Spurs 1-Stoke 2: Whither 3-5-2?

Benny huffed and puffed but couldn't get his head in the match.

Taking a different tack than most of my fellow Spurs fans following our comical loss to Stoke earlier today, I want to talk about the tactics Harry Redknapp utilized in the second half of the match. Namely the 3-5-2. After our mostly shambolic first half display where we were very deservedly behind to a predictably effective Stoke City side, Harry mixed things up and removed Benny and ‘Azza for Bassong and Defoe.

Spurs switched to a 3-5-2 or 3-4-1-2 depending on whom you ask, with Kaboul, Gallas, and Bassong in the back. Walker pushed up the wing and Bale began dropping further back when necessary so that the formation actually resembled a 5-3-2/3-5-2. Since Walker and Bale both have the type of speed that allows them to get into the attack and get back on defense when necessary (though Bale has never been the best defender) this all of a sudden gave Spurs the ability to change the point of attack at will and allowed VdV the space he likes to operate in behind the strikers.

Though we only scored the one goal, our attack was far more dangerous and, in truth, we should have and could have scored three or four goals but for some horrid refereeing and good saves from Sorensen. Lennon has, in my opinion, always been the kind of player who in a top-flight side is an impact sub, rather than a first-11 type player. If the trio of Adebayor, Defoe, and VdV at the top can gel as an attacking unit that allows Modric the deep playmaking roll backed up by the Makelele-like Scott Parker. Modric likes to move around and along with VdV and Defoe could exchange positions quite frequently in a way similar to Barcelona’s Iniesta, Xavi and Messi (though clearly to lesser effect). Slotting Sandro into the middle of the defensive 3 with Kaboul/King/Benny on either side could prove a defensive masterstroke as well.

With Bale and Walker running on from deep this could make for an extraordinarily difficult task for opposing defenses to keep track of all of the attackers. I wouldn’t recommend trying it out against one of our stronger opponents but a home match against a lower-half side could afford us the opportunity to test it out and I, for one, would relish the opportunity to see our gents considerable talents put to even better use.