The Case for Andros Townsend

Let me start by saying I don’t highly rate Andros Townsend. I think he is a one trick pony. He uses his pace to get past defenders, eventually using a skill move to cut back on his left looking to shoot. It’s too predictable and easy to gameplan against. However, in Tottenham’s match against Swansea yesterday Townsend proved that one trick has some value.

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Townsend’s speed gets the team into the attacking third quickly and with this advantage he brings it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t deserve to keep starting on the right wing. Spurs have lacked width on the flanks, and with Aaron Lennon on loan at Everton, Townsend is really the only solution to keep play out wide.

The alternative on the right is Erik Lamela, but the Argentine is still struggling to adjust to the Premier League. Comparing the two from a talent standpoint, Lamela probably comes out on top. Lamela has better vision and delivers a stealthier shot, shown with his rabona goal against Asteras Tripolis in the Europa League earlier this season. Unfortunately what Lamela has to offer doesn’t suit Tottenham’s needs at the moment.

When Mauricio Pochettino selects the Nacer Chadli, Christian Eriksen, and Erik Lamela attacking midfield, the width disappears. All three of these players prefer to operate centrally, using quick touch passing to break down the defense. The attacking capabilities of the team start to suffer when this trio occupies the same space, clogging the midfield up and allowing the defense to hone in and start forcing turnovers. Townsend is necessary to move the ball out to the touchlines and into more dangerous areas. When Tottenham get wide they stretch the opposing back line and give Harry Kane more space to make his runs behind the defense.

Pochettino should keep with Townsend for the rest of the season and even start to consider whether it’s time to pull the plug on the Lamela investment. At age 23, the club could still recover most of the £30million they paid for him if he were to be offloaded. After Eden Hazard sliced apart Tottenham to win Chelsea the League Cup, it became fairly obviously that Spurs are a quality winger away from being competitive with England’s best. If they were to sell Lamela, they could use that money to bring in a winger who has already proven himself in Europe. Although there is a very high chance that Lamela can come good, Spurs I feel are a bold move away from being a legitimate threat in the Premier League.

As for Townsend, a move like this would relegate him to a backup, but he could still have an impact on the team. As a substitute, his speed can provide an added edge at late moments in games. At the same time, Tottenham cannot be overly focused on the future since top 4 is still a small possibility this season. Townsend needs to be focused on proving himself. Pochettino has instilled some faith in him and he’s yet to fully capitalize on it. In these last stretch of games, Townsend needs to effectively utilize his speed and improve the passing aspects of his game. These games are crucial for him and could affect his future at the club, as well as the opportunities he’s given as an English international.

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We Need You Wembley

The League Cup is very important. This is a statement that has supporters of big clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City laughing in their seats. They have much more pressing manners at hand such as winning the league or beating Barcelona in the Champions League. However, for the clubs beneath them like Tottenham the League Cup is one of the few chances available to win silverware in an increasing monopolized landscape. Only two or three clubs have a realistic shot at winning the Premier League anymore and Spurs are not one of them. They need to look elsewhere to add trophies to an increasingly barren display case. Spurs have set themselves up in prime position for their first cup final since 2009 and should do everything in their power to bring a supposedly meaningless League Cup back to White Hart Lane. While the League Cup may not have the historical significance of the FA Cup, a trophy is still a trophy dammit. At this moment, Spurs are in need of physical evidence that things are heading in the right direction.

A defeatist attitude is starting to find its way into the club. It starts with the supporters and is working its way into the minds of the players. We even have a word to describe this, “Spursy.” Before the match even kicks off, fans expect something bad to happen and when it inevitably does they simply chalk it up to unfortunate luck. I know I’m guilty of this. Each matchday I slip on one of my Tottenham jerseys reluctantly, hoping just not to receive it in the face. We get hammered by big clubs, shit the bed against small ones. It’s a never-ending cycle that us supporters have grown to accept.

The deeper the team progresses in the League Cup though the more it looks like the club can break free of these feelings. Yesterday, Spurs put in a complete performance against Newcastle United, winning 4-0 and breezing into the semifinals. Even better news, they drew League One side Sheffield United with a place in the final on the line. Unless things go drastically wrong, Spurs will be going to Wembley once again.

The first couple months of the Mauricio Pochettino regime have been rocky, but this cup run will give supporters confidence that the ship is heading in the right direction. How could you not have faith in a man that won a trophy in his first opportunity? Pochettino is still trying to bring large-scale system changes to the club, but European football is a result driven business. A trophy would ease the pressure for the considerable future and ensure supporters that he is the man that can bring Champions League to the club.

Provided everything goes as expected against Sheffield United, Spurs still have a huge obstacle in between them and the League Cup. A trip to the final will see them paired up against either Chelsea or Liverpool, two teams that have torn them to shreds recently. In the last 6 matches they’ve played against these two clubs they’ve been outscored a combined 20-1. However, I can’t think of a better way to reverse our fortunes than by knocking off one of our conquerors and lifting a trophy at the same time. It would be a notice to the big clubs that Spurs are on their way to closing the gap.

It is also not as if this is the only thing left to play for in our season. Tottenham are just 4 points back of the 4th Champions League spot and are in the Europa League Round of 32. Champions League football has been the dream for a while now and a Leauge Cup victory would provide the momentum for that late season push.

The League Cup is not pointless. It actually could have a great effect on the future of this club. It can springboard further success on grander stages. Much simpler however, it’s a chance to bring silverware back into the fold. We the supporters must believe. We can’t think of this potential cup final as another chance to get exposed by Chelsea. No more defeating ourselves before the match even starts. With the favorable draw, the soccer gods gave us a golden opportunity. Time to take it and run with it all the way into Wembley.