Should Andre Villas-Boas Switch Tottenham's Tactics to Suit Paulinho?

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Should Andre Villas-Boas Switch Tottenham's Tactics to Suit Paulinho?
(Photo by Michael Regan/Getty Images)

Paulinho's performance against Aston Villa in last weekend's Premier League action was a joy to watch, as the Brazilian dominated his opponents in a virtuoso display.

The showing was encapsulated by his sublime assist for Spurs' second goal as he played a neat pass inside to Roberto Soldado, who finished off the move with aplomb.

However, Paulinho actually had a very average first half.

Paired with compatriot Sandro in a double pivot at the heart of Andre Villas-Boas' 4-2-3-1 meant that Paulinho was deployed as a second defensive midfielder, which hampered his ability to get forward.

With the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Lewis Holtby and Andros Townsend in front of him, Paulinho's opportunities to join the attack were limited as he had to provide defensive cover for the aforementioned trio.

/Getty Images

But in the second half, Villas-Boas changed the outlook of the Spurs team by introducing Mousa Dembele to the play.

This effectively transformed Paulinho's performance from middling to outstanding as he was given license to get forward and exploit space in front of him.

With Dembele deployed as the deep-lying playmaker and Sandro anchoring the midfield trio, Paulinho became the most advanced midfielder in a 4-3-3.

The switch served to push the Brazilian further up the field where he could influence the game and get into the box more often, which is where his true talents lie.

The assist was one example of how Paulinho can change the game in an instant, but there was an equally telling moment later on in the game.

Townsend had found space beyond the full-back and curled a sumptuous cross into the six-yard box, and Paulinho. recognising an opportunity, made a late run into the penalty area to meet the ball.

The Brazilian just failed to get his head on the cross with a stooping effort, but had the chance been converted it would have added a flourish to his display.

Opportunities like that will come again, and if Paulinho keeps popping up in those areas, the goals will flow.

Should Villas-Boas Switch To A Three-Man Midfield to Suit Paulinho?

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In fact, Paulinho's style of play is reminiscent of Frank Lampard in his earlier days, when he would just ghost into the box and finish off moves.

Obviously, the former Corinthians star is some way off matching the Chelsea man's achievements but he has the ability to emulate that sort of level of performance.

Paulinho's start to the season has been inconsistent, but he appears to be finding form now as Villas-Boas experiments with his side.

The Portuguese boss may just have stumbled across a setup that keeps Paulinho and the team happy by placing him at the top of a midfield trio alongside Sandro and Dembele.

Paulinho could be key to a title challenge this season, and Villas-Boas will be seeking the perfect way to accommodate the Brazilian's talents whilst also maintaining a balanced attack.

He may have just found the perfect solution.

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