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Tottenham Hotspur under Nuno Espirito Santo

Nuno Espirito Santo, former Wolves manager was appointed as the new Tottenham Hotspur Boss on 30th June 2021 and every Spurs fan has the right to be excited given how successful he has been with Wolves by winning them promotion and then finishing 7th two consecutive times in the Premier League.

Formations Nuno Espirito Santos can use at Tottenham Hotspur

He used a 3-4-3(24 times) and 3-5-2(14 times) when he was managing wolves during the 2019/2020 season. This season he tried a lot of other formations too as they were having a poor campaign finishing 13th in the premier league. But I believe at Spurs he will again use either 3-4-3 or 3-5-2 which he used in 2019. He uses the 3-5-2 formation against the teams who like to dominate possession as this formation is slightly more defensive and provides an extra midfielder while the 3-4-3 formation provides an extra player in attack and hence can be seen as a more attacking formation.

How his 3-5-2 tactic works?

During buildup with 3-5-2, their goalkeeper Rui Patricio was allowed to go long as Raul Jiménez playing as a centre forward in his Wolves team was good at winning headers and he used to flick the ball in the path of the other centre forward who was Diogo Jota in 19/20 season to run towards the goal.

The three midfielders in this formation can also pick up the headed balls if the striker misplaces the header. Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son already have an excellent partnership for Spurs and can fill in these roles with ease provided Harry Kane stays at spurs.

How his 3-4-3 tactic works?

But when building out from the back using 3-4-3, one of their midfielders mostly Ruben Neves used to drop deep while Joao Moutinho stayed higher to facilitate ball progression. Both of those midfielders were good with the ball on their feet and has an extensive passing range which allowed them to dictate the play from deep while maintaining a solid shape at the same time to protect against counter-attacks. Tanguy Ndombele, Giovani Lo Celso, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Moussa Sissoko can fill in these places for Spurs with each of these players providing something different from the other.

Wolves liked to attack from the wide regions. The wingers pin the opposition fullback towards them by staying wide which gave time to the wingbacks to find a pass or carry the ball upfield. In the final third, one of the wingers, mostly Adama Traore played as a traditional winger, dribbling past the men to attack the byline and cross while the other one, mostly Diogo Jota acted as an inside forward who used to find spaces between opposition fullback and centre back to receive the ball to find a pass or shot.

Raul Jiménez was also comfortable dropping deep which allowed the wingers to tuck in like an inside forward and make runs behind him. Harry Kane, Heung-Min Son and Lucas Moura fits the profile perfectly and can be trusted as a front 3 for Spurs with Eric Lamela and Steve Bergwijn and Dele Alli on the bench.

Potential Lineups

Defensive Structure

When out of possession, Nuno’s team drops deep forming a back 5. The wingbacks in his team, namely Jonny and Matt Doherty were hardworking. They could go forward to find overlaps in attack and drop deep to act as a traditional fullback for defending. Matt Doherty can be expected to get the nod over other right-backs spurs have under his former boss as he was a vital part of Nuno’s Wolves team’s success while Sergio Reguilon will most probably play as the left wingback for Spurs.

The three centre backs in his team are all dominant in the air and win most of their aerial duals protecting the team from crosses from the wide regions. Toby Alderweireld, Davison Sanchez and Eric Dier will most probably start as the back 3 under their new boss but we can expect Spurs to sign more Center Backs to improve the quality of their defence.

Counter Attacks!!

And after winning the ball in these scenarios, they used to start counterattacks by exploiting the spaces left by the opposition fullbacks. Raul Jiménez often acted as the focal point for starting counter-attacks who often used to drop deep to collect the ball and pass it to the runners coming from deep to run in those empty spaces behind the opposition fullbacks and dribble all the way towards the opposition goal.


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