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Tottenham Focus - Attacking intent but are Sandro and Lloris the key?

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By Alan Robins

Friday 28 September 2012

Saturday evening will provide André Villas-Boas with his first big test as Tottenham coach - an away trip to Manchester United. Spurs look for their first win at Old Trafford since 1989 on the back of a six match unbeaten run. Some of their football has appeared excellent – in parts; Saturday will arguably need to see them improve the consistency of their performance.

Coach Villas-Boas has indicated he will stay with his attacking principles, stating: "That is the way I like my teams to play.” he told reporters. “We obviously know that it is extremely difficult there, but that doesn't mean that you might not be given a chance when you play that way. In the end it's about taking your opportunities.” In Jermain Defoe, the Portuguese certainly has a striker in form, and it would be a surprise if the England international did not appear in the starting line-up, especially as there may still be doubts over the fitness of Emmanuel Adebayor.

With injury doubts at left back as well, Villas-Boas may be tempted to start with the formation and players that did so well in the second half against Queens Park Rangers. Jan Vertonghen and Gareth Bale looked a good combination on the left, whilst Aaron Lennon and Kyle Walker have a growing understanding on the right. Clint Dempsey may start ahead of Gylfi Sigurdsson; despite the Icelander perhaps being more natural at linking the attacking play and opening his Spurs account against Carlisle, does the American offer more of a goal threat? Similarly does Dempsey offer more power, strength than Sigurdsson?

If, as perhaps expected, Villas-Boas sends Spurs out in a 4-2-3-1 formation, with Sandro and Moussa Demeblé as the deeper central midfielders, then this should offer an intriguing match-up against the United attacking midfielders. The lively Shinji Kagawa and Wayne Rooney if dropping deeper [as against Newcastle United in the Capital One Cup tie], will offer fluidity, movement and trickery in linking with the attack. Whilst Demeblé has shown his strength in the tackle, it may well be Sandro that is the key. His athleticism, strength and defensive ability will be essential in closing down United’s midfielders.

Perhaps one change from the team that played against QPR in the second half is needed – in goal. Brad Friedel has performed to his usual, effectively consistent standards and made some excellent saves this season but at times has appeared to show a preference for staying on his line. In the Lazio match Hugo Lloris appeared confident in commanding his area and in coming for crosses. United like to play balls through the opposition defense and as well as getting crosses in from the flanks. The Red Devils also pose an aerial threat from corners. Arguably, with his comfort on crosses and speed off his line, Lloris would be a better option. Villas-Boas has stated his attacking intent but Sandro and Lloris may be Spurs most important players on the pitch.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Man Utd v Tottenham

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By ColinSC on 28 September 2012 at 14:04

We need Lloris to start soon and while Friedal is the popular choice our motto is 'To do is to dare' I really don't think ManU would be prepared for our playing a higher line and having Lloris distribute the ball from the back as he can. As has been said we usually lose, so really taking a risk should not pose a problem. We bought the new guy so we should use him.

By Tony on 28 September 2012 at 12:14

Away to Man U - where we usually lose - is hardly the game to introduce Lloris to English football is it? No matter how confident he looked. Besides, it would send the wrong message out to the squad - even if you play well, you will lose your place to someone deemed "senior". I also believe that Dembele & Siggy/Dempsey will be more key than Sandro because Sadnro will be kept busy, but the other two must work harder to bridge midfield and attack. Jay - those goals we conceded were because we were under the cosh at the time - not Friedel's fault. The opposition deserved the goals. Friedel has been one of our best players this season so far.

By Jay on 28 September 2012 at 11:41

I agree massively, I agree Brad has saved a lot of shots this season, mostly from corners!! But if Lloris was on the field then it wouldnt even get that far as he would claim those balls that Fridel is reluctant to come for. The 3 most recent goals we have conceded have all come from or just after a corner....no team gets in shots at our goal during open play. Play Lloris and then we wont concede any.......Brad infuriates me, basically by staying on his line he is diverting responsibility away from himself and on to his team mates. Steven Caulker at the back is another way of correcting this problem as he is aerially dominant





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