In a series brazenly stolen from just about every newspaper and media outlet to ever exist, I diagnose a problem Spurs have and propose a solution.
Starsky and Hutch: The best attacks come in 2’s
I point blankly refuse to believe that a player can lose all his talent from one game to another or from one season to another. Roberto Soldado is a bloody good striker. He’s just being utilised wrongly. So there’s that but how do we utilise him properly.
About 6 years ago, the partnership of a no. 9 and no. 10 appeared. There’s a common misconception about this. I don’t mean a big-man-little-man partnership. I’d call that a partnership of two true no.9’s. It’s not a Jermain Defoe and Peter Crouch partnership. What I mean is a creative forward and a clinical forward. It appeared, as luck would have it in, in a lilywhite jersey.
It was the partnership of Robbie Keane and Dimitar Berbatov and it worked brilliantly.
Then it disappeared. never to be seen again…
Until January of last season. The creative forward and clinical forward partnership made its biblical return. The return of the prodigal partnership
Liverpool signed Daniel Sturridge from Chelsea. Suarez became the no.10 and Sturridge became the no.9. It’s been quite good since then.
Then over the summer it started its spread throughout the Premier League.
Manchester City started employing it. Manchester United stated to employ it. The three most potent attacks in the Premier League play using a no.9/no.10 partnership. This is hardly coincidence.
Red is the new black; False is the new true
While it true to say that the no.9 and the no.10 I am talking about here fall under the osposis of a no.9 and a no.10. They are not true no.10’s and true no.9’s
The partnership of a true no.10 behind a true no.9, holding strict tactical positions, is the partnerhship of Diego Forlan and Juan Roman Riquelme at Villareal.
Forlan tended not to get involved in the build-up. He has provided an assist every 12 games throughout his whole career.
Riquelme on the other hand was the artisan of build-up.
This was partnership of a true no.10 and true no.9.
False is the new true.
All the current partnerships of a 9 & a 10 swaps roles at a whim.
Van Perise is the 9 for United. His main job is to score goals but he often gets involved in the build-up and creation of chances.
Rooney is the no.10 for United. His main job is to create goal-scoring chances but he often gets involved in the scoring of goals.
The above is true for the partnerships of Alvaro Negredo, Sergio Aguero and the partnership of Sturridge and Suarez. Just swap the names around a bit.
That was just a dissertation about the development of striker partnerships from a big-man-little-man partnership or a true no.10 & a true no.9 partnership to the modern partnership of a false 10 and a false 9.
Don’t worry, be happy
We don’t score goals and the biggest reason for this is because Soldado, the striker brought into score loads of goals is extremely isolated. Soldado is receiving 20.9 passes per game. Which is pathetic but exactly what you’d expect from man who received an average of 19.8 passes last season.
Soldado doesn’t get involved in the build-up play and that needs to change. It gradually is as well. Much derision has made over this heat-map but I take positives from it. Soldado is gradually learning to get involved in the build-up. He has averaged 1.3 key passes per game from only 20.9 passes received. That translates into a key pass every 6.22 passes. I have no doubt that Soldado will grow into the false 9 role.
Now we just need the false 10. Lewis Holtby doesn’t fit the bill as this player. He drops way to deep and leaves Soldado so isolated that it’s simply for two CB’s to crowd him out, I don’t need stats to confirm this because it’s so blatantly obvious.
That leaves Christain Eriksen, who is injured for the time being, Gylfi Sigurdsson, who is appalling in tight spaces and unsuited to the role of a a false 10.
Eriksen is the perfect man for the job but he’s injured for the next month.
Once Soldado and Eriksen are partnered together and learn to interchange roles, I expect us to start scoring goals.
The mercurial Harry Kane
There is another player who’s perfectly suited for the role. Harry Kane.
Kane is strong and therefore good in tight spaces. Surprisingly elegant for someone you’d expect to be clumsy. He has a thunderous shot and has an eye for a key pass and assist.
Now I’m not for one minute suggesting that he’ll set the world alight immediately but the system, not those handling it, is more important I mean Roma replaced the injured Francesco Totti with Marco Boriello and still continue to attack in a ruthlessly proficient manner. If that doesn’t prove my point, nothing will.
The drop in quality from Totti to Boriello is much, much more than Eriksen to Kane.
I certainly think that Kane can hold down the fort until Eriksen gets back and hey, you never know, he might produce a performance like he did against Hull in the Capital One Cup.
I’m confident that once Eriksen returns that Soldado and Eriksen will form a wicked partnership.
And this is all moot because AVB never plays a player lacking experience at senior level.