Tottenham vs. Dinamo Tbilisi: Spurs' Win Shows Potential for European Success
With an 8-0 aggregate victory over Dinamo Tbilisi, Tottenham cruised into a Europa League group spot at a stroll this week, with Andre Villas-Boas fielding a largely second-string side.
With a North London derby fixture at Arsenal Sunday, the Portuguese boss may have decided on an even less experienced side given their first-leg advantage, but sprinkled the likes of Kyle Walker and Jan Vertonghen in for safety of mind.
What should be the higher priority for Spurs this season?
As has become evident over the years, a strong starting XI far from guarantees a side success across multiple campaigns.
More so, it’s an expansive squad that can call upon great talent from the bench that marks out a club capable of European and domestic silverware.
In this vein, Spurs are now among the deepest in the Premier League and able to refer to so much pedigree aside from the usual first-team stars.
Against Thursday’s Georgian outfit, Tottenham would of course never be expected to appear at full strength, recognising the good balance AVB is already unearthing between his higher and lower priority assets.
Among the most encouraging will have been veteran striker Jermain Defoe who, despite falling out of favour behind Roberto Soldado, continues to stake his claim for a starting position.
The English international grabbed a brace against Dinamo Tbilisi, but the most encouraging sense of squad strength came from the Spurs midfield, where Tom Carroll had arguably his most comfortable appearance in a Tottenham shirt yet.
As the Daily Mail’s Sami Mokbel attested on Twitter, the London youngster showed good control over the game’s tempo and acted as catalyst for much of the game, furthering his claim as a possible future England international:
First proper look at Tom Carroll for me tonight. 100 percent future England international #canball— Sami Mokbel (@SamiMokbel81_DM) August 29, 2013
If the youngster is to fulfil his potential, however, a loaning out may beckon for a player who’s simply not breaking into a midfield as vastly talented and packed as AVB’s.
Aside from Carroll, Lewis Holtby also showed up to the occasion and netted his first goal for Tottenham six months after arriving from Schalke.
As of right now, Sandro, Andros Townsend and Gylfi Sigurdsson are just three other names who couldn’t quite brag that a starting spot under AVB would be a given. In fact, the trio, plus Carroll and Holtby, could be considered second string.
Despite the inferior opposition, you wouldn’t have guessed as much, however. Tottenham’s fringe players were as fluid as Spurs fans will have seen this season so far and shows a great standard to rely on in Europe.
Should AVB fall on some fortune in terms of injuries and keep his squad healthy, the Spurs manager can bank on being able to inject the real quality where it matters and can rest those who need it.
For the past few seasons, Spurs have done well to consistently challenge for Europe, but have gone in a yo-yo fashion when they do play abroad, struggling to maintain the level across Premier League and European commitments.
Now, Villas-Boas can rely on being able to juggle such responsibilities and be hopeful of having the necessary resources to succeed in both.
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