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Spurs must figure out formations
Tottenham have started their past two Premier League games with formations that failed to mesh.
Against Arsenal, Spurs deployed Rafael van der Vaart as a right midfielder with the freedom to drift inside. While he did score a goal, he was also very poor in defense and was responsible for the Arsenal goal.
Against Newcastle, Spurs had van der Vaart in a central attacking role in support of Emmanuel Adebayor. Gareth Bale was on the right wing, for some strange reason, and Luka Modric was on the left.
Van der Vaart had a fine game in his more natural position, but Bale struggled to impose his will from the right side. Even after Bale was returned to the left wing, he was unable to leave his mark on the game.
Modric had a decent, if underwhelming, performance. He does his best work from the center of midfield where he can dictate play.
The formation issues will be eased with the return of Aaron Lennon. He is a natural on the right wing, with the speed to complement Bale on the other side. The question becomes who to play in the center of midfield.
Modric is a must-start. The Croatian is a joy to watch play and a lot of what Spurs do starts through him. If van der Vaart were a better defender then he would be the easy choice to partner Modric, but he hasn't been.
That leaves van der Vaart's playing time dependent on the form of the strikers. So far, Adebayor and Defoe have formed a fine partnership. If one of them has a drop in form, look for Redknapp to revert to playing a lone striker with van der Vaart in support.
Having too many good players is a nice problem to have, but it is still a problem. Redknapp will need to solve it if he hopes to return Tottenham to the glory of Champions League football.