FanPost

More than a nuisance

I've written before about Tottenham's ability to breach parked defences, but I think the Leeds match showed even more so, that right now our Kryptonite is actually niggling defences.

It was probably Wigan that first demonstrated the best way to combat Tottenham's strength in midfield was to attack the ball and hurry Tottenham's middle. QPR did likewise, and were rewarded with a point and almost an upset win and Leeds took the same playbook into the FA Cup and emerged victorious.

I'm not sure what exactly it is. Maybe, we get too easily frustrated. At times against Leeds we moved the ball up the pitch nicely with neat passing exchanges, but as the match wore on - even with the entry of Dembele into the fray - we seemed to have less and less success, losing the ball far too frequently or at least having to stop and begin the build-up again.

Clearly, Tom Huddlestone's lack of mobility was a contributor against Leeds and combined with Scott Parker's technical inadequacies, we are lacking that punch in midfield that might punish a rushing defender and open up space to be exploited. Dembele should have the armoury to do better, but despite his excellent dribbling skills he also seems to feel the pressure when he's ruthlessly hounded.

What's AVB to be? I feel Vertonghen could press forward more often. Dempsey could also assist by dropping deeper and making use of some of his clever touches, but that would require a striker who is comfortable playing the lone wolf role - or you might just say that would require a striker and leave it at that if you were feeling less charitable.

Or maybe Holtby's arrival (if indeed it does eventuate) will give us a bit more craft through the middle.

We saw AVB respond to our inclination to give away later goals with some training field exercises, and I reckon our manager might do likewise to simulate some more experience and strategies to deal with a nuisance defence. Because the recipe of how to combat Tottenham is now there for all to see.

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