Tottenham Have the Squad Depth to Challenge for Silverware This Season
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images
Tottenham Hotspur’s ruthless 4-0 drubbing of Aston Villa in the Capital One Cup reaffirmed suggestions that Spurs’ 2013/14 cohort is their strongest since the Premier League’s inception.
Gareth Bale’s departure could have portended a downturn in Spurs’ on-field ambitions. Conversely, a shrewd transfer strategy, spearheaded by Franco Baldini, has facilitated the assembly of a formidable squad—a squad with the requisite depth to compete in multiple competitions.
Tuesday’s clash at Villa Park perfectly illustrated the advantages of having a competitive second-string. Despite resting key first-teamers—a necessity with the congested fixture list—Spurs comprehensively dispatched a spirited but relatively toothless Villa outfit.
Contrasting this with Spurs’ fortunes in the Capital One Cup last season (a 2-1 loss to Norwich in the fourth round) makes you appreciate the relative leanness of that squad.
Will Spurs win a trophy this season?
During the 2012/13 campaign the likes of Tom Carroll, Jake Livermore and Iago Falque were drafted as replacements to allow the first team some respite. Now, players of indubitable quality such as Sandro, Jermain Defoe and Lewis Holtby are considered rotation players. The calibre of the supporting cast has clearly evolved.
However, to suggest that such players are simply performing an ancillary role is to their disservice. Spurs are a flexible contingent with the capability to endure a spate of injuries.
This competition for places serves to galvanise those individuals on the periphery—rendering Andre Villas Boas’ team selection that much harder. Ultimately, questions such as whether AVB should afford Younes Kaboul and Sandro Raniere starting berths on their return to full fitness are fantastic problems for the manager to deliberate.
To further highlight the disparity in squad depth compared to past Tottenham sides, Darren Lewis of the Daily Mirror has suggested that Spurs’ triumphant 2008 League Cup team was in fact weaker than the team fielded on Tuesday:
And yet Tottenham were still able to field a second string not only good enough to crush Aston Villa 4-0 at Villa Park in the Carling Cup.
That side was better than many of the first teams that Tottenham have put out over the last ten years.
In fact, it was arguably superior to the Tottenham team that beat Chelsea to actually WIN the Carling Cup Final back in 2008.
That assertion is difficult to disagree with.
2008 Carling Cup final team: Robinson; Hutton, Woodgate, King, Chimbonda; Lennon, Jenas, Zokora, Malbranque; Berbatov, Keane.
2013 Carling Cup third-round team: Friedel; Walker, Chiriches, Vertonghen, Fryers; Paulinho, Sandro; Lamela, Holtby, Kane; Defoe.
Arguably, only Ledley King, Pascal Chimbonda (maybe) and Dimitar Berbatov would displace their corresponding counterparts in the 2013 setup—a revelation that reinforces the credibility of an extended cup run this season.
Granted, since the departure of a certain Welshman, Spurs’ first team now lacks that superstar presence, someone capable of single-handedly dictating the outcome of a match. Additionally, in terms of quality across the pitch, their first team is still a little way off the likes of Manchester City.
Nevertheless, the foundations of success were set this summer with the reinvestment of the Gareth Bale funds. A deep squad ensures that the sale of any one player is not a significantly destabilising influence—there will always be players of comparable aptitude waiting in the wings.
While talk of a title charge this season is somewhat premature, Spurs are well equipped to progress into the latter stages of all the cup competitions.
Would a European/domestic cup-double be greedy?
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?