Posted 13th August, approved 1st September
It looks like the Berbatov saga is finally coming to a close. With the sale of Robbie Keane, our dynamic duo that created or scored most of our goals over the last two seasons appear to have left us just as we appear on the cusp of having a great team. But do we need them and, especially with regards to Berbatov, will we miss them?
Pretty much our play last season involved getting the ball to one of the strikers, seeing what they can do, and hoping they create a goal scoring opportunity, and then getting on the end of it as well. They tended to drop deep to receive the ball and play one twos, or connect via long balls to Berbatov that would elegantly control or flick on.
With the new influx of creative midfielders, capable of opening up teams themselves, creating opportunities from deep or out wide, and looking to score a fair few goals as well, would there have been a position for strikers who want the ball and step on the midfield’s toes? We have been far more fluent with the ball in our build up to the season, and the movement of all the players has been really pleasing to see. It is no coincidence that Bent has scored so many goals in pre-season – he is all about getting on the end of things, be it through balls, dodgy back passes or snapping up chances in the box. It is also no surprise that Berbatov has not scored any, as the creativeness of the midfield negates his presence in a withdrawn role, and the pace of our play seems him left behind. Berbatov’s best performance was arguably against Dortmund in the second half, where we looked to hit on the counter, and he had time and space to play the killer ball
Despite their goal scoring records, and Spurs overall high numbers of goals scored, there has always been a feeling that we don’t kill games off, that chances go begging and that on the balance of play we should be scoring more. A Gary Lineker type player, going on from 20 odd goals and hitting 30+, might be of more use in our new system, even if they are a bit more limited technically.
One thing that Bent has over Berbatov is a much higher work rate, and it could be Berbatov’s habit of being a bit static that makes him unsuitable to our new team. Whereas before he was the centre of attention, to work in our team now he would need to improve his team work, and his lackadaisical style could be detrimental to our high paced inter-play. In the end I don’t think he would be happy with only scoring goals, I think he would want the ball a little too much, and spitting his dummy out when he doesn’t get it could have a negative effect, especially on the confidence of the new boys and Bent.
In the end, has our style of play moved on so much that a player in the style of Berbatov would actually do more harm than good? It might be impossible to replace him like for like, but do we, and far more importantly, Ramos, want to do that?