Spurs Cardiff Preview – Should Sandro and Eriksen start?

Spurs vs Cardiff

After the fantastic comeback in the Europa League, Spurs are brought back down to earth with a home game against Cardiff City. Cardiff are second bottom of the form table, with just one victory in their last 11 in the league, a period that has also seen them exit the FA Cup to Championship side Wigan.

The Welsh side are owned by the idiosyncratic Vincent Tan. He controversially replaced Malkay Mackay with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the start of 2014. So far it hasn’t worked. In the Norwegian’s 8 league games in charge, he has amassed 4 points from a possible 24 – relegation form. They currently lie second bottom, three points from safety. In fact Solskjaer’s only league win came against Spurs’ conquerors last week, Norwich City.

Cardiff have tended to play a variation on 4-5-1 this season but in the last two games have switched to 4-4-2, with Frazier Campbell and Kenwyne Jones leading the line. They generally attack down the wings, especially the right hand side. They have the best disciplinary record in the league – equal lowest yellow cards, no red cards and least fouls per game. This could be regarded as a sign of their lack of competitiveness.

One player to look out for is Wilfred Zaha, on loan from Manchester United. Zaha is an exciting prospect and has that priceless ability to do something out of the ordinary. Steven Caulker returns to face his old side. Some in the Tottenham end may wish young the England international was still lining up in a Spurs shirt.

For Spurs, Sandro should be available in a league game for the first time this year. He was a positive influence on Thursday, but Sherwood may consider two games in four days a risk while he is feeling his way back from injury. Walker should also return. Capoue, Chiriches and long term injury victim Lamela, will miss out. Rose is a doubt after missing the game in midweek and faces a late fitness test.

The big question is whether Eriksen will start. He appears to have been out of favour in recent weeks but after his man of the match performance against Dnipro, he must surely be included. I would like him to play in the centre rather than out wide. He is our most creative player and I think he is wasted on the left. He ends up drifting inside, which means we don’t have a wide threat on that side and he leaves the fullback unprotected.

I would play 4-5-1. I think with our players, this actually carries more of a goal threat than 4-4-2. It allows us to get two conventional wingers into the side, and play Eriksen in the centre. We sacrifice a forward, but with an out of form Soldado this is no great loss.

In addition it allows for a holding midfielder, protecting the defence and providing a base for our attacks. This frees the other midfield players to get forward and support the striker. If Sandro is available to play he should slot straight into the team in this role. If not I would play Bentaleb in his place. If Rose is unfit Fryers should start at left back. He is a more natural alternative to Naughton on that side.

So my team would be:

Spurs Cardiff Formation

What do you think of my formation? Please leave your comments below.

Spurs are big favourites to win at 1.37, the draw is 5.4 and a Cardiff victory is way out at 11.5.

Follow me on Twitter: @ABPSpurs


8 thoughts on “Spurs Cardiff Preview – Should Sandro and Eriksen start?

  1. ashleycollie

    Good lineup suggestion — injuries, saving Sandro, etc notwithstanding. But I wonder if the Europa should be our main focus — apart from those great Euro nights and I’ve been a fan for a fair bit, and the glory of playing Benfica, of possibly going to QF, and further, building team spirit and a winning mentality for the future, and the best possible scenario, actually winning the whole thing, as challenging as that will be. League-wise, we are 9P behind Pool and L’Arse, and to overhaul them we’d actually have to earn 10P more than them over the remaining games (that extra 1P because of disadvantageous GD). With those teams having 10G left, 30P on offer, that’s just about an impossible get for us to earn 10P more than them, unless one of them implodes. It’s sort of whistling Dixie! Cup Wins are in our DNA, we’ve never come close to winning the League in my many years of supporting Spurs, but we’ve won a number of Cups of various sorts and had some glory! Finishing 5th and possible Europa Cup glory is much more a reality than expecting Pool or L’Arse to implode, and us gaining 10P on them over our last 11 games. Finishing 5th/6th and going out of Europa Cup really doesn’t serve much purpose. Just thinking out loud…COYS! ;)

    1. AnythingButPenalties Post author

      Thanks for the comment. I agree the Europa League should be our focus. There’s a big gap to 4th and it’s a trophy.

      We do have a game in hand, the Cardiff one, so that does potentially reduce the gap to 6 (or 7 with GD). That’s still a lot with so few games left. Our only hope would be a total implosion at Arsenal and we’d have to win a lot of our games.

  2. OC7

    If any team is looking like imploding it is Arsenal… I still don’t think 4th is completely out of reach but yeah we need to play the best we have done all season to have the faintest hope. If we beat Arsenal at home then it’s down to 4 points and it wouldn’t even need to be that dramatic an implosion on their part for us to catch them.

    First things first, the line-up for today’s fixture. I think we need to go out all guns blazing and just murder them from the kick-off. Not disrespecting Cardiff, as any team in the league can cause any other team problems on any given day, I just think the 451 sends out a negative message for a supposedly good team at home against a supposedly weaker team.

    I quite like your selection but I think as we are at home and expecting to dominate possession, 442 is the way to go, Soldado in for Sandro, with instructions for very high tempo from the first whistle. This might make us more vulnerable but you would hope that with 6 attack-minded players buzzing around – the pace of Ade, Lennon, Townsend and the late runs of Paulinho, with Eriksen and Soldado linking things together with clever touches and movement, would be enough to overrun Cardiff, batter them into submission and then get the cigars out and stroke it around for the last 30 minutes.

    It’s probably too late to catch the other teams on GD but a few heavy 4-0 beatdowns later might give it a semblance of respectability. Hoping for a positive selection today. Cheers

    1. AnythingButPenalties Post author

      Cheers for the comment. It would be great to overhaul Arsenal. I can see them dropping enough points, I just can’t see us winning enough of our games…maybe.

      I did find it hard to decide between 442 and 451. I like the idea of all those forward players and we certainly could do with a fast start, slow starts seem to have been our biggest problem recently.

      I just think having a defensive player in midfield not only protects the defence but also gives our other midfield players the confidence to get more forward. Our biggest victory was when Sherwood finally brought in Capoue at Newcastle.

  3. Pingback: Christian Eriksen’s stats against Dnipro | Anything But Penalties

  4. OC7

    Indeed, it is a tough balancing act, with all the midfield talent we have in the squad 451 does often look like a stronger all-round XI, so I see your point, I think I just have a principle objection to playing just one striker at home against teams outside of the top 4.

    Our central midfield roster reads Sandro, Dembele, Capoue, Bentaleb, Eriksen, Holtby, Livermore, Carroll.

    Townsend, Lennon, Lamela are all attackers/wingers and I would put them in a separate bracket.

    What do you think about 352…. Vertonghen, Chiriches, Kaboul, Walker Sandro Dembele Eriksen Townsend, Soldado Adebayor?

    Or…. 442 with Eriksen nominally on the right side of midfield but effectively more like an inside-right… Walker’s natural game has him overlapping so my thinking is we don’t need an out-and-out winger on that side, whereas Rose is a bit more vulnerable at LB and Townsend or Lennon can provide cover from an orthodox wing position?

    I think that would be a good place to get the most out of Eriksen, his crossing is excellent and he doesn’t get to showcase that from a strictly central role.

    1. AnythingButPenalties Post author

      It’s true, Eriksen’s crossing ability is excellent. His corners and free kicks are often dangerous. If he was on Walker’s side it would make a lot more sense with Walker’s overlapping runs, I don’t know how left footed he is.

      The 3-5-2 idea is an interesting one. It would be a brave move, especially with Townsend on the left.

      I do think Soldado has the potential to come good, so from that point of view I would like to see him play. I won’t be unhappy if we go with 4-4-2.

  5. OC7

    Yep. Come on Roberto, you can do it! I bet you he flukes one in off his knee or something and then just watch the floodgates open!

    Keep up the good work.


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