by Evan Jones
Editor's note: I thought that Evan's post was interesting, so it's getting promo'd to the front page. I've e-mailed back and forth with Evan and you should expect some more posts from him in the future.
The first two months of Spurs' first season with Champions League games has already been full of good, bad and ugly moments. However, the team has been playing into form right before the current international break with consecutive wins against FC Twente in the Champions League and against Aston Villa (pre-break) and Fulham (post-break) in the Premiership. What can we expect going into the January transfer window and what can the team do to insure their high-flying form?
The injury bug has been on a tear in North London, with several key players picking up injuries during the first matches of the season. Forward Jermain Defoe’s high ankle sprain has him sidelined until December; the other forwards have failed to step up in his absence and have scored one goal in the first seven Premier League games this season. Injuries to defenders Michael Dawson (knee), William Gallas (groin) and Younes Kaboul (hamstring), Jonathan Woodgate (pelvis) and blog namesake Ledley King have emaciated the back line, forcing midfielder Tom Huddlestone to fill in at centre-back.
These two areas of concern have started the rumor mill spinning about the team’s moves during the transfer window. Tottenham are linked with AC Milan centre-back Daniele Bonera, as well as Real Madrid & French forward Karim Benzema. The team is also rumored to be tracking Sevilla forward Luis Fabiano, who is not pleased with his current playing time in Spain.
Keep van der Vaart in the lineup.
The addition of Dutch international Rafael van der Vaart has provided pleasant headaches when selecting the team’s starting eleven. In lieu of right winger Aaron Lennon’s dip in form, Harry has played VDV on the right, but Rafa’s natural tendency to play in the middle of the pitch has put the team’s 4-4-2 formation back on the drawing board. A recent ESPN Soccernet column has suggested a 3-5-2 to better suit VDV’s needs (and also compensate for the injured backline). Here’s my proposed 3-5-2 line up:
Corluka :: King :: Assou-Ekotto
Lennon :: van der Vaart :: Modric :: Bale
Crouch :: Pavlyuchenko
Huddlestone would play behind the midfield in a holding position/sweeper role and allow for a potent and interchangeable attack.
Despite crashing out of the Carling Cup to the Gooners, this is a blessing in disguise for Spurs, who are able to focus on the Premiership, Champions League and FA Cup (a favorite of Harry’s). Fewer distractions will insure the club’s focus on succeeding on the European stage.
Where do you see the club headed into January? Do the current injuries need to be addressed in the transfer window? Does the 3-5-2 make an appearance? How far will Spurs head in Europe? Share your thoughts below.
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