Sandro, Dembele AND Parker?
In the last few days we have again debated the issue of Spurs leaking late goals and lacking leadership, but is Scott Parker the answer?
Upon the arrival of Andre Villas-Boas, fans were happily talking up an exciting 4-3-3 formation, supposedly preferred by the new manager, but as yet we have only seem a compromise 4-2-3-1 with more recently a move back towards a former favourite of 4-4-2 and despite our sitting well within the top four contenders and pretenders, are we yet to see anything but glimpses of quality and consistency that we would ideally aspire to see week in week out at our club?
Of course AVB has struggled with injuries and being unable to bring in his preferred signings, whilst some have adapted to his ideas quicker than others, and I'm sure the change from a manager who welcomed the 'go out and play' approach to one that is meticulous in his organisation and tactical expectations. Based on what we have seen so far, would any of us be surprised at changes in personnel or tactical alterations, once we get players back from injury or new faces into the squad?
After two 90 minute games for the juniors, Scott Parker could well feature in AVB's plans as soon as this weekend, whether on the bench in the short term, or even thrown in as soon as he is deemed fit enough, in a bid to add experience and organisation to the starting XI. There still remains a question mark over whether he is an AVB type of player and even if he will be at the club beyond January, but for everyone who wants or expects him to be out, there are at least the same number who feel he still has a key role to play, either as a valued squad member or even in the first XI, as he has qualities that no other player can yet match.
Whether Scott Parker is seem as having the required qualities by AVB, I have no idea, but I do see our considering adopting a variation on a 4-3-3 with him, Sandro and Dembele, as potentially the most rock solid midfield trio in the Premiership and one that would make us very hard to beat, whilst also having the balance and creativity to break down a stubborn defensive. To fit in three CM's, the likelihood is that you either lose a wide man or play a lone striker, and as a fan would you feel that perhaps dropping Aaron Lennon, Clint Dempsey or one of Defoe or Adebayor, but in doing so, perhaps unleashing Mousa Dembele from more defensive duties makes up for any lack of attacking flair.
Having three players comfortable in the centre, would you assume make us a more solid unit defensively, with Parker being a very organised and strong player to shield the back four, which also allows for a greater freedom for the full backs to press forward in the knowledge that they have such a great reader of the game covering their backsides. Sandro is an excellent player and could go on to be truly world-class, but would having Parker sit deep allow him to drive forward and break up the opponents play higher up, whilst Dembele has greater protection and energy to push forward and be the creative influence, I believe he can be.
Parker may not be pretty, he may be considered old by some, but he is a hell of a player, who makes others better at the same time. That in itself is a very rare gift that is vastly under-estimated outside of the players who benefit from his selection. It may well be considered by AVB that Parker is a little one dimensional and doesn't offer enough creatively or that his starting doesn't warrant the loss of one of the attacking players, but I feel his return will make us more solid at the back, but take nothing away from our attacking qualities, Who knows his experience and leadership might even halt the glut of late goals conceded, or is that expecting too much...