For those that aren’t aware Young Boys defeated Tottenham 3-2 in Switzerland on Tuesday evening in a Champions League qualifier. This won’t strictly be a review of the ninety minutes that just passed. At soccerticketsonline we are an empathetic bunch and wouldn’t want to aggrieve our Tottenham Hotspur’s following on this particular evening. After all, the tie is still very much in the balance, thankfully so for the Londoners after they found themselves three goals down in the opening thirty minutes.
What we will discuss are the consequences, possible and realised, of the result. To begin with, Harry Redknapp, the Tottenham manager, will surely now abandon the 4-4-2 formation he employs when Tottenham are away from home against an accomplished side. Should Tottenham progress to the next stage and then use this same formation away from home, at places like Internazionale Milan, Lyon, Werder Bremen or Ajax, for instance, it will lead to disaster more often than not.
Nearly all teams employ five midfield players simply because it allows for a semblance of control. Without it a team is destined to play a reactionary role for the majority of the match. This occasionally works when a counter attacking system is fine tuned, functioning perfectly and adequately supported by a strong home record but it is not enough to rely on it alone. Robbie Keane might be a useful starter away from home in Europe because his style of play means he is often functioning in central midfield anyway.
Another consequence of tonight’s result is that opposing teams will now know, if they did not already, that when Tottenham start without Ledley King in defence they are excessively prone to pace. Sebastian Bassong is indeed not the slowest but his pace usually merely compensates for his poor positioning. Michael Dawson, contrarily, has decent positioning but is slower than an internet stream on an old dial up modem. The other centre backs are not options. Jonathan Woodgate is seemingly always injured and Younes Kaboul is not trusted in the centre of defence for the big occasions.
In attack Tottenham appear lightweight for European competition and the want of the fans for another striker appears justified. Jermaine Defoe, Robbie Keane, Peter Crouch and Roman Pavlyuchenko, his clean strike tonight not withstanding, are all capable players but none is quite good enough to lead the attack on his own if needs must. In the Champions League, at one stage or another, Tottenham will surely need to. Tottenham fans will also have noted that Wilson Palacios, the combative Honduran central midfielder, is some way off of his best form.
Finally, and perhaps most tellingly, the result will have an effect on Tottenham’s finances. One of the benefits of joining the Champions League elite is that it rewards you financially more than any other competition will do. Just by participating in the six group matches some estimates speculate Tottenham will earn over £30 million. If Tottenham do not now qualify for that stage budgets will have to be reassessed. The 3-2 defeat has left Tottenham in a precarious situation with numerable consequences, some recognised and some yet to be realised. What is definite and absolute is that Tottenham did not want to lose this match in Switzerland. They did and now they face a difficult task in the home leg. Losing the tie is something the fans wont want to contemplate and the board wont want to imagine. Next Wednesday we will find out when the second leg is competed.
photo credit: Denise&David