Yeah, Ryan Nelsen will totally stop him
Queens Park Rangers went on a spending spree this summer. They bought Park Ji-Sung, Esteban Granero, Samba Diakite and Stephane Mbia, while also adding Junior Hoilett and Andy Johnson on free transfers.
Do you notice anything about that group of players? None of them are defenders.
Through four matches, QPR has surrendered nine goals and that number is actually flattering. Had Fernando Torres been capable of kicking the ball in the general direction that is preferred by strikers (between the posts), QPR would have conceded three or four goals last week instead of zero. QPR is really a 12 goals conceded in four matches team.
QPR's abysmal defending makes this a very different match-up for Spurs than they are used to. It will be a contest basically begging Spurs to score, unless anyone believes in a central defense pairing of Ryan Nelsen and Nedum Onuoha. Anyone?
Fear not, though, because Bosingwa and Clint Hill will surely be able to pinch in and help. Well, they would if they weren't Jose Bosingwa and Clint Hill.
But the visitors will test Spurs in the midfield and that isn't something that they are used to. The midfield has been a strong point for the team, but Granero will team with Alejandro Faurlin in the middle for a formidable opposition. And out wide, Park and Shaun Wright-Phillips will test Tottenham. In terms of quality, QPR can at least test Spurs.
The advantage for Tottenham comes in numbers. Whereas QPR plays in a traditional 4-4-2 with Bobby Zamora and Djibril Cisse up front, Spurs will play in a 4-2-3-1 that gives them a distinct advantage in the center, so long as five is still more than four.
Whether Clint Dempsey or Gylfi Sigurdsson gets the nod, he will be able to pressure Granero and Faurlin. With Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale using their pace to close down the options win, QPR will end up with their central midfielders on an island in middle without options, while Sandro and Moussa Dembele pick off anything they try and play on the ground to Zamora and Cisse.
The concern for Spurs is two-fold: 1) Will the team by tired after Thursday's Europa League match? 2) Can Jermain Defoe lead the line by himself?
Luckily for Tottenham, QPR's defense is so bad that it renders the second question rather unimportant. The first one, though, that question could doom Tottenham.
In fact, that appears to be the only thing that can doom Spurs. They are going up against a dreadful defense and tactically set up well to disrupt everything QPR does like to do going forward. Cha-ching.
Match Date/Time: Sunday, 11:00 a.m. ET/4:00 p.m. local
Venue: White Hart Lane, London, England
TV: Fox Soccer Plus (USA), N/A (UK and Canada, sorry)