe hit the bar.

Lennon on the right causing problems, Walker a more effective attacker with Lennon in front of him and a wide man on the left beating men to cross as well. Adds a whole new dimension to our game. Suddenly we look dangerous.

The difference between Lennon and Townsend on the right is significant. Townsend plays to have pot shots himself, Lennon plays for the team. Lennon continually looks for the give and go to put him in behind the defenders or looks to run from wide behind the full-back, something Townsend rarely does.

Lennon makes more runs into the box than Townsend does, the diagonal run against Man United I think it was was reminiscent of his goal against Arsenal last season. Those are the sort of runs that Townsend was not making, preferring to stay outside the area and take pot shots.

If Townsend can study Lennon and see the two main additions he needs to make to his game when AVB plays him on the right, then he would become the serious player he wants to be.

Having said that he has the ability to be a real menace on the left with his pace and dribbling ability. Bale was left footed and scored plenty of goals playing from the left so it's a complete fallacy that Townsend has to play on the right to be a goal threat.

The last few games we seems to have seen the much needed change to our basic system. AVB has come to realise his mistakes and sought to rectify them bringing in a specialist winger to stretch the defence and playing the ball quicker.

Stretching the defence creates more holes to play the ball into with the defenders being stretched further apart, holes that Holtby was able to play reverse balls into on several occasions. Creating these holes gives our Number 10 the chance to make these passes, with no width and a packed defence as we saw earlier in the season, those holes were not there with the defenders closer together.

With a wide man cutting in less we can now have midfielders running into the box where before the space was being taken by a wide man cutting in. We can get more men in the box and have a midfield goal threat, the benefits of width are numerous.

What we do off the ball is just as important as what we do on the ball, the creation on use of width coupled with a defender not knowing which way the wide man is going [inside or outside] makes us a far more threatening side. Because there are now holes being created we can play the ball quicker to exploit them as opposed to previously waiting all day for one to appear as if by magic.

Three games on the trot we have now scored two goals and we hit the woodwork twice against Sunderland from efforts inside the penalty area, not outside. That is key to scoring goals, chances created inside the box.

If only Andre Villas-Boas could have realised this earlier we would be challenging Arsenal at the top instead of eight points behind them, nine if you count goal difference, which we need to.

All we can do now playing catch-up is to go on a winning streak and hope others drop points. December is a big month.



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