Tottenham Team against Reading – Decision Time for Andre Villas-Boas


Will Brad Friedel start for Tottenham against Reading?

Andre Villas-Boas has a number of major decisions to make over the composition of the Tottenham team or their Premier League match at Reading. Since the home draw with Norwich City a fortnight ago the Coach has two additional players available for selection and he must make crucial decisions on a number of positions.

Who Goes in Goal?

The completion of the transfer of French international goalkeeper and captain, Hugo Lloris, on the last day of August was a tremendous piece of long-term business for Tottenham. The Head Coach, however, has a difficult decision to make. Does he drop Brad Friedel who was ‘Man of the Match’ against Norwich with a number of vital saves to earn Spurs a point? After his performance against Norwich, Friedel would be very unfortunate if that match were to be his last in a sequence of 307 consequence Premier League matches stretching back to 2004. Lloris, on the other hand, did not sign for Tottenham to sit on the bench and act as cover for a 41 year old. The French manager has already raised the issue of Lloris’ position at Tottenham with both players claiming to be number one. Now, Villas-Boas has a decision to make. For the moment, it may well be Friedel who retains the goalkeeping position, on the short-term as Lloris has only had a few days to acclimatise to his new club having been with France on international duty.

Midfield Composition

Villas-Boas left Mousa Dembele on the bench against Norwich and retained two defensive minded midfield players in Sandro and Jake Livermore. This action brought criticism on the coach from the media and many fans who were disappointed by the decisions. Dembele’s introduction at half-time brought Tottenham’s goal as Dembele scored on his debut. Now, the coach must also decide how to accommodate Clint Dempsey in the team, having also signed on deadline day. It can now be taken that Dembele will be in the starting line-up with Gareth Bale. The rest of the midfield provides greater uncertainty – Gylfi Sigurdsson and Aaron Lennon are also available, making it a choice of three from five, as long as the manager plays only one striker. In time Dempsey could pose a threat to Lennon on the right with his greater potential for goals. At the present, however, lack of match fitness may prevent the American from starting, although he did score for the Unites States last weekend. Sigurdsson has taken time to settle into the team and so the former Reading player could lose out against his former team.

Adebayor or Defoe

Jermain Defoe provides the greater goal threat but Emmanuel Adebayor brings more to the team in holding the ball up for support players, especially away from home. For the game at Reading it is unlikely that Villas-Boas will play with two strikers so again he has a decision to make. For the previous two matches, he selected Defoe ahead of Adebayor and could use the latter’s lack of match fitness as a reason for the decision. With another fortnight of training behind him, Adebayor should be ready for a starting position and will probably be in the team on Sunday.

HotspurHQ’s team for Sunday.

Two points from three matches, means that Villas-Boas needs to find a win at the Madejski Stadium to allay concerns about Spurs’ season. Some supporters showed their displeasure at the Norwich match and only a win will be acceptable to many. It will not be an easy task against Reading and Villas-Boas will approach the game with caution so some players may have to wait for their debut. His team for the game could be:

Team: Friedel; Walker, Gallas, Vertonghen, Assou-Ekotto; Lennon, Sandro, Livermore, Dembele, Bale; Adebayor

Subs: Lloris, Naughton, Caulker, Sigurdsson, Dempsey, Defoe, Townsend

What would your team be for this game?