This article is part of Football FanCast’s The Chalkboard series, which provides a tactical insight into teams, players, managers, potential signings and more…
England may have got off to a lacklustre start in their amazing 5-3 win against Kosovo at St Mary’s on Tuesday night, but a five-goal first half blitz involving Harry Kane surely means Mauricio Pochettino is missing a big trick at Tottenham Hotspur.
So far this season, the Argentine manager has used a number of different formations in Spurs’ Premier League matches, including 4-2-3-1, 4-3-1-2 and 4-2-2-2, according to Transfermarkt.
The system most similar to the 4-3-3 one the Three Lions used on the south coast is the former, which was utilised against Manchester City and Newcastle United.
Christian Eriksen and Moussa Sissoko were the wide players against Pep Guardiola’s men, with Son Heung-Min and Lucas Moura filling those roles against the Magpies.
On Tuesday, Raheem Sterling and Jadon Sancho played high up the pitch and almost alongside Kane, and it worked wonders with the former scoring one and assisting three, and the latter netting a brace and providing the cross from which the own goal came about.
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Son and Lucas may have played on the flanks in the disappointing defeat to Newcastle, but the presence of Erik Lamela in the No.10 role meant they had to do their fair share of defensive duties, too.
Tuesday night highlighted just how effective Kane can be in a front three if he has two pacey players around him, as well as affording him more space to work in, and Son and Lucas have the skills and speed to play a similar role for the north London outfit that Sterling and Sancho did for England.
It would of course mean Pochettino needs to take a few risks and potentially leave the likes of Lamela and Dele Alli out of the starting XI, but it’s hardly as though they’ve been in brilliant form themselves either in recent months.
A solid midfield trio – picked from Tanguy Ndombele, Harry Winks, Eric Dier, Sissoko and Eriksen – would then be the answer to allowing an out-and-out Tottenham front three to thrive.
1-0 defeats at home to West Ham, Ajax and Newcastle United at the club’s new stadium in 2019 show they are far from perfect going forward, and the opportunity to play 4-3-3 on a consistent basis is one Pochettino can’t afford to waste given the options he has available at his disposal.