Who’s right, Aaron Lennon or Andros Townsend?

Aaron Lennon and Andros Townsend have both started for Spurs on the right of AVB’s 4-3-3 this season, but is one more suited than the other?

Aaron Lennon

Aaron Lennon is more of a traditional winger than a wide forward. He likes to receive the ball to feet, then quickly go through the gears as he attempts to take the opposing full back on before crossing.

He’s had to adapt his style since the arrival of Andre Villas-Boas. With the Portuguese coach wanting our wide players to receive possession on the run, Lennon had to change up his game last season.

The England international got the start in our trip to Crystal Palace and with him in the side, we can see the width he brings to the position. The ball is moved out from the middle of the park to Aaron playing close to the touchline. He takes a lot of possession midway inside the Palace half, but he also receives passes played in-behind the opposing full back.


Aaron Lennon passes received, Crystal Palace 0 Spurs 1.

From here, he can dribble and either cross or pull the ball back. He set up a chance for Roberto Soldado, but also had four others blocked, indicated by the red lines inside the penalty area.


Aaron Lennon passes played, Crystal Palace 0 Spurs 1.

Another thing of note that we saw was that he also recycles possession well. He was trying to get in-behind to pick out crosses from shorter distances, but when the option is not on, he can play the ball backwards to Kyle Walker. Of Lennon’s 47 passes in the match, only 11 were forward and 7 square as the other 29 went backwards to a team mate.

This was further highlighted in his relationship with Kyle Walker. Lennon’s passes usually go back up the line to Kyle, who can pick the passes forward to Aaron.


Aaron Lennon passes to Kyle Walker and Walker back to Lennon, Crystal Palace 0 Spurs 1.

Whilst Aaron Lennon brings width and dribbling to the position, he is not a shooter. He took only 29 shots in 34 appearances in the Premier League last season.

Andros Townsend

Whilst Aaron Lennon operates like a traditional winger, Andros Townsend plays the role as an inverted wide forward.

He plays with less width than Aaron and being a natural left footer, looks to come inside a lot more often. If we look at where he received the ball against Swansea, we can see that Townsend spends a lot of time in the inside right channel, whereas Lennon is more out towards the touchline.


Andros Townsend passes received, Spurs 1 Swansea 0.

Against Tbilisi, Andros was able to get in-behind the full back through dribbling at pace. Against Swansea, as he didn’t receive the ball played in deep, he dribbled infield and therefore his passes in to the box come through the inside right channel. This is more typical of the inverted wide forward than the traditional winger.


Andros Townsend passes played, Spurs 1 Swansea 0.

As a result of this movement, his relationship with Kyle Walker is different. Playing with Lennon, Kyle doesn’t overlap as much, as he doesn’t need to with the space being filled by Aaron. As a result, most of Walker’s passes are up the line.

Playing with Andros Townsend, Kyle has to provide the outlet as Andros cuts inside. Walker’s passes are short and often infield to Andros. The ones Walker receives are often played deep towards the by line and in-behind the full back.


Andros Townsend passes to Walker and Kyle’s passes received, Spurs 1 Swansea 0.

What Andros Townsend cutting inside does give Spurs is another shooter.

He took 37 strikes at goal in his 17 appearances whilst on loan last season for QPR. He had four by cutting inside and firing diagonally across the goal against Swansea.

Who’s right, Aaron Lennon or Andros Townsend?

The right player really depends on whether we want a winger to fill the position to give added creativity or if we are looking to have another goalscorer.

This could really depend on who plays in the advanced midfield role. With a player that can pass in Gylfi Sigurdsson, Aaron Lennon was the choice. With a more powerful ball winner in Paulinho, Andros Townsend was the selection.

In Andre Villas-Boas’ previous managerial appointments, he has combined a winger with a wide forward. This could hint that a wide man like Aaron Lennon would play opposite a forward like Nacer Chadli.

However, this term we’ve seen our Portuguese coach look to move to a strong, powerful midfield trio that focuses on winning the ball back, then shifting it to the wide players. In this case, the wide forwards need to provide a goal scoring threat, which would favour a player like Andros Townsend.

With AVB playing his more preferred system of 4-3-3 this term, the incumbent of the right-sided role may just depend on the make-up of the midfield trio.

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11 Responses to Who’s right, Aaron Lennon or Andros Townsend?

  1. Jonson 27th August 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    Aaron lennon is the most overrated player we have .He`s not a great player & he needs replacing asap .Townsend is naive ,clumsy & is still learning ,but has already overtaken him ,that should not happen .Lennon gets the ball & loses it in important areas or bottles it by a simple sideways pass .Townsend attacks the goal ,can shoot can deliver a final ball ,Lennon lacks these 2 most important skills .All tippy toes no end product .Townsend is scary for defenders ,lennon is predictable .

  2. Sprucebandit 27th August 2013 at 6:49 pm #

    It’s nice to have the option. I think both are fantastic players but very different styles. Personally, I’d go with Lennon to start and Townsend as the impact sub when games become more open. Either way, got to keep both. COYS!!

  3. Stuart Gane 27th August 2013 at 7:15 pm #

    Would be Townsend and Chadli at the moment for me in our “A” squad, as inverted wingers more forward in the attacks. Coming in and going straight for goal, direct and purposeful, stop wasting time on passing!! our wingers should be Walker and Rose, only when a box is stacked do you want to be crossing. 9/10 a cross is blocked and is as boring as hell, should be a last resort. Our back line protected by Sandro and Capoue is a brick wall as has been shown so far. The front 3 attack is fine, just need a bridge man or Paulinho more freedom to roam. would love::::


    Walker Vertongen Chiriches???

    Capoue Sandro


    Townsend Lamela Chadli


    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 28th August 2013 at 10:32 am #

      Interesting formation, 3 at the back for you?

  4. lunarsea241 27th August 2013 at 7:17 pm #

    Haha, glad that you had the answer to my question lined up already! Very interested to see which you think would be more effective to use against Arsenal if you cover this in your preview.

    Also worth noting that if the Lamela transfer does go through, one of these players may be on the way out unless they are content to function on the left or in a Cup/super-sub role. Lamela would surely be first choice out of the three, and whilst Lennon has shown to be capable on the left, Chadli & even Siggy seem much more effective.

    Lennon is a good player & has matured a lot under AVB by developing his defensive game. But his end product unfortunately has not grown as many had hoped it would, and with his lack of prowess in both shooting & crossing, I wouldn’t be surprised if he is the one to go. Townsend is showing too much promise to be shifted out so soon in my opinion.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 28th August 2013 at 10:30 am #

      I think we’ll see Capoue, Dembele and Paulinho in midfield with Andros on the right. A key to beating Arsenal is to overpower their triangle of Ramsey, Wilshere and Cazorla – especially without Arteta – more on that in the NLD preview later this week.

      I’m not counting on Lamela just yet. As with Willian and David Villa, it’s certainly not a done deal yet. Even if we did sign him, i see Townsend and Lennon providing cover for Chadli and Lamela (or Bale), as the wide positions are key this season and we need backup.

  5. Jpl 27th August 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    Good article but as of the next few days it’ll be neither as Erik Lamela will be operating on the right wing. As lamela scored 15 goals in one of the most, if not the most, defensive league in the world I personally cannot wait to see what he does for us. Although the serie a isn’t up to the standards of the bpl and he’s no Gareth Bale, he’s very good on the ball and can score. So he’s bound to start and Townsend will likely replace him in the cups. COYS

    • Spurs-Italy 27th August 2013 at 8:54 pm #

      I don´t see Levy splash 30m for Lamela. Lamela is not worth it . I have watched him a lot and can tell you he is no Bale. Not even close. Townsend is even better !.

    • Spurs Fanatic - Mark 28th August 2013 at 10:33 am #

      Thanks, i prefer to work with what we’ve got until we actually sign a player, remember Willian and David Villa…

  6. Ash 27th August 2013 at 8:36 pm #

    Townsend is left footed, I’d play him on the left instead of chadli and have Lennon on the right

  7. outline 28th August 2013 at 2:33 am #

    Anyone who watched Roma knows that Lamela is a pipe. Completely invisible in half the games he plays. There is a reason he was only called up for 3! games for Argentina. If he worth 35 Bale should worth 200.