Andre Villas-Boas' Dilemma Choosing Either Jan Vertonghen or Vlad Chiriches

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Andre Villas-Boas' Dilemma Choosing Either Jan Vertonghen or Vlad Chiriches
Julian Finney/Getty Images

During Tottenham Hotspur's UEFA Europa League win over Sheriff Tiraspol, Andre Villas-Boas relegated an in-form Vlad Chiriches to the bench to keep Jan Vertonghenfrustrated with his fill-in left-back role in recent games, happy. 

By not naming Michael Dawson on the bench, Villas-Boas made it clear his captain, whose leadership at the back has contributed to Spurs having the Premier League's second-best defensive record, was being rested.

That was the easy part.  

What Villas-Boas did next has trapped him in a no-win situation going into the next Premier League game against Newcastle United

Kyle Naughton was available to start at left-back; therefore, Vertonghen expected Villas-Boas to stay true to his word. 

"He knows that position [centre-back] is waiting for him whenever we have options at left-back," Villas-Boas said, via ITV. "He has my word."

Villas-Boas wanted to continue easing Younes Kaboul back to full-match fitness, so there was only one centre-back position left for either Chiriches or Vertonghen.

Vertonghen, the club's best defender, was a shoo-in to start once Naughton was passed fit for the Sheriff game.

Unfortunately, it came at the expense of Chiriches, who has played great football despite not having a pre-season with Spurs. 

Do you know how many goals Tottenham have conceded in Chiriches' five games as a starter? Zero. 

He was coming off a sterling performance in the 0-0 draw against Everton, a game where he and Michael Dawson combined to pacify Chelsea loanee Romelu Lukaku, who failed to register a single shot on goal.

Vertonghen, starting at left-back, stopped his compatriot Kevin Mirallas, who led the Toffees in league assists (four) going into the game. 

"I have had lots of conversations with Jan regarding this situation [playing left-back]," Villas-Boas said, via The Independent. "I know he doesn't like it, but it's no big deal. It's a decision I have to make for the best of the team."

Tottenham face Newcastle this weekend, and Villas-Boas will have a dilemma at centre-back: Vertonghen or Chiriches to partner Dawson.

  • OPTION A: Walker, Dawson, ChirichesVertonghen
  • OPTION B: Walker, Dawson, VertonghenNaughton

Option A is clearly the stronger back four simply because of Vertonghen being a superior left-back to Naughton, who is a right-back, not a left-back. 

Newcastle manager Alan Pardew played a 4-4-2 in the 2-0 win over Chelsea with Mathieu Debuchy and Moussa Sissoko providing width on the right flank.

Can Naughton, who isn't suited to play at left-back, deal with the overlapping runs of Debuchy and the athleticism of Sissoko?


"For the best of the team," Vertonghen should start over Naughton at left-back against Newcastle. 

Vertonghen needs to bite his tongue when filling in at left-back until Danny Rose returns from injury.

If Villas-Boas signs a left-back in the January transfer window to provide cover, Vertonghen's days of being a left-back at Spurs will be over.

In the words of Villas-Boas, via Chris Richards at The Mirror: "He [Vertonghen] is one of the greatest central defenders I have worked with."

Chiriches has made an outstanding first impression at Tottenham, but once Vertonghen returns to centre-back, Chiriches will have to get used to warming the bench. 

He should take solace knowing Vertonghen was once below Oleguer, Robbie Wielaert and Thomas Vermaelen in the Ajax centre-back pecking order. 

Chiriches' time will come. 



Statistics via WhoScored, FFT Stats Zone, Squawka and Transfermarkt
Twitter: @allanjiangLIVE

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