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Shore up the defenses and re-fortify the Lane

With teams travelling to N17 and becoming increasingly confident of picking up points, it’s time to turn White Hart Lane back into the fortress it once was. Matt Walsh looks at how Spurs can pave over the crack that are beginning to appear at the home of the North London outfit.

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Now, this isn’t an article to say, “oh, f**k off Andre, we want Harry back”, because I really don’t want Redknapp back, but on Saturdau; the veteran boss would’ve forced the game and had a Tottenham Hotspur side attack Wigan Athletic. I’m one of Andre Villas-Boas’ biggest fans, I was pleased when Daniel Levy appointed the young Portuguese manager, I was buzzing when we beat United away, our first win there since 1989, but the 35-year-old needs to change his tactics at home.

At no point in the defeat to the Latics did we look comfortable going forward. Our home form so far this season has been atrocious, played six, winning two, drawing two and losing twice. Not the fortress that Spurs fans want White Hart Lane to be. When the team line-ups were released today, I thought, ‘why not 4-4-2, Wigan are there to be attacked.’

Instead, Andre went for 4-2-3-1, which away from home is great; we look better defensively and compact, can counter attack and at times dominate possession. But at home, we need to force our game on our opponents, a tactic of 4-4-2 may seem like we are reverting back to the Redknapp days, but today, the 4-2-3-1 tactic just didn’t seem like we were going to score, a 4-4-2 tactic could have been the way forward.

A poor first half, or a brilliant Wigan half it could be said, led to our fans booing. Bore off. I’m Sick of hearing this b******s from journalists on my timeline. I was watching the game on the Internet so couldn’t really get a feel of the atmosphere, but booing the boys off at half time doesn’t help; it makes our club look an absolute joke.

Rigid and inflexible are two adjectives that can be described towards Villas-Boas’ tactics against Wigan.

Bringing Jermain Defoe off for Emmanuel Adebayor didn’t help, the fans, in my opinion, had a right to boo at this. Imagine the scenario; you’re 1-0 down at home to a team that brought a handful of away fans, surely you need to get goals? So why not take off a midfielder, Clint Dempsey and Gylfi Sigurdsson added nothing to the team today. Kyle Walker was complacent yet again in terms of his defensive positioning.

I think the defence needs a bit of a shake up also, Walker is starting on last season’s performances, but William Gallas is the player that I think needs to be replaced. Why he was made captain is beyond me, which will make it harder for Villas-Boas to take him out the First XI, our back five for the next game, for me, should read as follows – Hugo Lloris; Walker, Steven Caulker, Jan Vertonghen, Kyle Naughton.

Our midfield is missing one crucial component: Mousa Dembele. In the four games he’s started for Tottenham, we have won all four. Without him starting we have won one, drawn two and lost three, bearing in mind one of the draws is when he came on and scored in the 1-1 stalemate with Norwich City.

The issue/debate of Brad Friedel and Lloris will definitely start to heat up now, with the American at fault for the Wigan goal, but was top class in the first half, making two brilliant saves.

Our next two Premier League games are away at Manchester City and Arsenal; two teams that have quick forwards and like to play through the middle with intricate play and like to exploit width. Villas-Boas likes to play a high defensive line, so in theory; he will need to play a goalkeeper who likes to come off his line. Enter Lloris stage right.

Hopefully, the weekend defeat to Wigan is just a small blip, as we still occupy a top five spot, only 5th on goal difference behind 4th placed Everton. Our next four games are important in the race to secure a top four finish – City (away), Arsenal (away), West Ham United (home) and Liverpool (home). November is a crucial month for Villas-Boas.

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