If there has been one thing apparent to me over both this and last season, it's that Tottenham are vulnerable against weaker teams who hustle particularly well. Tottenham look impressive when they're able to dictate terms, but they struggle most when teams attempt to flood the mid-field and cut down Spurs time on the ball.
To me, this comes down to Tottenham not having come up with a great solution to the left hand side of the field. Since Gareth Bale moved to a more central position last year, we've really missed width on that side of field as we've fielded players as left wingers, who are probably more suited to a supporting striker or attacking midfield role like Clint Dempsey and Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Indeed, that remains an issue this year, made problematic the club's three top wing options are prefer to play on the right. With Townsend and Lamela right-sided inverted wingers, and Lennon a more traditional option, still there is no obvious solution to our right side of the field.
As such, Sigurdsson has continued to hold that flank, narrowing our play and seeing us to continue to struggle against cramped mid-fields.
The problem against this style of defence, is that the man most suited to this type of game is Moussa Dembele, however he hasn't quite clicked playing alongside Paulinho, who has been AVB's most consistent element in the side. However, a pivot that involves Dembele and say Sandro, and maybe two more traditional wingers really requires a consistent goal-scoring threat at 10 and maybe Holtby and Eriksen both don't quite measure up in that regard, being primarily creators rather than scorers.
With West Ham having beaten Spurs with a 4-6-0 formation and Aston Villa also troubling Spurs with what ended up being a pretty similar game-plan, we can probably expect that most lower-ranked teams will mimic the strategy so it's something AVB needs to find an answer to. There are any number of permutations that I think would work better than what we've had to date, but if I was AVB I'd be interested to see how Lamela works at ten with Lennon on the right and Townsend on the left. That would allow for plenty of width, while I think Lamela would provide that additional goal threat through the middle.
What's your solution to the problem?