Tottenham Club Focus – Sandro – The Beast of N17

Two games down, two to go. Six points from the matches against Blackburn Rovers and Bolton Wanderers and the first away win of the calendar year at the Reebok. The last two matches have been good results for Tottenham Hotspur, leaving them just one point off of third in the Premier League.

Spurs are turning around their poor run. This maybe because the players are aware this is make or break time and despite fatigue are putting in a final effort, or has the clarity over the England role settled the players? Possibly, though, the main reason for Spurs’ performances in the last two matches has been the inclusion in the starting XI of Sandro.

If you followed these matches on Twitter, then perhaps the most common phrase used to describe Sandro was “The Beast”. Against Blackburn, he almost literally took the match by the scruff of the neck from the off. There was a take no prisoners ferocity and urgency in his play that seemed to lift the rest of the team. The Brazilian won 11 tackles and two interceptions, made 67 passes from 89 touches at an accuracy level of 91%. This included eight completed long balls out of eight attempted. Sandro also had three shots, including a thunderous strike against the crossbar after showing the strength to hold off a defender. Similarly, in the Bolton match, Sandro again put in an impressive defensive midfield performance, winning five tackles and making three interceptions and two clearances. In both these matches Sandro has looked back to the player that had so impressed in the second half of last season.

In some ways he has been unlucky. With Sandro missing the start of the season through injury, Scott Parker went straight into the team. Parker excelled and through a combination of this and a lack of rotation, Sandro found it difficult to get back into the team. Even recently when Spurs played a 4-2-3-1 formation and the Brazilian lined up alongside the England captain, there has seemed a degree of uncertainty [in both] as to their exact responsibilities. With injury to Parker, Sandro has appeared to relish being the lone defensive midfielder next to Luka Modric’s deep-lying playmaker role. Parker had seemed particularly tired in recent games and Sandro has helped revitalize the midfield; it was noticeable how Modric’s own performances have seemed re-energized in these games.

Perhaps where Sandro has the edge over Parker is going forward. For a defensive midfielder the Brazilian has an excellent box-to-box capability. Sandro can dribble well and make crucial runs forward. In doing so, he keeps the opposition wary of committing too much to pushing players forward; consequently Spurs’ playmakers get more space themselves. This is not to say Parker cannot do this, but often he appears unsure what ball to play after making these runs and the momentum of the move is lost: with Sandro there is perhaps more end-product and his decision making at when to make the runs is arguably better.

Spurs are fortunate to have two such good defensive midfielders. However, the Beast maybe has a slight edge in all round ability, and as a player not only for now but Spurs’ future, Sandro deserves to keep the starting role.

See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Aston Villa v Tottenham

Related posts

Leave a Comment