Sandro [Photo: Jav The_DoC_66]

A Tottenham Team For Manchester City Game

Trying to read Andre Villas-Boas’ mind in terms of team selection is nigh on impossible. After a fortnight’s break ffor the internationals, how will the manager set up his Tottenham team for the crucial game against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.

After suffering another league defeat at home to Newcastle prior to the international break and with Spurs having scored only 9 Premier League goals in 11 matches this season there have been calls for greater creativity in the team. Will AVB respond to these concerns or will he persist with his structured 4-2-3-1 formation?

Tottenham have lost each of the games before the international break this season but have responded with a win in the first match back. This time, facing Manchester City is a much more difficult task and while Spurs are one place and one point ahead of City, they are undefeated at the Etihad Stadium in the Premier League this season. Their only reversal at home was in the Champions League when they lost 1 – 3 to Bayern Munich. In their last two home games they have scored 12 goals, defeating Norwich 7 – 0 and CSKA Moscow 5 – 2. They have scored 20 goals in 5 home league goals and only conceded 2 goals.

Such is the nature of the task facing Spurs that I expect AVB to stick rigidly to the system which has enabled Spurs to keep 7 clean sheets in the Premier League with four of those games being away from home.

Hugo Lloris having played in both of France’s internationals will return in goal. The dilemma in the back four concerns the fitness of Danny Rose and whether to re-introduce him immediately at left back, if fit. If Rose were available, it would allow Jan Vertonghen to return to his favoured position in central defence where he provides greater assurance in the central defensive position. That would leave one position for either Michael Dawson, Vlad Chiriches with face mask to protect his broken nose and Younes Kaboul. It will probably go to Dawson although I have concerns about his ability to cope with small, quick, skilful strikers.

For the central defensive midfield role, Sandro would be my first choice with Etienne Capoue, if fully recovered from his injury and back to full fitness, as his partner.

In the three-man attacking positions I would expect Andros Townsend to start. In the absence of Christian Eriksen who is expected to be out for a month with an ankle injury, the central position could go to Mousa Dembele or Paulinho playing in a more forward position than they have in their time at Spurs. Gylfi Sigurdsson will probably be deployed on the left for his work and covering on that side of the pitch. Roberto Soldado will continue to play as the lone striker, hoping for a better service against a team who won’t defend in depth so there should be more space for him to run into in attacking positions.

While supporters are looking for Erik Lamela to be given a chance in the League, I don’t expect AVB to play him in in such an important game, having used him so infrequently so far this season. While fans suggest that  Emmanuel Adebayor should start to provide support for Soldado, that would also appear to be unlikely.

Possible Team: Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Rose (if fit); Sandro, Capoue; Townsend, Paulinho, Sigurdsson; Soldado

In the event of Rose still being out, Vertonghen would continue at left back with Chiriches playing alongside Dawson.

Whatever team, AVB sends out, I simply do not expect him to abandon his defensive, organised principles against a top team and he will be looking for the creative players to make greater use of the space afforded to them by City’s desire to get forward themselves rather than sit defensively as has happened so often against Spurs this season.

This is difficult match for Spurs and one they need to take something from or the teams at the top of the League are going to open up a gap which will be hard to claw back.

What team would you select for the City game?


Tags: Andre Villas Boas Premier League Soccer Team Selection Tottenham Hotspur

  • EngNor

    I know we are playing away, however, a defensive system against Citeh is just asking for a hiding. Lloris. Chiriches Dawson Vertonghen. Lennon Sandro Paulinho Lamela Townsend. Soldado Kane. Use Sandro just in front of defence and Lamela as the link between MF and CF`s. And! Two wingers on their respected flanks. COYS!

    • EngNor

      Or a 3-1-3-1-2 if you like ;) :D

      • Logan Holmes

        I simply can’t see AVB going gung-ho against City and abandoning his favoured defensive 4-2-3-1 formation for an untried system with players he’s unsure about and hasn’t trusted before. COYS

    • Smoother Minges

      I agree, Capoue (great player) alongside Sandro is just too conservative for me, even away to Citeh. Much more menacing to play Holtby (protected by Sandro) who can supply the front four attacking players (Townsend, Lennon/Lamela, Dembele/Sigs, Soldado/Defoe) with through balls in between the Citeh back line.

  • Smoother Minges


    Walker – Dawson – Chiriches – Vertonghen

    Sandro – Holtby

    Lennon – Dembele – Townsend


    Bench: Friedel – Naughton – Kaboul – Paulinho – Defoe – Sigurdsson – Lamela

    • Logan Holmes

      I like the idea of Lennon on the right – wasted on the left although they should be switched from time to time during the game. COYS

      • Smoother Minges

        Logan, with all due respect “the idea of Lennon on the right” has been a mainstay of Spurs’ tactics for the last 4 or more years ! So why change a working formula ?? Sure, Lennon isn’t getting any younger and has probably lost a yard of pace but he can still whip in a mean ball from the byeline, exactly what Soldado has been crying out for this season. Putting Townsend on the left will hopefully force him to do the same as Lennon is doing on the right, with Dembele pile-driving forwards through the City defence, Lennon and Townsend supplying crosses from their respective wings and Holtby threading through balls to all four of them, that should create ample problems for the Man City team to deal with…

        • Logan Holmes

          On Lennon, I was referring to a return to what he does best rather than AVB’s insistence of playing him on the left this season.

  • bergamoben

    Walker Kaboul Chiriches Vertonghen
    Sandro Capoue
    Lamela Dembele Townsend

    We need the additional defensive cover of Capoue against City’s fast attackers. Also give Dembele a chance in Eriksen’s absence and switch Lamela and Townsend about to create havoc in the city defence.

    • Logan Holmes

      I could see Dembele being used in that more attacking role. I can’t understand why he doesn’t swap the wingers over during a game for some variety. COYS!