December 13 2013 Latest news:
By George Lacey
Monday, October 28, 2013
Tottenham blogger George Lacey gives his verdict on Andre Villas-Boas’ team selection and the 1-0 home win over Hull City.
Another penalty from Roberto Soldado secured a familiar 1-0 result for Spurs at White Hart Lane yesterday, sending us fourth in the table.
Andre Villas-Boas made one change to the side that beat Aston Villa last weekend, with Aaron Lennon making his first start in the Premier League since the opening day of the season, replacing Gylfi Sigurdsson. In my opinion the decision was wrong, despite the result.
Playing Sandro instead of Mousa Dembele also backfired as our midfield had no answer to Hull’s resilience – and I was also surprised to see Lewis Holtby getting the nod again instead of Christian Eriksen. The latter started his Spurs career in great form and has now found himself on the bench since the international break.
However the same team, bar Lennon, performed well at Villa Park last week and AVB obviously didn’t feel the need to change the winning formula.
That said, I hope he doesn’t make the same mistake next weekend and field the same line-up at Everton as, without the penalty decision towards the end, we just didn’t look like scoring.
A subdued atmosphere lingered throughout the 90 minutes as we failed to really cause Hull any harm, despite having the majority of the possession.
As per usual, Soldado was doing all the running up top, but our lack of any creativity left him frustrated, despite his late penalty winner.
We never really got going and Thursday’s Europa League journey to Moldova seemed to affect the team’s performance, which generally lacked any real invention or spark - a similar scenario to the West Ham defeat, you could argue.
Moreover, Andros Townsend wasn’t his usual self, although credit must go to Hull boss Steve Bruce, who had clearly done his homework on the fleet-footed winger.
Personally, I believe AVB needs to consider the importance of the Europa League this season and use key players such as Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and Dembele sparingly if we are to seriously challenge the elite at domestic level.
Love him or loathe him, Harry Redknapp used the Europa League to bed in youngsters and give them first-team football, and his system worked - we achieved two top-four finishes because he knew his best team and his best team was fresh for Premier League games.
It may be worth considering the same approach this season, although maybe Villas-Boas wants to secure early qualification and then rest players for ‘harder’ Premier League games.
I think it’s a matter of getting the balance right, but I don’t think our form at domestic level should suffer as a result of our exertions on the continent.
Overall, it is another clean sheet on our record and another vital three points that propelled us into fourth position - but the performance was uninspiring.
Hopefully these are just Europa League blues and next week at Everton we will start a lot faster.
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