Nothing derails a good start to the season like injuries, and with Spurs seemingly not having the strength in depth to cope with losing Dembele, Parker, Livermore and perhaps now Sandro, their results and performances have lost the momentum built up by the four game winning run. Losing your four first choice central midfielders to injury is unlucky, but for Dembele to already be so integral to a side he only joined in late August suggest Spurs need to reinforce their midfield options considerably.
With Sandro going off injured against Wigan, Villas-Boas turned to Gylfi Sigurdsson to partner Tom Huddlestone in the centre of midfield. Tom Carroll was on the bench as well, and there is certainly a case for saying it was he who should have replaced Sandro as a more natural fit in the deeper central midfield role. With Sigurdsson failing to impress against Wigan, and injuries looking set to keep out other players at least for the match on Thursday, Tom Carroll should be given a chance to impress by starting the game against Maribor.
The young player is a possession based midfielder, nipping around the pitch playing short passes in a manner not entirely dissimilar to Luka Modric. Against Wigan Spurs passing stats were pretty poor, with many players only completing around 80% of their attempted passes.
Sigurdsson was particularly guilty of giving the ball away on several occasions, and looked too short of confidence to play in the centre of midfield. It would be a lot of pressure to place on Carroll, but his natural style of football should ensure Spurs keep the ball better, and are both more solid defensively and threatening going forward as a result.
If Sandro is out for an extended period Spurs have a real problem in the centre of midfield. With upcoming league matches away at Manchester City and Arsenal, the heart of the 4-2-3-1 system looks unready for the challenge of coping with two sides full of talented midfielders.
Tom Carroll was probably not someone Villas-Boas was expecting to call on this early in the season, but the situation Spurs face means that Carroll should be tried, and the match at home to Maribor on Thursday could be the perfect opportunity to have a look at the youngster ahead of the tougher tests coming in the league.
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