Premier League Scouting Report: Sherwood's Spurs vs. Stoke City

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterDecember 30, 2013


Tim Sherwood served up an attacking treat during Tottenham Hotspur's 3-0 victory over Stoke City on Sunday.

Here, we analyse the effectiveness of the new mananger's new method, explaining its shape, tendencies and detailing how it works.


Sherwood Shaping Up

Daniel Levy's decision to appoint Tim Sherwood as manager of Tottenham following the dismissal of Andre Villas-Boas is a massive risk—a fact the man in charge admitted to Eurosport himself.

The first result, a loss to West Ham, was underwhelming. However, from that point on, this team has gradually loosened the shackles and begun to play expansive, exploratory football.

Tighe B/R

In fact, the dominant setup Sherwood trialed against a poor Stoke City side on Sunday reeked of the balanced Manchester City outlook Manuel Pellegrini has been standing by all season long.

It's a damn good look.

He continued with the 4-4-2-esque shape played against Southampton with Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor up front.

It's a flexible system and it's being used by a multitude of teams. In this particular performance, it was Adebayor who dropped off and helped defend, forming a 4-4-1-1 out of possession.


The Plan

The idea is to control space evenly, not bunch in certain areas and interchange with ease.

It requires clever players—which Spurs have—but not an awful lot of coaching. Instead, it relies on player instincts.

The midfield combination of Mousa Dembele (holding) and Paulinho (surging)and later Etienne Capoue (holding) and Dembele (surging)worked perfectly, with Christian Eriksen floating around off the left.

Ezekiel Fryers and Kyle Naughton, a suspect full-back duo on paper, took it in turns to venture forward. Naughton was the more reserved due to the consistent wide presence of Aaron Lennon on the right.

Wilson Palacios and Steven N'Zonzi were dragged all over the pitch, Erik Pieters was rinsed at full-back and Ryan Shawcross was left to bat away wave after wave of attack.

Tottenham mustered 68 percent possession and 20 shots on goal. Those statistics were not alien under AVB, but what is different is the quality of the chances and the location of the shots.

In fact, 60 percent of the team's shots came from inside the 18-yard box, signalling quality chances created in and around the goal—a stark contrast to the countless pot-shots taken under AVB.

Adebayor and Soldado both missed absolute sitters, golden chances, and the scoreline could have easily been six- or seven-nil.



Stoke were terrible, let's not dodge that, and this method Spurs have begun to unveil is yet to be tested against a top side.

Sherwood has vowed, via The Guardian, to attack Manchester United on New Year's Day at Old Trafford, and that could well be the appropriate litmus test for this offensive philosophy.

It mirrors Manchester City's look against the weaker teams, but will it stand up?



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