Before I get into it, please don't think of this as a 'doom and gloom' article bemoaning Villas-Boas. I'm a huge AVB fan and have loved watching him prove all the 'boo boys' wrong. Today (Sunday) we secured our fourth away win of the season at St. Mary's Stadium, a venue we had previously never earned a single point in five visits. I haven't seen the full game, and won't have the pleasure/torture (delete as appropriate) until 11pm tonight. Gareth Bale returned from his paternity leave and marked his first child's birth with a superb goal.
Those of you that follow me on twitter will know I tweeted my preferred and predicted line-ups before the game;
- What I'd like to see today; Lloris, Walker Caulker Vertonghen Naughton, Sandro Dembele, Lennon Sigurdsson Bale, Adebayor.
- What I expect to see; Friedel, Walker Gallas Caulker Vertonghen, Sandro Dembele, Lennon Dempsey Bale, Defoe.
Lloris is the better goalkeeper, I imagine even Brad would agree with that assessment. He's more commanding, incredibly agile and most importantly for a footballing side, he's very good with the ball at his feet. He's looked calm and composed in the games he's appeared in and could go on to be the Tottenham number 1 for the next ten years. I find it strange that Friedel's run of consecutive games was ended for Lloris to appear against Villa (our only Premier League clean sheet) only for the veteran American to be restored to the line up and retained a further week.
I assume Cudicini or Gomes will play against Norwich in the Capital One Cup during the week. Wigan at the Lane next weekend, surely Lloris will reinstated, and go on to start the rest of our Premier League games. I certainly hope so. He has too much talent to be sitting on the bench.
William Gallas was an inspired signing by Harry Redknapp. It raised more than a few eye brows at the time, but his experience, leadership and winning mentality have proved invaluable over the past two seasons. His form is starting to dwindle though, and against old club Chelsea he struggled and his decision making cost us goals. It's not the first time we've seen signs he's starting to struggle with the pace of the PL and against physical opponents he is often second best.
Steven Caulker has slotted into the Spurs side effortlessly this season, picking up where he left off at Swansea City last season. He has spoken of the help Gallas has given him since he's stepped int the side. Caulker has mentioned how the Frenchman is constantly talking to his young partner, telling him what he wants and expects from the academy graduate.
In Jan Vertonghen Spurs have another potentially world class centre-back in their ranks, but in Benoit Assou-Ekotto's absence, he's been filling in at left-back. With Kyle Naughton now back from his own injury, now looks like the time to return the former Ajax captain to the centre of defence, alongside Caulker.
While I would have enjoyed hearing Jan and Steven were starting on the south coast today, but with a home game looming, a new back three of Lloris, Caulker and Vertonghen will hopefully get a chance to shine against the Latics. That trio could become stalwarts in the Spurs side, though the injured Younes Kaboul might have something to say about that.
With potential stars like that threesome, Kyle Walker, Sandro, Naughton, Mousa Dembele, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon we have a fantastic group of players in their early twenties that could be part of some major success at White Hart Lane.
In my opinion, now is the time to get all these players involved, playing in their best positions, especially Lloris and Vertonghen. Gallas should be used in the way Sir Alex Ferguson uses his experienced players; sparingly, only brought out on certain occasions. Brad Friedel is as good a back up keeper as anyone could want.
Time for a change.