Many assess the quality of teams based on their ‘spine’, whether they realize it or not. Up until last season, we were solid with a spine that consisted of Friedel, Kaboul, Parker, Modric, Adebayor. Anyone that reads those names would surely say that this was a squad that would challenge for the Premier League title. And we did. For a little while at least.
Fast forward to this season. What did the Tottenham spine look like when we faced Norwich, inclusive of injuries? Friedel, Gallas, Sandro, Sig, Defoe. Not bad, but hardly something that would set off rockets. Changes were made during that match with Dembele - a player who was appearing in a Spurs shirt for the first time – impressively managing to score on his debut, and Adebayor coming on (not match fit at the time). To recap, the spine then became Friedel, Gallas, Livermore, Dembele, Adebayor. Instantly, we looked a better side. Had Sandro possibly stayed on the pitch, and Livermore gone off, we might have been stronger defensively… not so sure, but that isn’t my point anyways.
How does this combination sound to you? Friedel / Lloris, Vertonghen / Kaboul, Parker / Sandro, Dembele / Sig, Ade / Defoe. A better side instantly surfaces, no?
The point I’m trying to make is the Spurs squad which we have seen over the past 3 games has not truly evolved as of yet. Also, we should consider a few other important factors. Bale down the left supported by BAE. Lennon on the right with Walker. Dempsey utilized from the right or off the striker, which Spurs should benefit from instantly considering his excellent positioning, ability to score and overall experience. All of a sudden, it seems like we have a much stronger side. One with more Premier League experience than Arsenal’s new-look-squad.
If the boys are able to mentally retain AVB’s tactical commands and approach, then this squad could become deadly. A little bit of time, practice, competition and a better understanding of each other’s roles and responsibilities will go a long way. Let’s give them what is needed. Hopefully, they’ll repay us with positive results along the way.