December 9 2013 Latest news:
By Declan Olley
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
Tottenham blogger Declan Olley discusses Sandro’s impact for Spurs after the midfielder made his first Premier League start of the season in Sunday’s 2-0 victory at Aston Villa.
Sandro is a character. After the 2-0 win over Aston Villa, the Brazilian was good value in the post-match interviews for both Sky Sports and Spurs TV, and he’s widely regarded as the club’s dressing-room joker.
But the 24-year-old has had to show plenty of character to recover from the agonising cruciate ligament injury that he suffered at QPR last season – one which nearly made him “quit playing”.
Nine months on from the “saddest moment of his career”, The Beast is back - and what an ugly sight that is for the opposition. Aston Villa found that out on Sunday as the Brazilian dominated the midfield.
On the other hand, Sandro is a thing of beauty for Spurs. He combines steel and simplicity - winning back the ball and then giving a short 10-yard ball for a quick turnover.
If there was a perfect Premier League game for Sandro to come back in then it was Villa. Paul Lambert’s side enjoy counter-attacking but with the ex-Internacional man patrolling in front of the back four, their threat was neutralised.
This type of player was sorely missed in the West Ham defeat. Paulinho and Mousa Dembele are quality players, but their overriding instincts are to get forward. It left Spurs vulnerable against a well set-up Sam Allardyce team, and they were punished severely.
Against Villa, Andre Villas-Boas decided to drop Dembele and partner Paulinho with Sandro – as he had done in the Capital One Cup tie against Paul Lambert’s side - and it paid off again.
Sandro’s acute defensive awareness allowed his Brazilian team-mate to surge forward and aid attacks. That tactic culminated in Paulinho setting up Roberto Soldado’s goal, and the ex-Corinthians midfielder nearly got himself onto the scoresheet, seeing a bouncing volley well saved by Brad Guzan and then missing a simple header from an Andros Townsend cross.
It is wonderful to think that Spurs possess Brazil’s starting midfield pair, and these two should now be Spurs’ first-choice partnership for the coming weeks.
If there were questions over Sandro’s fitness then they have been answered. The powerful Christian Benteke was introduced in the 61st minute but Sandro marshalled the Belgian superbly for those final 33 minutes, alleviating pressure from the back four.
On the Friday before Spurs’ game, I watched Roma’s defensive midfielder Daniele De Rossi inspire them to a win over Napoli. The 30-year-old Italian can be considered a club legend, having made 314 appearances for his boyhood team.
I believe that, after fully completing his recovery from injury, Sandro is well on the way to becoming Tottenham’s equivalent of De Rossi - both in style and status.
Follow me on Twitter @declanolley