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Yes, Tottenham Should Buy Lassana Diarra: Some Analysis For Y'All

MADRID SPAIN - FEBRUARY 06:  Lassana Diarra of Real Madrid looks on during the la Liga match between Real Madrid and Real Sociedad at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on February 6 2011 in Madrid Spain.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
MADRID SPAIN - FEBRUARY 06: Lassana Diarra of Real Madrid looks on during the la Liga match between Real Madrid and Real Sociedad at Estadio Santiago Bernabeu on February 6 2011 in Madrid Spain. (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
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I've heard the refrain from quite a few of you. We don't need Lassana Diarra. We have Tom Huddlestone, Sandro and Wilson Palacios. We need to spend that money on a striker.

Yes, we need a striker more than we need Lass. I hear you on that. However, Lass is going to be a big help to this team if he shows up - especially since Sandro is looking pretty FUBAR at the moment - and we don't know how much money the club has to spend. Daniel Levy said Harry had to spend to buy, but of course he said that. What's he supposed to say, "Harry has £40m to spend?" All that does is inflate asking prices for everyone we go after. Harry could have no money to spend or he could have £80m. We have no way of knowing.

So, with that in mind, I present what we can do with Lass (and the players already on our roster) in the first couple games of the season, assuming that Rafael van der Vaart, Luka Modric and Tom Huddlestone are actually healthy. I'd like to have a Steven Pienaar to use here, but beggars can't be choosers. Pretty pictures and ish after the jump.

On Saturday, we kick off the season against Everton. Fortunately for us, they have a couple of key players injured. Seamus Coleman and Mikel Arteta are both very much unlikely to feature. They will probably play a 4-4-1-1 formation with Tim Cahill in the hole and a double pivot of Marouane Fellaini and Jack Rodwell. While neither is inept going forward, they're not too much of a threat making runs from deep. With Pienaar sold and Arteta injured, Everton won't be as left-leaning as they were in the past, but Diniyar Bilyaletdinov is no slouch and Leighton Baines is arguably the best left back in the Premiership.

With Coleman out and Baines at left back, I want Spurs to be a left-leaning team going forward, while we stay concerned about Everton doing the same. Additionally, keeping the ball away from Cahill and having a defensive midfielder who can match his work rate will be key. For this game, if Lass was around, Huddlestone would be out. I love Big Tom, but it's for good reason.

football formations

Gareth Bale cutting in and Beniot Assou-Ekotto getting forward at will helps us keep our width and stretch the defense. I'm not worried at all about a counter-attack down our left, so I'm fine with risking BAE getting caught too high up the pitch. Modric acts as our primary playmaker in the middle, Diarra marshals the midfield and keeps Cahill in check, while van der Vaart has freedom to roam. Lennon's pace down the right keeps Baines honest.

The key player in this setup - the one we won't actually have on Saturday - is Lass. Jermaine Jenas can't tackle anyone, Huddlestone is slow, Sandro is injured and Palacios - if he isn't going to Stoke - can't pass to save his life. I honestly think that Jake Livermore - a homeless man's Lassana Diarra - should be in the starting lineup against Everton on Saturday. No, I'm not taking the piss.


The following week is a completely different story - a match against Manchester United. Their fantastic squad depth makes predicting their lineup next to impossible, but there are a few things that we do know about United. They're going to have some decent numbers in the middle, Rooney is going to move into a No. 10's position whether he starts the game at that spot or another one, and United is going to have fantastic wide play. With that in mind, here's what I came up with for a Spurs team with Lass to face United.

football formations 

I switched it up a bit in this one by going to a double pivot behind Modric, taking away BAE's freedom to get forward, and moving van der Vaart to the right. I want to flood the middle of the pitch, I want Huddlestone's quality in distribution in this game, and I want Diarra's tireless work rate. His ability to cover a lot of ground would be key in this setup.

Ideally, I'd want Kyle Walker in at right back when van der Vaart plays right midfield so that the team doesn't lose width going forward, but United is a bit of a special case. I really don't want Walker in there against Patrice Evra and Ashley Young/Nani. He's just going to get eaten for lunch. Most teams have to make some kinds of sacrifices and pick their poison against United. I am not picking that poison.

Lass has the mobility that Huddlestone doesn't have, the tactical awareness that Sandro doesn't have, the fitness that Sandro won't have until winter or spring, the everything relatively defensive in nature that Modric doesn't have, the passing ability that Palacios doesn't have, and the everything that Jenas doesn't have. He should not be signed in lieu of a striker, but if that's a false choice, Lass would be an excellent addition that gives us even more tactical versatility. 

Now, let's sign a damn striker.