With Kyle Walker a doubt for Saturday's match against Aston Villa, Mauricio Pochettino faces a potential selection dilemma at right back. Cartilage Free Captain writers 55thVin and Brett Rainbow spent some time discussing Pochettino's options.
Poche knows, you know, and I know that Vlad Chiriches is going to get the start on Saturday. And after his strong performance against Burnley on Sunday, he deserves it. While starting out in the center of defense, he was forced into an emergency showing at right back as Kyle Walker sustained a knock that stands to keep him out of this weekend's match against Aston Villa. At this point in the year we need points to finish as high in the table as we can, and Vlad, despite being a huge mistake waiting to happen, has natural attacking instincts and looked miles more composed in his 45 minute cameo than Kyle Walker has looked in months. He has been integrated into the squad, developed a feel his teammates, and performed this role already this year. Playing Vlad is the obvious and correct choice.
Brett: Dearest Vincent,
Before I get to why you are dead wrong, I need to get something off my chest. I love Vlad Chiriches. Whether he's doing a drunkard's impression of Franz Beckenbauer or simply being a drunkard, no Spurs player has ever provided a higher ratio of comedy value to on-pitch value. I genuinely hope he plays for Spurs until he is ready to take his rightful place as the man inside the Chirpy suit.
With that said, Vlad is 100% the wrong choice for Saturday's match against Aston Villa. Sure, Vlad played better last week than Walker has in months, but you have to admit that is a pretty low bar; Walker has been running on empty for a while now and could do with a few weeks' rest. As far as the team chemistry argument, are we even talking about the same player? Vlad's teammates have a feel for where Vlad will be 10 seconds from now in the same way you or I have a feel for where a hot dog strapped to a lit firework will be.
Spurs were stagnant and bereft of ideas against Burnley. While that is not down to the right back position in particular, the team needs a spark to get the season back on track. That is why it is time Mauricio Pochettino gives DeAndre Yedlin a chance to turn things around.
Vince: You've really made my point for me. If Vlad is a hot dog-strapped fire cracker, which I'm willing to concede, and terrifies his own teammates, imagine the living hell that Villa defenders will be going through when they have to deal with his unorthodox runs, his untimely nutmegs, his penchant for the aimless 60-yard ball over the top?
We know what DeAndre Yedlin is: Kyle Walker-lite. He will bomb the flanks, out-run some mistakes, and generally impress athletically. Aside from his haircut du jour, I'm not sure we'll see the craft and style that we'll need to pull these three points from the cauldron of the Dim Tim derby.
And these games do matter. Getting into Europe should be a goal for the squad. We should be trying things, but DeAndre will have to wait a few more weeks.
Brett: I take your point about Vlad's unpredictability. If Vlad has no idea what he is going to do next, Villa can't tailor their game plan for him.
Vince: Wait, you actually think Sherwood gives his players any tactical instruction before the match? Aren't you the tactics writer for this site?
Brett: Touché. As far as the idea that Yedlin is Kyle Walker-lite, you are selling my man DeAndre short. Sure, he shares a bit of Walker's positional naiveté and the pace that (sometimes) makes up for it, but he also does something we rarely see from Walker: he lifts his head up before crossing the ball. Take a look at his highlights from the United States' World Cup match against against Belgium.
Spurs have not had a pacey, crossing fullback break into the team since... hmm, I can't remember who it was... oh, that's right, GARETH BALE. Remember him? He's the guy we sold to Madrid for 100 million Euros. What kind of monster doesn't want Spurs to give the next Gareth Bale a chance?
Vince: More of a jackass than monster, thank you, but back to your very bad point. Dear, dear Brett, by mentioning Gareth Bale, are you are saying that you'd willingly go through a 24 game winless stretch of games right now just to get Yedlin some burn? Who is the monster now?
Diverging from your generally being bad at opinions, we have to consider that Yedlin just got here and, presumably, will be here for a while. As much as you love him, Vladimir is getting sold in the summer. If he plays well in the last few games of the season, Levy might be able to wangle a higher transfer fee.
Brett: I don't want to think about Levy wangling anything.
Vince: Perhaps not, but the point stands - playing Vlad now puts him in the shop window for the summer. In the meantime, Yedlin can refine his tackling technique while playing for the U-21 side.
Brett: Wow, that is some Karate Kid sh*t. Shame Tim isn't playing Saturday.
Vince: Get him a body bag, DeAndre!