Quality of new Spurs squad will allow them to juggle Europe, Premier League

Posted by Dan Fitch

In my previous article I highlighted Gylfi Sigurdsson’s need to impress, in a Spurs squad that is growing stronger with each passing week of this fascinating transfer window.

I didn’t mean it as a criticism of Sigurdsson. He’s a player I like, but the simple fact is that there is now added pressure on all the players on the fringes of the side.

That’s a good thing. There is real competition for places at Tottenham these days. Not so much a one-man team, but a top-quality 25-man squad.

Andros Townsend certainly seemed aware that he was not just fighting for a first-team spot, but also his Spurs future, as he put in a match-winning performance against Dinamo Tbilisi that almost saw Twitter collapse under the weight of “Bale who?” tweets.

Not only did Townsend score a Bale-like opening goal, but he also created the next two to effectively put the tie to bed. Now it must be said that Tbilisi’s defence wasn’t the strongest, but regardless, the youngster put in the type of performance that makes him hard to drop for Sunday's home game against Swansea.

I saw a lot of Twitter talk during the match discussing Aaron Lennon and how he might be surplus to requirements. I’m not so sure. People were writing Lennon off, back when Tottenham signed David Bentley. Lennon stepped up to the challenge and made himself undroppable.

This is a very healthy situation. The manager scarcely has to worry about motivating this squad. They just need to look around the dressing room and see the players who will take their place if they don’t perform.

Such strength in depth is also crucial when it comes to keeping the squad fresh. Last season Andre Villas-Boas rotated his defenders a lot, but was unable to do the same with his midfield and attack, where he had less options.

This year will be different, and will hopefully result in Spurs remaining consistent right to the end of this campaign. Last season saw the demands of the Europa League and domestic fixtures take their toll.

A perfect example of why it can be so hard to win on a Sunday, having played on the Thursday, lies in the fact that the Tottenham team had to face an arduous six-hour flight back from Georgia.

Such travel does nothing to refresh aching limbs and it’s perhaps lucky the side face a Swansea team who were also in action on Thursday night, albeit at home.

Like Spurs, the Welsh club scored five goals, as Michael Laudrup fielded a strong side to ensure that they killed the tie off in the first-leg.

Yet when the group stage starts, Swansea will find it tougher to juggle their commitments than Spurs, who are looking to build a squad with two players of fairly equal ability for each position.

When AVB picks his team for Sunday, he has players such as Kyle Walker, Jan Vertonghen, Sando, Nacer Chadli, Lennon and Jermain Defoe available to him. None started on Thursday and only Chadli featured at all.

Villas-Boas made four changes against Tbilisi, and I’d expect him to make three for the match on Sunday. Walker, Vertonghen and Chadli should all return.

The players aren’t tired at this early point of the season, but these rotation options should pay-off in the long term.

In the short term, Tottenham will be looking for their second Premier League win of the season. Like the Palace match, I think it will be tight, but I’m confident that Spurs will nick it by a single goal.


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