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Sign Llorente, Play The Hud & Other Lessons Learnt In Defeat To Newcastle

by Ben McAleer
19 August 2012 19 Comments

It's fair to assume that Spurs need to sign a striker before the end of the month. Here is what else we learnt from Newcastle's win over the North London side...

A solitary Jermain Defoe strike wasn’t enough for Tottenham Hotspur to avoid defeat in their opening Premier League encounter for the new season. As it is; the club need to invest heavily to ease the burden on the England international before the close of the transfer window. Here is what we learnt from the 2-1 defeat to Newcastle United…

1)      Spurs need to sign a front-man

Head coach Andre Villas-Boas confirmed after the 2-1 defeat to Newcastle United that he and chairman Daniel Levy are working hard to secure a new striker before the close of the transfer window. If Tottenham Hotspur learnt anything from the opening day loss, it’s that a new front-man is a priority.

Jermain Defoe may have netted the equaliser in the encounter, but as the lead marksmen, he isn’t the right man for the role. He was isolated on his own and his physical frailty means he cannot dominate opposition defenders like Emmanuel Adebayor did last season, for example. The Togolese front-man has been linked with a permanent return to White Hart Lane, despite any deal stalling.

Fernando Llorente and Leandro Damiao are two others to have seen their names mooted as a possible arrival and either, or both, would be ideal. Both offer the physical threat and know where the back of the net is. Spurs are reported to have offered €30m for Valencia’s Roberto Soldado; he would be a shrewd acquisition. What is pivotal is that a new striker who can play with a partner and, more importantly, on his own, especially with Villas-Boas opting for a 4-2-3-1.

2)      Get Tom Huddlestone involved

A major exclusion from the travelling Spurs squad was Tom Huddlestone. The powerful midfielder may have only returned from an ankle injury recently, but his creativity in the middle of the park was desperately lacking on Saturday evening. Sandro and Jake Livermore may have provided the steel defensively, but offer little going forward.

If Tottenham Hotspur learnt anything from the opening day loss, it’s that a new front-man is a priority

Huddlestone could’ve provided the link between the defence and the midfield that was needed in the tough trip to St. James’ Park. However, a lack of match fitness would’ve hindered his input, having missed last season with the aforementioned ankle injury. However, with the ongoing saga surrounding Luka Modric, his deep lying inventive style of play can be a real asset.

On the other hand, he will need to up his work-rate if he is to be included in Villas-Boas’ plans. It is something that has regularly dogged Huddlestone in the past and would likely hinder his input for the coming season. Nevertheless, the creativity he would’ve provided could have been an asset for the encounter.

3)      No Vertonghen? No problem

A shock start from the bench, many had anticipated Jan Vertonghen making his Premier League debut against Newcastle. A long running saga that seemed like it would never end; Spurs fans breathed a huge sigh of relief when the deal was concluded. His arrival saw supporters salivating at the thought of the Belgian forming a dynamic defensive partnership with Younes Kaboul.

So imagine the confusion when it was revealed that William Gallas was confirmed to partner his counterpart at St. James’ Park? The Frenchman captained Spurs for the evening encounter, with his experience a real asset following the retirement of Ledley King. However, it made sense for Villas-Boas to not include the 25-year-old in the starting XI.

His arrival saw supporters salivating at the thought of the Belgian forming a dynamic defensive partnership with Younes Kaboul

Newcastle is never an easy place to travel to and every move he made would’ve been scrutinised, especially if it wasn’t the best debut performance. It is best for Vertonghen to make his first appearance in a home encounter, when the fans are behind him not continuously on his back. As such, you can expect to see his first start made against either West Bromwich Albion or Norwich City.

4)      Don’t jump on Andre Villas-Boas’ back

Following his appointment last month, Villas-Boas was heavily scrutinised by the media and a number of pundits. The sacking of media darling Harry Redknapp didn’t go down well and for him to be replaced by a manager who ‘failed’ with Chelsea was almost unheard of. However, his tactics and team selection can’t be frowned upon.

As previously mentioned, Newcastle away isn’t the easiest of games and the defeat proved that. Yet, formation wise, he was spot on, in the opinion of Spurs fans. Two holding midfielders to counter-act the creativity of Hatem Ben Arfa and Yohan Cabaye was pivotal if the North London side were to come away with a positive result.

Sandro and Livermore did their utmost to stifle the duo, but in the end it wasn’t enough. Furthermore, he has little to work with up front, with only Defoe and Kane to pick from. It is important the fans don’t jump on his back as a result of the defeat. There is still a long way to go between now and May, so judging him after one game would have an adverse effect on the squad, especially when he got his selections right on Saturday evening.

The sacking of media darling Harry Redknapp didn’t go down well and for him to be replaced by a manager who ‘failed’ with Chelsea

5)      Get the Modric saga sorted

The ongoing transfer saga surrounding Luka Modric has hardly been ideal, in regards to pre-season preparations. As soon as Didier Drogba’s penalty hit the back of the net in May, speculation was likely to be rife that the Croatia international was to leave Spurs in the summer. Chelsea were mooted as a possible destination last summer, a club which has since altered their transfer targets.

Real Madrid are now the front-runners for Modric as they look to strengthen this summer; a move that may not have had such an adverse effect on the squad, but is likely to have altered potential transfer targets for Spurs. Villas-Boas has regularly been questioned on the furore surround the 26-year-old, when his focus would have, preferably, been on planning for the season ahead.

To put it simply; Spurs need to rid of Modric sooner rather than later. The ongoing saga isn’t as detrimental as that of Dimitar Berbatov in 2008, but the continuous speculation linking him with a move to Los Blancos is clearly playing a part, as witnessed in the loss to Newcastle. Spurs, as mentioned, could’ve utilised the creative capabilities of the diminutive schemer at St. James’ Park, and it has been rumoured that his sale will quicken the movements of Spurs in the transfer market before the window slams shut, with the club looking to bring anything in upwards of £30m for his signature.

More great articles on Tottenham Hotspur

Persist With Tottenham’s Walker & 4 Things We Learnt From England’s Win

Spurs Fans’ Season Preview: The Top Three Beckons If AVB Can Get Llorente

Tottenham Hotspur: The Defensive Partnership For The New Season

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image descriptionCOMMENTS

bazza 10:15 am, 19-Aug-2012

Yeah we certainly need a quality striker and not playing Huddlestone was crazy, we were so lacking in creativity and so scrappy in our general play. We needed a player like Tom with the composure and ability to hold the ball, look up and spread passes around Lets hope our poor performance sees him back in the team for WBA

Cuse 10:22 am, 19-Aug-2012

What else did we learn? Spurs are still an over-rated shower of expensively assembled puddings who will do nothing this season. Again. Bale is your one true force. Without him, you're mid-table at best. NUFC showed why last season wasn't a one-off. What price them finishing 4th?

Oli 10:40 am, 19-Aug-2012

Agree with all except huddelstone, for a few reasons one being he is not mobile enough and slow, so in prem u need this, if he had this he would be great along with his passing. Another reason he had been out for so long, pre season he got caught on the ball so many times against average teams except valencia no offence to those played.

Gary Fox 10:58 am, 19-Aug-2012

Bazza- 'poor performance'? We outplayed Newcastle on their own ground - two bits of bad luck in the first half stopped us going deservedly two-up. If Hudd had played, we would have been over-run in midfield - he does hold the ball, look up and spread passes around - but he also cant run, doesnt tackle and doesnt track back. We played it quick and neat through midfield - our problem is upfront (I like Defoe but not on his own) and playing Gallas. Walker made a poor header but Gallas was VERY slow in closing down Ba as he got his shot away. He has experience but the legs let him down. Caulker or Vertonghen are better bets alongside Kaboul. Ben Arfa played for the penalty and got it - but why was it Lennon and Van der Vaart tackling him on the edge of the area? Poor organisation from the corner as no-one is vocal enough to set us up properly. NUFC? - sorry, but our overrated team finished in front of you yet again last year and will do it again this year.

Gary De Forest 10:58 am, 19-Aug-2012

The "creativity... of Yohan Cabaye". Now I've heard everything. I thought Cabaye's prime value was to stop Bale and whoever else from playing football -- so much so that he got away with at least three professional fouls, enough to get anyone else sent off. No wonder Chelsea is showing interest in him.

Daniel 11:12 am, 19-Aug-2012

I've learnt that CUSE is actually a tool instead of a toon. 'do nothing this season. Again.'..... You may have missed it being down in the championship and all that but we've been doing alright up here for a while now. Bale is a true force and he's going to fuck you. If having your first shot on target at home in the 54th minute is proving last season wasn't a one off then...... Shhhhhhhh What price fat Mike sells all your players within 2 seasons? Wait until the lane. 5-0. Dick. COYS!!!!

scum2000 11:30 am, 19-Aug-2012

Couldn't agree more. Hide should have at least been on the bench to come on for a run out to get him more up to speed. Walker should never have been the one marking ba for the first goal, gallas should have been there and the penalty, where was gallas again. Lennon & vdv shouldn't be making that tackle. He is lazy. We got caught a number of times last season. Get vertongen in ASAP

Spurssince80 11:43 am, 19-Aug-2012

Keep Huddlestone AND Defoe out. He scored from 3 yards. Did nothing else. Gallas ahead of Vertonghen is ridiculous. Get transfers done by next week and push on.

Rob 11:50 am, 19-Aug-2012

Get HUddlestone involved? Are you just completely stupid ? Lets look at this with some real thought shall we.... HUddlestone with the ball: The Hud, has a great ability to pass the ball. but it stops there. He isn't as good at set pieces as he likes to think he is, and he can not charge up the pitch with the ball because his dribbling skills don't exist. Huddlestone without the ball: The guy might as well not bother turning up. Players will run rings around his slow, overweight body with the muffin top hair. He lacks the ability to put in a decent clean tackle, and he can not move about properly to put himself in decent space. Review of previous play time: HUddlestone has shown himself to be a cheat. The last few games he actually played for Spurs, he was fouling people on purpose, but claiming innocence. He has kicked out at other players, and he shows a lack of respect and poor attitude towards the ref and other players. THis guy is just stupid, and he isn't good enough to play in the EPL. If he is keen on improving his career, then he needs to make the right move, and go to Italy where the play is much slower, and he will not need to move so much and won't be closed down when on the ball.

Catcher 12:25 pm, 19-Aug-2012

One moment of quality from Ba and one moment of madness from VDV to concede the pen, undid all Spurs hard work. We deserved a draw at very least. Spurs will only get stronger and Newcastle weaker as the season progresses. It will end the same as last season, with the over-rated puddings in 4th and Newcastle in 5th.

PK 1:50 pm, 19-Aug-2012

Without Bale we are mid table??? Well we have him so we're not. What a stupid comment to make! Not sure how we are overrated when we've been in the top 5 for the last 3 seasons! Some people know nothing about football!

George Olivera 2:20 pm, 19-Aug-2012

No matter which players they buy Spurs will always find it difficult to get into the first 4 in the league as they simply lack what it takes.

Overcspur 2:34 pm, 19-Aug-2012

That penulty was savable. Bring Gomes back

AVB/Levy lol 3:03 pm, 19-Aug-2012

Lol, Catcher demonstrates the classic Spurs fan trait of over rating the team. You did last uear and got rid of 'arry, you got your own way but will still want AVB and Levy out before long. Mid table this year and Bale gone (contract clause) next summer (last minute though so you screw up the start of next season). Predictable and boring yesterday with no chance of replacing Modric with your owner (no one wants to go to Spurs as the boss holds them there when they want out).

Mitchell 3:23 pm, 19-Aug-2012

Whilst I'm sure we're all very disappointed, and feeling a little hard done by with the eventual result, there is no question that there are plenty of positives to draw from the match. The performance of Aaron Lennon was a particular highlight for me. A constant threat every time he got the ball, he added invention and drive to a midfield that was otherwise lacking a real creative spark.He could also think himself a little unlucky to only have one assist to his name after only the width of the bar denied him a second. Huddlestone would no doubt add more creativity to the midfield that played yesterday,and would allow our more attacking players to stay further up the pitch. But whether the Big Man fits in with AVB's high tempo, pressing game is another question entirely. The result yesterday may turn out to be a blessing in disguise, with the chairmen in attendance to see exactly what we need in order to improve upon last seasons 4th placed finish. We are not that short as yesterdays performance showed and with a few key acquisitions such as: Adam Johnson/Bakary Sako- Adebayor- Ever Benega/moutinho- Yonis Belhanda and Rossi/Remy. These are targets I would all consider realistic should we be able to cut adrift deadwood such as :Gio,Bassong,Bentley,Jenas and Gomes for a set price of £5mill a piece. Add that £25mill to the Modric money, and the money already allocated for transfers and we can look forward to a busy end to the transfer window.

macker 3:54 pm, 19-Aug-2012

cuse u got the points yesterday but for most of the game were unable to get out of yur own half we looked like the home team pinin u back to long balls and counter attackin football so overrated i think not u got us at a good time with one striker and the modric saga see u for a tumpin at the lane. i do think the only mistake avb made yesterday was not hudlestone but leavin raffa out we look far more dangerous with him involved just think tom is far to slow to fit in2 our type of football a good player to bring on when yur 2 up and sittin back but thats all imo

Rob it is you that is stupid 8:15 pm, 19-Aug-2012

Huddlestone is the best passer of a ball in the league bar none! Football is exactly that not athletics. You don't need to be fast to play in central midfield, it is the wide players that rely more on pace. Modric isn't fast, nor are Parker, Sandro, or Livermore. Skills that are required are composure on the ball, the ability to pass it short or long accurately with either foot (no one in our whole squad can do this except Tom), positional sense, and being able to read the game. I can't think of many central midfield players that actually have pace. Scholes never had any neither did Carrick, Lampard does ok without any, as do Barry, Song the list is endless. I could name at least 14 central midfielders playing for to clubs that are no quicker than Tom. It is idiots like you that would be happy to see a midfield of Jenas, Parker and livermore all because they are supposedly "mobile" despite the fact that none of them can actually pass the ball. Tom has attributes no other player in the squad has and if his mobility is such an issue (which is don't agree it is) partner him with one of the workers you feel he needs alongside him. We need his ability on the ball far more than headless chickens that can run and harry but just give it away as soon as they win it because they can't pass!

Gary Fox 7:43 am, 20-Aug-2012

There is a difference between 'not fast' and 'slow'! Midfield players dont have to be sprinters but they do have to be mobile - and able to track back when the opposition midfield moves forward. Thirty years ago, Hudd would have been ideal - a natural replacement for Hoddle in fact. But football as a game has moved on - modern midfield players have to be able to play box to box without stopping for a Woodbine and a little sit down. Hudd is quality on the ball but a liability off it, especially with the style of football that progressive managers like AVB, Rodgers, Martinez, Guardiola etc try to play.

Frontwheel 2 11:45 pm, 20-Aug-2012

Goorge olivera you fuckwit,we've finished in the top 4 twice in the last 3 seasons

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