Football X (formerly Twitter) is rife with various accounts breaking down tactical analysis of the top teams in the world. The most praised managers are looked at through a strategic lens, with fans and journalists noticing how subtle tweaks to tactical plans can give a team that vital edge. For Ange Postecoglou, it has been using inverted full-backs and a high defensive line while pressing and making quick passes into the box.
When Ange-ball clicks, it clicks. The Tottenham manager himself said he thought the away match at Burnley in September was the team's first complete attacking performance. Now, with a squad battered by injuries, suspensions, and international call-ups, the bench is thin and attacking performances have been effective, but not dominant. It's led to "tactico" accounts wondering if he will switch formations with so many key players out.
Radu Dragusin's arrival and promise of playtime has spurred a number of tweets from the popular tactical breakdown account, InvertTheWing, contemplating the idea of Postecoglou deploying a back-three or even a back-five.
Another account posted a video explaining how Ange used to play the Australian men's national team in a three-back with this high-pressure, quick-passing system. These "tacticos" stressed it was nothing like Tottenham predecessor Antonio Conte's 5-3-2 system, which probably still gives the Spurs faithful nightmares to this day.
It is a very interesting conversation to have online, especially following the arrival of Timo Werner and Dragusin. James Maddison is also almost back to full fitness, and will probably rejoin the starting XI as soon as he's declared healthy. That could tantalize Postecoglou to tweak the formation slightly to accommodate his new signings.
With Son Heung-min in Qatar with South Korea for the AFC Asian Cup, it could be possible to slot Werner next to Richarlison in a striker pair, and put Maddison and Dejan Kulusevski behind them with Bentancur and Udogie as holding midfielders. Pedro Porro and Brennan Johnson would cover the wings, while Micky van de Ven, Dragusin, and Cristian Romero finish out the backline.
Is it likely Postecoglou deviates from a back-four and a style of play that's been working? Probably not. It is fair to say that the 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 formation has worked incredibly well for Tottenham, even when missing key starters. The players have bought into the system, and they may not adapt to a new formation quickly. Postecoglou has gone on record to say his way of play is "just the way we are, mate." It's an identity. Why change it now?
Still, some would argue that tactical fluidity is a good trait to have in a gaffer. Having a few different game plans doesn't hurt. When Tottenham return to action against Manchester City in the FA Cup, it will be curious to see how Postecoglou changes things between new signings and what will surely be an attempt to gain tactical superiority over last season's highly-praised treble winners.