It’s a suggestion that has been aired on some Spurs forums recently and on Sunday it became reality. Vlad Chiriches made a return to the Tottenham first team, but as a right back.
The Romanian has occasionally been seen there for his previous club Steaua Bucharest, as well as for his national team. At the KC Stadium, he added Spurs to that list as he came on for the second half in place of Eric Dier.
Right back has been a problem area for us. Kyle Walker has been out injured all season, Kyle Naughton is far too cautious going forward and Eric Dier looks like a centre back being used to patch the position.
Chiriches was dropping down the Tottenham pecking order with his struggles at centre back and a transfer away from White Hart Lane was on the cards. However, in a move that echoed the calls from some of the Tottenham fans, Vlad Chiriches put in a performance that could see him get more chances at the position.
Attacking focal point
Whilst it has to be remembered that Hull were down to ten men for most of the second half, Vlad Chiriches introduced some welcome width to the side.
He was very much an attacking focal point going forward. This is something we’ve lacked when Dier and Naughton have filled the role. He stayed wide and hugged the touchline, offering an out pass that stretched Hull across the pitch. We were then very quick to play the ball to him, often over great distance to move it wide from the centre of the field.
He received the ball 38 times in just 45 minutes on pitch, highlighting how much he was involved in our attack, but also how he was able to get forward. This was more easily done in the second half as Hull were down to ten men, but he often got in to the final third, above the line of the penalty area. This is an area Mauricio Pochettino wants his full backs to get to, but they have rarely done so this season.
This allowed Vlad Chiriches to put in a number of dangerous crosses. He attempted seven in total, including one that Roberto Soldado should’ve put home, but scuffed wide.
The cross for Soldado was a great ball in by Chiriches, as he had gone past Aaron Lennon on the overlap, something the pair were frequently doing.
Dovetailing with Lennon
When Hull went a man down, Mauricio Pochettino introduced another wide player in Aaron Lennon. The diminutive winger looks more at home on the right than the left and it was his dovetailing with Vlad Chiriches that opened up Hull’s defence on several occasions.
Lennon was occupying full back Andrew Robertson, which allowed Chiriches to sneak in unmarked by retaining a wide position.
After his perfect cross to pick out Soldado, Chiriches then put another ball in to the box after Lennon had again taken the Hull left back inside. The cross was deflected as it was played right through the danger area, registering it as incomplete on his Stats Zone passes above, but it just evaded a sliding Ben Davies.
The movement of Lennon to take the full back away was proving fruitful, but the winger was also getting in on the act. Lennon was trying to spin in-behind the Hull full back and have Chiriches play him in up the line.
He did that here to whip in a cross that Harry Kane should’ve headed home, but put the wrong side of the post.
The dovetailing of the two was a feature of many of our good second half chances. Lennon would move from out to in so as to let Vlad Chiriches overlap. If the Romanian didn’t move past him, then Lennon would spin back out looking for a pass up the line so that he could attack the Hull full back himself.
It was a nice relationship and looked as if the two had played together for a while, such was the good communication on show. It was against ten men, but proved to be a good attacking combination.
On Christian Eriksen’s winning goal, the Dane got himself free between Hull’s lines of defence and midfield. But in the build-up, Lennon had again moved inside to take Hull players with him, creating just enough space for Eriksen to go to work. Whilst out on the flanks, both Vlad Chiriches and Ben Davies were wide open to provide crossing options. It is this kind of attacking support from the full backs that we have seen on the left from Danny Rose, but not down the right with Kyle Naughton or Eric Dier.
What’s more, whilst he was rarely needed defensively with Hull being hemmed in due to only having ten men, he was a capable ball winner.
Vlad wasn’t often needed in his own half, but when called upon, his defensive instincts learned at centre back were there to snuff out any danger.
More chances for Vlad Chiriches at right back?
It’s been a suggestion from some Spurs fans to give Vlad Chiriches a go at right back and the decision to put him out there paid off against Hull. It was against ten men, but the Romanian international has definitely thrown his hat in the ring for consideration given our current situation.
Kyle Walker has only just returned to training after eight months on the sidelines and may still be a few more weeks away from a first team return. Mauricio Pochettino will also be wary of playing him too often, too soon, for fear of seeing him break down again.
Eric Dier has been doing a decent job, but looks like a centre back playing the position. He lacks the speed and energy to get both forward to help the attack and back to aid the defence. Kyle Naughton has also done well, but looks far too cautious when going forward, as he is concerned about being caught out defensively. His rocky time filing in at left beack seems to still be on his conscience.
Vlad Chiriches definitely made an impression against Hull. Another chance to show what he can do as a right back should be in the offing with both Europa League and Premier League fixtures in the next four days.