Tottenham Hotspur are pretty good this season, and have as high powered an offense as they've had since the departure of Gareth Bale. Their opponents this weekend, West Bromwich Albion, recognize this too, which is why one of their first team coaches, Gerry Francis, has essentially admitted that they plan to park the bus against Spurs this Saturday.
"[Tottenham have] played well, they're a young side, they've got a really good chance of getting in the top four so that will be a difficult game. You have to work out a game plan on the basis of what you've got.
Liverpool and Tottenham are very good attacking sides, they push forward with their full-backs and leave some space in behind. If you've got the pace to get in behind when you've got the turnover, you can utilise playing into the channels and causing teams problems. We got our second goal against Arsenal playing that same way with Salomon running into the channels.
Certainly we'll be looking at trying to counter-attack against these teams.
At the same time you've got to concentrate for 90 minutes as a defensive set-up because they've got such good players and are so good going forward."
Nobody should be surprised by this tactic. First of all, it's a Tony Pulis-managed team. While Pulis has gotten away from the defensive hoof-and-run tactics he employed while manager of Stoke, it's still a tool in his toolbox that he knows how to use. Also they successfully utilized it against Arsenal two weeks ago.
Chelsea, admittedly a well-structured team with a fantastic defense, also utilized a counterattacking strategy very effectively last weekend at White Hart Lane. What other opponents have already discovered to their detriment is that if you attack Spurs and their high press you will often end up gifting opportunities if they force a turnover. Packing men behind the ball may be boring, but it can also be effective when you're going up against a high-powered offense.
West Brom's defense isn't as good as Chelsea's, and they were unquestionably lucky against Arsenal having won via a Mikel Arteta own goal, but Spurs will need to be patient, press relentlessly, and watch out for players like Saido Berahino who like to slip between defenders. At any rate, Spurs are unquestionably good, which means they should get used to having to break down bunkered defenses anyway.