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Finding the Balance

My neighbour periodically comes up with a new design for remodeling his house, the trouble is he always tries to fit more in than the space can take.

I get the impression some of the discussions on our team follow a similar thought process. You can only have eleven players on the pitch, five of them are usually defenders. So this leaves six to be spread between the front, wings and central midfield.

Strengthen one area you must weaken another, for every player you bring in one must come out. People talk about 'adding' to the team, really it would often be more accurate to talk about 'substituting', you hope what you add is more than what you take away.

So far this season we have played with a set up based on power and numbers in midfield and pace down the wings with a lone front man. It worked (just) against Crystal Palace and Swansea and it failed (again just) against Arsenal. I don't count the europa games as the opposition was so much weaker.

So far we've played 3, won 2, lost 1, scored 2 and conceded 1, we haven't scored or conceded many. The strength of the system is possession, against Arsenal we apparently had more of the ball than they did. But I've long argued possession is over rated, we've beaten Arsenal in the past with 33% possession, this time we lost with more than 50%.

The trouble is its not how long you have the ball but what you do with it. With the system we've been playing we're not doing much, Soldado is finding himself isolated and trying to feed off scraps. I was disappointed at the Emirates that, once it was apparent the system wasn't working, AVB didn't put on Holtby early instead of Dembele, sacrifice some of the power for more energy and creativity.

It does seem to me its time for a rethink in terms of the shape of the team, the balance is wrong. We've now got all our players in, we're going to have to effectively play two teams if we want to compete in the league and travel all over the globe in the europa league. We actually have the players to do that, in fact it gives players game time, its a case of mixing the pace, power and creativity in each team so that we can protect the defence and support the attack at the same time.

The international break may actually do us a favour as it gives AVB a chance to think through what he does with the resources he now has. Lets hope we start seeing better balanced sides in future games.

Written by jod

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The journalist

Writer: Jod Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Monday September 2 2013

Time: 4:25PM

Your Comments

good article
but I am starting to have doubts regarding avb and his abilities as a tactician
Spot on, i feel we only played the way we did yesterday was because we was forced to, AVB this and we will revert to having a No.10.
***** me AVB has gone from Hero to Zero and the season has only just started. We have 7 new players and they need time to gel. I mean you don't expect to marry a girl after one week of courting! We were going nuts over the purchases we've bought and now we question is tactical nous after a few games. Judge how the team looks by Xmas. Normally that's a good indicator where we are. COYS!
Not sure the shape or formation is the problem, we seem to need to wait for the perfect opportunity which gets harder when you give the opposition time to re organise. Get the ball forward and get an attempt registered, it cant be a coincidence that Defoe, Adebayor and Soldado are being starved of goals from open play because of there own ability. Get the ball forward fast if something comes off then good if not then get organised and go again. Not only that pedestrian possession based football is the most tedious and uninteresting type of football.
Not that i'm slating AVB, but basing what ive seen so far this year bares a striking similarity to the style we played at the back end of last season, except no Bale 25 yard screamer to pick up points.
Absolutely. Less is more. Removing some muscle for some 1 touch speed and movement is needed.
coys1717, agree with that brother, we've seemed almost plodding a lot of the time. Said on another thread, and on various other threads before yesterdays game, we should have started with Holtby instead of Dembele. Even if we'd only have got an hour out of him, i'm sure it'd have been more productive than the hour we got with dembele
Having seen dembele in his Fulham days I have been quite disappointed in his performances at Spurs. I think it is fair to say that he has never reproduced his game dominating form he showed with them. I would agree that I would start Holtby for his effort, pace about the pitch, passing, and the likelihood of a goal, at least until Eriksen is ready to be considered. We just have to improve the non existent service into Soldado. It's no good having a "fox in the box" if you don't give him the service. He ain't going to come back to pick it up and drive forward, he is almost exclusively an in the box striker, who needs it into feet or space, he won't score worldies from outside the box, or with headers, his career stats tell it all.
coys1717, agree with you. Our team speed is almost nil. Our transition from defense to offense is zero. Everyone standing around to react when we have the ball. No quick passing, no triangles to establish possession. We are not moving the ball around with purpose either. Sigh. COYS.
Apparently, it's not how much you have, it's how you use it. That's what the missus keeps telling me anyway!!!
Spot on regarding Soldado, Frank. Damn wingers. Cross early I say and from the touchline to create space. Not from the byline with all 10 opposing players in the box. COYS.
@vicspur, lol, even she has to agree if only used north to south and not sideways.
Not sure about trashing AVB's tactics and calling for a complete revolution of them but I get ur idea. Logic tells me we will adopt numerous tactics depending on the opposition. The art of tactics is getting ur team to adopt the style. We have to notice that AVB has completely revolutionized the setup to hold possession and pressurize the opposition as much as possible. Both these are assts we never had. These two working excellently is testimony to our results to be Frank and if our fans could calm down to petrified balance themselves we will be entertained with real style and substance in the not to distant future...
Did you see how the Villians beat the scum ? With speed and intent. A well drilled team with a game plan.
I am not questioning AVB's tactics. I stand by him. I still say in ABV I trust. 100%. Not sure that after supporting the team throughout the years that on e can be "petrified" anymore. Do you still have your finger nails still ?
Of course the balance isn't right yet. I think this is because we have lost Bale and haven't sorted out that position behind the striker and creativity. We have now got Eriksen which I expect to come in next game and possibly Lamela. We have brought a goal scorer because our strikers didn't do so well last season but my concern is the type of goal scorer we have brought is a fox in the box and does nothing else YET the way we are set up is limited in terms of getting the ball in the box from the wide areas. It is obvious we had Townsend and Chadli cutting in and that way of playing doesn't suit a Soldado type of striker so what is AVB ideas. Does he feel Lennon, Lamela and eriksen are going to get the ball in the box? I think if you have a Soldado striker you need wide men getting down the wing and crossing the ball in not cutting back which was picked up on MOTD2 as well. Lennon hasn't been great at doing that it is not his strength and Chadli hasn't manage that as yet but then he is playing left and is right footed, therefore cutting in so sure AVB has a plan otherwise what is the point of having Soldado if he doesn't get the service.

I don't want to judge any players yet it's too early but opinions so far is I am not taken to Soldado or Chadli and I prefer Lennon to Townsend. I like Capoue and think Paulinho is showing some good signs but it is clear the balance is not right. I think it is time Dembele was dropped and I prefer Defoe than Soldado at the moment as he does do more out of the box and looks more likely to score than Soldado but then again his goals dried up last season but we need to ask ourselves is that because he didn't get enough quality service in the box just as what is happening now or is it that he was no good. Personally I think the service was poor to the strikers last season but also both strikers could have done more as well, so bit of both. We have not rectified the problems of last season, lack of creativity lack of service to strikers, so Soldado at moment waste of money but that doesn't mean it will not work. We need to see what AVB has in mind.
Since the new signings started arriving I have been of the opinion that the formation AVB is looking to play is more of a 4-2-3-1 set-up with two of Sandro /Capoue/ Dembel or Paulinho playing in the deeper midfield position and then three of Siggy / Townsend /Lennon / Lamela /Eriksen or Holtby playing the attacking midfield roles. Soldado up top with Defoe or (God Help us) Ade rotating in. This would address the creative issues as Jod has identified and still keep a very strong and powerful defensive midfield. This would allow far more balance to the team while hopefully stopping Soldado being isolated.

What we now know is that we can close out a game and stifle the opposition completely from playing - info which will come in very handy during the campaign.
Slurms McKenzie
What concerns me is that AVB seems content with the way we play and doesn't intend to change it. After all he's encouraged Baldini to find the players that fit his system. For sure it is a powerful way to play and we will dominate most teams and will hold our own against the big boys and maybe even bore them into submission. But IT'S NOT SPURS.
love totty
What concerns me is that AVB seems content with the way we play and doesn't intend to change it. After all he's encouraged Baldini to find the players that fit his system. For sure it is a powerful way to play and we will dominate most teams and will hold our own against the big boys and maybe even bore them into submission. But IT'S NOT SPURS.
love totty
I'm not hankering for a return to 'Arry. His tactics were strange too at times and he over-played his favourites. But with our high line now we seem just as likely to concede a goal as we did under his gung-ho approach without the goals.
love totty
With the lack arrival of Eriksen and Lamela I think its fair to say that AVB didn't have all the pieces of the puzzle in place to set the team up how he wanted. Holtby's injury only compounded that problem. We're nearly their. Harry's squad and way has resulted in several 5-2 drubbings at the emirates lest we forget.
Slurms McKenzie
* late arrival
Slurms McKenzie
I think it's gonna take a while for AVB to see who's best where and with whom - FFS - some players have walked straight from the plane to the pitch and we're worried they haven't performed and they're *****? If we'd have judged Modric and Bale on their first 4 months, let alone 4 matches then they'd have been out the door and we'd have missed out on our two best recent players. Even Sandro took a while to bed in. Arse match was 2 weeks too soon end of and even then we had em pinned back. EPL derby's can go at 100 mph, until they scored yesterday we looked to be calm and controlling it - and with more class, I thought - but then we lost shape and started chasing shadows a bit. Of course it's worrying we aren't scoring much so far, but compared to last season we've started well, have a stronger squad and more faith in our manager. Trouble is with Spurs fans is we've had to put up with some right old **** for too long, and with our history it's hard to take - we over-react - only human - it's gonna take a few cups and CL qualification to cure us. I won't moan at the moaners - you want to hear me when I'm watching - I'll just say don't torture yourselves overly and have a bit of faith, plus it does look a bit embarrassing when other fans see us implode after every hiccup. We've got a lot of options in our squad now and it Will come good, I'm sure we'll soon be Supercalifragilisticfu(kinexpialidocious!
Doc- correct, it is human reaction especially when we have conditioned ourselves over the years of supporting spurs. It's a mentality thing that we need to de condition ourselves from and I think it is the same for players. The have to believe in themselves as winners and I think that mentally is starting to come around Spurs since AVB has been around. You can play wonderful football like under HR and you can have quality players but there has to be a winning mentality throughout the squad and club otherwise you fall at the last hurdle which we did under HR. January under HR we were in great position to finish top four easily and both times we crumbled. Last season under AVB we dipped a little but he got us through it quicker and we finished stronger, that to me shows improvements whether we played attractive football or not. Many will say it was Bale bailing us out, yes he did but I still felt there was a more solid mental attitude around the place and the new player brought in hopefully will also have that mental strength, a winning attitude and if they don't hopefully AVB will continue to bring that to the club, get the players gelling and knowing each other and hopefully get us performing.
Some good medicine thanks Doc :)
Bit of an auntie climax innit? Still can't stop checking just in case.
Woops wrong thread lol.
Ur welcome Mix ;0)
We've played 3 games in the prem and haven't even integrated all our big money signings to the squad properly. There really isn't anything to make long term judgements on. If AVB wanted to continue with the same physical, ball carrying style we wouldn't have blown 66m on Eriksen, Lamela and Soldado. I'm sure the pace will ramp up once the more creative players get added to the mix and in the meantime it absolutely doesn't hurt to get in the habit of trying to concede as little as possible.
We haven't played our strongest team yet give it a month then watch us play with.. Lloris, walker, kaboul, vert, rose, Sandro paulinho, Lennon, erikson, lamela and bobby that team playing with confidence and a good understanding of the bosses tactics and each others games we could well beat any team in England
i'm not result-driven, as a spurs fan you probably can't be. I will be behind the possession game. when we had flying bale + lennon + walker - the games were interesting but not strong, probably elegent in its own way but equally worrying with the underlying statement that we are exciting but small weak team. I like the look of the team now, it's getting developed, firmer and more mature and a hint of masterful, that is a strong club would be #COYS
SpursWho, unfortunately football is a totally results driven game. It is about scoring enough, conceding a minimum, consistently picking up points, finishing in the highest league position possible. It is nice if you can achieve this while nice to watch, but the priority has to be the result.
Not slagging but I was really surprised with how poor you lot were on Sunday. I was expecting a much tougher game yet despite a bit of pressure toward the end you didn't really create anything and your keeper (sell him to us please!!) kept the score a lot closer than it perhaps should have been. Honest opinion is that Demble is not good enough to play as your furthest forward midfielder, he doenst do enough. And Lennon is not the type of player that will provide Soldago with the goals. Lennon is a pretty average player to be honest, has never realty produced the goods over more than a game or two. I don't know what system you play, Cap is pretty much a sit in front of the back 4 type player and he's very good at it. So why then do you need Paul and Sandro and Demble?? All good players but aren't they pretty much the same as Cap?? I know Erickson is pretty highly rated but he's very young I know pretty much nothing about the Roma guy you bought. Despite who you've bought I don't think that the balance of the team is at all right and Townsend and that Swiss bloke are no where near good enough as wingers in a top 4 team. Soldago is a finishing, nothing more. A great finisher but unless someone can create from him don't expect miracles. I know I'm slightly biased but I still have seen (thankfully) nothing from AVB to suggest that he is all that. Spurs are pretty much at the same level as last year and the year before. Selling Bale may have funded 7 new players but you can only play one of those 7 in Bale's position and none of them are close to what he was for you.
Galway Gooner
The game against Arsenal showed that our transition from defence into attack lacked fluidity. This was clear to see. We needed a link up player in the middle who understands and is comfortable in this role. I believe Ericksen/Holtby are perfect for his role. The System needs tweaking and players need time to gel. AVB needs to get the players playing to Soldado's strengths. Getting the ball into the oppositions box quickly. Ade and Defoe would also benefit from this approach when they play up front. I feel positive about the future. COYS.......

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