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Benny's back! But will he start?

Benoit Assou-Akotto will return to training this week, after rest not surgery (hopefully) solved his knee injury that has seen him miss the last six weeks of football.

In his and Kyle Naughton's absence, Jan Vertonghen has stepped into the left back role and Steven Caulker has also played very well in the centre of defence, to perhaps give AVB another nice headache, one of several he would be pleased to have on a par with that of Friedel/Lloris, Defoe/Adebayor and several others, which has to be seen as a major positive for the future.

BAE has looked pretty good this season, though as we all know, he is prone to the occasional lapse and will always raise our blood pressure up a point or two with his 'entertaining' risk taking, but isn't that why we all love him? Question is, whether Vertonghen and Caulker have done enough to keep him out of the starting line up for the short term at least?

For me, it seems sensible to ease BAE back into the side, in preference to rushing him straight back. Vertonghen, Caulker and the defensive unit as a whole look solid and are also functioning well in support of the attacking part of our game. Based on that and perhaps giving Benny a little longer to regain his fitness, would we be better to perhaps look at easing him back in the Cups rather than against Chelsea and with games against Maribor in the Europa and Norwich in the Capital One, we have two games a week to test both him and hopefully Kyle Naughton and at the same time consider resting Vertonghen and Walker to keep things fresh and also everyone happy...

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The journalist

Writer: OxfordSpur Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday October 15 2012

Time: 10:05AM

Your Comments

I agree, we should keep the current back line for the Chelsea game and ease him back in for the following games, I can't see how he can regain full fitness in less that a week after being out for six.
He won't be ready for Chelsea if he is only returning to training now. So same back 4 will be needed.
Tactically Challenge
Im guessing he is a naturally fit guy, but if it aint broke dont fix it. Effectively we could play with Naughton, Dawson and BAE in the Europa and give them game time and allow rest for others
He won't be playing against Chelski and when he is ready, his likely to be on the bench or return in the capital one cup or europa game, Vertonghen might not like playing left back, but his done very well in that position and how can you leave Caulker out, having BAE back is a welcome return, getting Naughton back, Parker and later on Kaboul, well it just makes us stronger all round, we have Ade in the frame as well, not all bad really is it?
spu 4 life
I've already seen one article suggesting that Chel$ki are looking to sign BAE as a replacement for Cole. Interesting timing - perhaps Di Matteo is an admirer of Fergie!!!
I'm sure he will be eased back in... But I wonder what will happen when we have a fully fit backline... Kaboul, Vert, Gallas and Caulker fully fit is an amazing selection headache... Vert and Kaboul would appear the best partnership.. although untested. It would also be a shame to put Caulker back on the bench though.. perhaps BAE will struggle to get his place back afterall as Vert, Kaboul, Caulker/Gallas, and walker looks like a decent back four.. Tis great having such a great group of defenders to pick from though
Stick with the same back four and integrate him back in afterwards. The game is going to come round too soon for someone who has been on the sidelines for 6 weeks. I feel we need to have Ade leading the line at the top for this game.
For me, I would pop him straight back in and move Vertonghen into the centre. Vs Chelsea, Vertonghen is better off not doing his trademark runs up field, but if he does, I think that it would best if he did it through the middle. Sandro could cover him. If he does it up left wing, Bale will not cover. If Vertonghen does move to centre, the Caulker will be the fall guy, because AVB loves Gallas.
spu 4 life - the realistic scenario is that we will have 2-3 main players injured. It is wishful thinking that they will all come back and no one else will get injured.... Look at Man U's injury list... Or Arsenal's. However, at the back, we seem to be strong - the only exception is that Walker seems to be struggling with something: the new system, form, confidence....I don't know, but Ashley Cole is coming, and he usually gets an assist against us....
I doubt BAE will be ready for this weekend. I hope Ade gets a start, preferably with Dempsey behind him - lets see what they can do together. Spain will be the test for Lloris, if he looks to be inform - I would give him another start to keep the confidence going. The rest pick themselves.
Bajan Spur
Our defensive unit looks solid? Afraid not, and I worry that we/they are about to meet their sternest test yet. Yes, Man U probably have better strikers but Chelsea won't be overrun as easily in midfield.
Play him. He is class
Walker needs a holiday imo....he just seems jaded, having to fight just to do the easy things....Chelsea may be too soon for Benny, how's naughton doing? I'd be happy with naughton, Vert, Caulker, walker OR Vert, Gallas, Caulker, Naughton/ fact we could put Daws in for Gallas and I'd still be happy....our back line looks good on paper but walker and Gallas are starting to cause me concern...
shannon - it's our midfiled that worries me if Dembele and Sandro aren't on form we'll get over-run...hope Bale isn't klnackered from internationals as well...
Yes, we need Bale to have a stormer, and Lennon too.
Shannon, shedboy2 - I think the defence and keeper is fine (aside from Walker issues), but I agree that I am not convinced about us midfield-wise. There is a suggestion that vs Man U, we knackered ourselves out in the first half - and were spent in the second. However, I feel that if Chelsea sit back, we won't be able to break them down - and they can grab goals. If Chelsea come at us, that we would be overrun and rely on counter attacks. Anyone with passing ability can dissect our midfield with one pass too easily. Ben Arfa did it, Man U did it, and Chelsea are full of guys who can do it.
Shouldn't start a big game like Chelsea when he's short of match fitness. Game after is against Southampton when maybe Verts will be rested cos he's played a lot of games already this season. After that it's difficult. Verts has said many times he wants to play CB but sometimes I think he's our best LB...
On paper this looks like a colossal contest between the individual talents of their midfield and attackers versus the power and pace of ours. I rate our defence better than theirs so it's all to play for. It will probably come down to who takes their chances the best as I'm sure their will be plenty at both ends. COYS
Love totty
as you say, I feel Chelsea have the more fragile defence, but do have the greater creativity in the middle and attacking areas. perhaps we need a torres injury and perhaps a few tired legs in their side after the international games
Very hard game considering Chelsea's current form. I'd personally be happy with a draw here but ofcourse that's my pessimistic side rearing it's ugly head.

On another Benny note, any truth behind the Chelsea interest rumour and would anyone be prepared to let him go if Ashley Cole came in as part of a deal?
In my opinion, our best 11 is;

Lloris, Walker, Vertonghen, Kaboul, BAE, lennon, Parker, Dembele, Bale, Dempsey, Adebeyor.

Unfortuntely though, I think it may be some time before we see this team on the pitch. Against Chelsea I wouldnt mind if BAE came straight in or not...the only gripe I have is that Gallas is still starting regardless.
KierzoSBC - I'd agree that on paper that looks the best team however i'm not convinced that Parker and Dembele would click based on their playing styles and likewise with Dempsey and Adebayor. I've been quite happy with the partnership of Sandro and Dembele thus far, i wouldn't change that. Likewise i still believe Adebayor and Dempsey work better as lone front men, which allows for another in the midfield. On this basis i would opt for...

Walker Kaboul Vertonghen BAE
Lennon Sandro Dembele Parker/Sigurdson Bale

Like the pundits keep noting, we have a very good squad. There are quite a few formations we can play around with, especially with the amount of versatile players we have in forward positions.
Agreed Ryan. I'm still not convinced about Sigurdsson...I would much rather have Dempsey playing in that number 10 role (which is what I meant above, sorry I should have said) or as you've put, Parker and Sandro playing behind Dembele.
Before he joined us Vertonghen said he was coming to play centre half, since joining he's said the same thing - yet reading some of these comments fans seem to think they can keep playing him at left back regardless. As soon as Jan BAE is ready to return either Vertonghen is moved back to centre half or there will be trouble.
kierzo thats because for some reason sigurdsson hasn't been doing what he does best, which is shooting from around the box. When he starts doing this he'll come good you'll see.
and I agree Jod, if we don't have vertonghen in the centre there could be trouble... imagine a back four of walker, kaboul, verts and BAE anyway...
Too soon for BAE for me. Should be a cracking game and our midfield shouldn't be underestimated. Dembele is a tough lad with balance and footwork that really impresses me. Sandro... No comment :) Bale needs to trust his own strength cos he's got decent size. Lennon works hard enough for me on the right. Add Dempsey and you've got a solid set. I'd probably go with Ade upfront and leave the back as it is. It's a long season and we challenge on all fronts so everyone will play enough games. Verts is smart enough to know we're a project in motion. Gallas' last season, probably Daw's too so that will free up spaces. Caulker is only 20 and I do see a bit of King's potential though time will tell. Lloris has no need to rush either as he will get games and AVB will have him in as No. 1 by the New Year or sooner. COYS!
i'll leave it to AVB whether he is ready to start or not. I haven't the foggiest about his fitness and the relative states of the other options. But, I remember after the riots in Tottenham a year ago August that the first person from Spurs to hit the streets in the neighborhood was BAE, when he went to get his hair done (and what hair!). He was a magnificent Spurs citizen and I, for one, will remember. A big up, Bennie, and welcome back.
Total knobhead
Who our best 11 is depends on fitness, tactics, opponent, who else is on the pitch for our side, etc. There may not be a single "best 11." Additionally, a best 11 isn't enough in today's game, as the physical demands are greater than some years back. Rotation is needed more than ever. We need a best 18, methinks.
Total knobhead
I still think Hudd will be vital to our squad this season. Dembele's a fantastic player, but he can't ping a ball 50 yards out wide and isolate a fullback against our pace out wide (though I hope I'm wrong there). Parker (32years), Livermore (22), Hudd (25), Dembele (25), Sandro (23) combines graft, experience, youth and talent. COYS!!
Agreed Total. We're looking pretty good so far after losing Modric and VDV, bringing in 2/3 starters(?), having injuries to Kaboom, Hudd, Parker, BAE and no Adebayor shows we have good depth. Players and coaches still adapting to new faces, tactics and training without a bad drop off thus far is encouraging. Future's Bright & Lilywhite!
Hugo, Walker, Kaboul, Verty, BAE, Lennon, Sandro, Dembele, Bale, Ade, Defoe.
Hugo, Walker, Kaboul, Caulker, Verty, Lennon, Sandro, Parker, Hudd, Bale, Ade.
Hugo, Naughton, Daws, Gallas, Verts, Lennon, Parker, Livermore, Sandro, Townsend, Ade
Freidel, Walker, Caulker, Gallas, BAE, Lennon, Sandro, Parker, Bale, Dempsey, Defoe
Hugo, Walker, Kaboul, Vertonghen, BAE, Lennon, Dembele, Sandro, Siggy, Bale, Ade
Just a few combos. Take your pick or make your own. Not even sure of my favourite one :)
Can't be ready for this game after only just restarting training, needs to be eased back in. I have seen the speculation re BAE to Chelsea, AVB and Levy should tell them to do one, unless they offer daft money, then I suppose it would have to be considered, but only considered.
We need to make it crystal clear to all our players that they will never be sold to another PL club unless it is in Spurs interest not theirs. We are no longer a feeder club.
Love totty
What our present back 4 provides is superiority in the air. On corners and free kicks we now rule our box. A vast improvement over past seasons. However Verts best position IS central defense and will eventually be paired with Caulker once BAE is match fit. Quite possible that we may see Gallas start the game vs Chelsea and be pulled around 60/70 minute mark to give BAE a run, moving Verts back into the middle.
Guys its off topic but i have one request for u..All the fans here in vital spurs please do follow our official facebook page..i know people here are mad about spurs more than me but sometimes some people could have missed it..i am telling because i feel we have only one tenths of the following of chelsea or arsenal..its our duty to make our club proud..hope someone takes a initiative for this...coys
TK, stpot on with your post re best 11/18. Just think of Arry era..same old same old. Now that the injury list is shrinking, it's looking good with rotation and selection headaches. In AVB we trust!. COYS!
Unless fully fit I see no reason to throw him into a game that will be as big as Chelsea. We need every player to be up to match fitness both physically and mentally. We beat Man U because we played well and avoided any individual mistakes - we need the same against Chelsea.
I can see BAE going to Chelsea if they really wanted him. Out of all the Spurs players (and indeed most footballers in general) BAE says it like it is. He plays football for money and he is at Spurs as they gave him the best deal. You can't fault a player that is honest about why he plays for a certain club. If Chelsea came in with a good bid for him and offered him more money I can see him going (and he'd have my best wishes too)
BAE's name is misspelled in the first line, credit where its due, please fix the man's name.
BAE should be eased into the team.. as rushing back can cause a relapse of his injury. We have defensive ability, so keep back line and add lloris.
Block D Spurs
Off topic, can someone post an article on Why Bale isnt as good as Ronaldo or Messi, before it gets embarrasing.
He may want to go to Chelsea, and has been said, you couldn't begrudge him, given his honesty, but he has a contract with THFC, and like Modric, he will only go when it suits Spurs, tactically an financially.
Chav game is too big and too soon.
BAE would be a great replacement for Cole... but it should cost them at least 15m in transfer-fee (with maybe Sturridge swap option too)...

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