Tottenham Hotspur And The High Defensive Line

CARSON, CA - JULY 24: Jan Vertonghen #5 heads the ball against Chad Barrett #9 of Los Angeles Galaxy during the second half of the international friendly match at The Home Depot Center on July 24, 2012 in Carson, California. The game ended in a 1-1 tie. (Photo by RicTapia/Getty Images)

Let's all be honest. That whole high line thing looked pretty touch and go for most of the match on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Galaxy. Robbie Keane got in behind Jan Vertonghen and Younes Kaboul on numerous occasions and one can only imagine what a better finisher like Kun Aguero would do to Spurs with that many chances.

In the Galaxy friendly, Tottenham Hotspur put out what many believe will be their first-choice defensive pairing of Kaboul and Vertonghen and while on paper this pairing should have been able to execute the high line rather easily the two looked out of sorts. This didn't change during the rest of the match when Michael Dawson came on to replace Kaboul.

Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, let's all remember that this is pre-season and is still one of the first games any of these players have played under new manager Andre Villas-Boas. Hopefully, it's only going to get better, but boy did it look bad last night.

Both Kaboul and new signing Vertonghen looked to be frequently out of position against the Galaxy the other night. We saw a mostly first-choice back four (Sebastien Bassong played leftback instead of Benoit Assou-Ekotto), but even this didn't seem to make much difference to Spurs' defensive efforts. Keane especially, ever the poacher, got behind the defense several times.

Hopefully, AVB is using these friendlies to determine how the team can or cannot play, but I'm pretty sure this high line is not something he's going to want to compromise on. I'm willing to chalk this performance up to poor execution, unfamiliarity with teammates, and unfamiliarity with the system as a whole, but if the backline still looks like this against Valencia on August 9, it will be time to worry.

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