The Premier League’s news agenda this week has been dominated by boardroom upheaval on the Solent and on Humberside. Yet peering through the perennial fog that seems to surround White Hart Lane, it is also clear that all is not well in North London. The rumours about Spurs circulating on Twitter and increasingly in the print media are very worrying, for in recent months these rumours have had a habit of ultimately materialising.
There appears to be a growing weight to suggestions that Etienne Capoue will leave the club in this transfer window, with the player’s ‘attitude’ regularly cited. Similarly, Lewis Holtby is known to be unhappy at the lack of playing time under Tim Sherwood in a World Cup year. Meanwhile, Sigurdsson and Chadli are also being linked with the exit door.
I would not be particularly unhappy with the departure of Chadli, who has shown precious little to suggest he will succeed as a top Premier League player. However, the apparent marginalisation of Capoue and Holtby is particularly disturbing, because it points to the fundamental flaw in Spurs’ management structure. The club is supposedly committed to a ‘Head Coach-Director of Football’ model, under which the Head Coach’s importance is reduced in favour of greater continuity. Hence, AVB was replaced as Head Coach without altering the overall management structure. Except that AVB’s replacement Tim Sherwood has little regard for many of the players he now has under his tutelage….ah!
One wonders why Capoue has been deemed a lost cause so quickly. Isn’t it the coach’s role to try and mold a team and individuals. It is also disappointing to see Holtby linked with a return to Schalke. The German has demonstrated a reasonable amount of technical ability alongside considerable application.
Yet aside from the constant stream of transfer rumours, this week has been all the more turbulent as I contemplate our trip to the Liberty Stadium. It is now evident that Sherwood is a man almost ideologically committed to the 4-4-2 formation, and this weekend we face a possession-hungry side who deploy a 4-2-3-1 formation. Disregarding Swansea’s current poor form, it is worth noting that the one game in which we have genuinely been outclassed under Sherwood was against Arsenal, who also use the 4-2-3-1 formation. The worry is therefore that the Swans will overturn us using similar tactics.
It is worth noting from Sherwood’s first seven games in charge that our new system is dependent upon the front two. When one considers that Adebayor will occupy one of these two positions, it leaves the side reliant on its most unreliable player. Adebayor must therefore prove us wrong by neutralising Leon Britton’s metronomic passing ability in midfield. This could be the key to victory.