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Thursday, 11 August 2016

Outstanding centre-back pair need the team to defend


Jamie Carragher felt the Tottenham pairing of Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen were the best pair of centre-backs in the league, although due credit has to go to Eric Dier for his shielding of them and Mousa Dembele too.

"I think last season, the outstanding ones really were the Tottenham pair. With Vertonghen, it's whether he's fit now having had a problem in the summer, as he gives you that nice balance on the left hand side. Alderweireld came in from Southampton and was a revelation as well, I think they had one of the best defensive records."

Defending is something we have to do as a team. We try to do it as high up the pitch as we can, but when that doesn't work will have to quickly fill back, hold up players to allow ours to form a wall and then overload the central midfield, forcing the opposition wide. You'll notice Eriksen or Lamela then rush out to cover an area or Walker and Rose rush out to their man.

If one man isn't doing their defensive work then there is a hole the others have to try ad fill which as you can imagine stretches us and gives the opposition a greater chance of piercing a hole to exploit. This off-the-ball work is vital and not often taken into account by fans. Erik Lamela has talent going forward, but I think we have all noticed the defensive work he does, do you associate Andros Townsend with the same defensive workload?

There were suggestions form Brentford fans that this might be the reason he was let go by Pochettino. Eriksen has had to up his game defensively and he has certainly done so, he gives the impression that he is doing it with more enthusiasm now.

We may have a good centre-back pairing, but it's the team who defend, we saw that at the end of the season when several players had given up and didn't even bother trying.

Alderweireld and Vertonghen are without doubt a quality pairing, their cutting out of balls at the near post sticks a feature. I'm looking forward to more of the same this season.


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