So Spurs looked pretty poor this weekend against QPR. Most people would chalk it up to another parked bus and Spurs just never got that elusive breakthrough. And to a certain extent, QPR did park the bus against Spurs, but they did it in a much more strategic way than most.
The first and most obvious thing QPR did was having their wingers and fullbacks double up on Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale. This neutralized the two of Spurs' best attacking options. Fortunately for Spurs, it also hurt QPR's chances of burning us on the fast break. A goal from Spurs would have forced QPR's wingers on the attack and opened things up for Lennon and Bale, but unfortunately that goal never came and the two were stifled for most of the game.
The most important thing QPR did against us was the pressure they put on Moussa Dembele. Dembele hasn't been under that kind of pressure all season. Their tight marking of him didn't give him a chance to dribble into space and often resulted in him losing possession. And I'm worried that other teams are going to start trying this tactic against Spurs. They were only able to do this because of our two man midfield. While Sandro is a great player, he doesn't really have the passing and dribbling ability to fill Dembele's role, or even ease pressure off of Dembele. The same goes for Scott Parker. So with the midfield attacking onus on Sandro and Parker, Spurs were unable to un park the bus. As a result of this, there were essentially two strikers stranded at the top of the field, with no one to get the ball to them.
There are four obvious solutions to fixing this. One would be having Emmanuel Adebayor drop deep and relieve pressure on Dembele. But Adebayor was dropping deep against QPR, he just wasn't doing it often enough or effectively enough. Another would be to move back to the 4-2-3-1 with Dempsey or Sigurdsson in the hole. This could work, but will teams respect Dempsey and Sigurdsson enough to stop pressuring Dembele? I'm skeptical that they do. And I'm also skeptical either player is skilled enough to create something if Dembele is pressured heavily again. Spurs could also bring in Holtby right now, or buy a player like Sneijder that will surely take the pressure off Dembele and create chances if another team decides to pressure Moussa. The last would be to buy a player like Moutinho, and truly switch to the 4-3-3. I favor the last two solutions, but I think it's clear that something must be done. Dembele and Sandro works when Spurs have a lead and other teams are forced to attack, but when they can sit back in defense and pressure Dembele the offense is stagnant. And I think we'll be seeing losses and draws to lower table teams unless we shake things up. Let me know what you think should be done below.