Spurs achilles heel

Football is all about setting up a team so you can execute a skill and punish them. When you have a well honed team they will do the basics well but they will always be looking to set you up, to pull your players into a position where they can just go bang, bang, goal. Benfica did it to us for the first goal, a ball cut out, a pass, goal.

Andre Villas-Boas was all about setting an opponent up, trouble is our football never did. it didn't create the holes to play the ball into for Soldado to strike. Now at the end of the season we have a group of players trying to learn it, it's all a bit too late. We have an interim Head Coach without time so he has to find a way to make the best of the situation.

Occasionally it will come off but against a well drilled team our side is not trained in picking the lock. I have discussed the mental side of sport and it comes into play here as well, in certain situation players revert to their default setting, when they do we get caught.

In three games against Arsenal we haven't scored a single goal. Teams can just keep us out in they want to for that reason and so if we concede we have a mountain to climb.

There is no way Tim Sherwood was ever going to be able to teach and instill that in a few months, how can he, he has to learn first what each player can do and what they can't. He has not been the one training them until now and it's only working with them that you find out. You may say why doesn't a coach just stop it. Well it's not that simple for two reasons, firstly it may be ingrained into the player. Danny Rose is a former winger remember, he likes to attack. But secondly because that might be part of how you attack.

Danny Rose Spurs weak link

Spurs play with, as do most teams now, advanced full-backs as a full-backs role is as much about attacking as it is defending these days. If you take away an element of your attack you become less likely to score yourself. Thus it is a balancing act, a bit of risk and reward. You have to weight up the potential benefit against the potential loss and base your tactics on that equation.

Gareth Bale was a prime example of that. Early last season how we were using him didn't work so we pushed him further forward and wider with some success, then when needs must really, we gave him a free roaming role from the left with great success. Clint Dempsey among others had to reign in his game and do a covering job down our left when Bale went roaming, We were weak there but the benefit outweighed the weakness so we went with it. We have the same equation but with less benefits now.

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Just look at how we concede goals. Teams set us up to hit us in the old inside-right channel, by that, for younger readers, I mean between the left-sided centre-half and the left-back. Teams get us to stretch that link and then play the ball through that channel and it hurts us again and again and again, and has done now for a couple of seasons. We lost at Arsenal 1-0 and where did that goal come from, yep through that channel. We lost at White Hart Lane and again the same area. We conceded the first against Benfica, where, the same channel, Norwich, the same channel.

That's why I said at the start of the season if Danny Rose plays we will not get Champions League, his positioning is woeful. Benoit Assou-Ekotto divides Spurs fans, hardly seems to be a player that doesn't, but he is twice the player Rose is, who knows maybe we will see him back next season and not have to buy a replacement. He makes mistakes, who doesn't, but he knows far better how to defend as a unit.

Benoit Assou-Ekotto Spurs left-back
Benoit Assou-Ekotto Spurs left-back again next season?
If you need any more evidence that we need to strengthen left left side of our team just watch replays of the goals we concede. That fundamental weakness we have puts great pressure the right-sided centre-half because he has to always be looking for it, always ready to come to the rescue. That causes mistakes and the poorer the left-sided centre-half alongside him then the more mistakes he is going to make.

Fans critcise Michael Dawson, but his mistakes are as a result of the major weakness we have on the left, solve that problem and it solidifies other areas of the team. Of course if you are forcing the right-sided centre-half to spend to much time worrying about the left side then that is going to impact on the right-back and there is absolutely no doubt that it has.

Louis Van Gaal is all about the team, not the individual, the team playing football, the team playing the system is all that matters. Your game has to fit the system. He plays 4-3-3, that's all he plays. We purchased players to play that system and the players being looked at now therefore need to be assessed with that system in mind.

Van Gaal is a very forthright Head Coach, there is his way and only his way. Tim Sherwood is a very forthright individual as well so some of these players may be getting a taste of what they can expect next season. Those who react against it may well be on their way this summer.



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