Is Sandro the man to unleash Tottenham's attacking potential?

The balance of Andre Villas-Boas’ side seems to be better when the combative holding midfielder features in the centre of the park.

Much has been made of Tottenham inability to score frequently from open play, with the side seemingly struggling to unlock the benefits of Andre Villas-Boas’ 4-2-3-1 formation.

A total of 15 goals this season is significantly less than Spurs’ fellow top-four rivals and fewer than what the White Hart Lane faithful would like to see.

With a lone striker, whether it is Jermain Defoe or Roberto Soldado, the emphasis is on the midfield to get forward and support the forward to avoid him becoming isolated.

Surprisingly, it may well be the permanent installation of a defensive midfielder into the Spurs line-up that could unleash the side’s attacking potential.

Against Sunderland last Saturday, Tottenham fell a goal behind in the first-half and looked like a team devoid of ideas to get back into the game. Although having plenty of possession, the incisiveness, movement off the ball and thrust was not there.

It took Paulinho to get forward and grab an equaliser before the break, and allowing this talented Brazilian box-to-box man the licence to support the attackers could well be the answer to Spurs’ woes.

The former Corinthians man started the game against Sunderland as a designated holding midfielder, and the team’s attack looked one-dimensional as a result.

However, with Sandro introduced in the second 45, Spurs dominated possession and although they ended up winning 2-1, it could and should have been fix or six.

With Sandro holding in front of the side’s back four, Paulniho was given a licence to get forward and the Stadium of Light outfit struggled to contain the South American’s work rate and movement.

Aaron Lennon has proved that he is the man to start on Spurs’ right-wing in recent games, overcoming injury and competition for places to make the berth his own. If the former Leeds youth graduate continues in his rich vein of current form for upcoming months, surely Hodgson will bring the diminutive attacker back into the national fold.

Townsend is naturally left-footed, but has played the majority of his football on the right-hand side for the White Hart Lane club. This allows him to cut in-field and look to get shots off at goal.

This has delighted and infuriated Spurs fans in equal measure, with the side crying out for its widemen to hug the touchlines.

Against Sunderland on Saturday, Townsend was introduced from the bench on his natural left side and provided a number of excellent crosses in a bright display. With Andre Villas-Boas struggling to decide who should play on the left in his 4-2-3-1 system, surely operating left-footed Townsend on the left wing makes sense?

If this happens, Tottenham will have two lightning quick wingers that can run at opposition and get quality deliveries into the box. This could end the current indifference of the club’s attacking game, and as a result could see both wingers included in the England side for the World Cup next summer.

image: © simonw92

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