Tottenham’s back four and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris have received many plaudits for their dazzling defensive organisation, but keeping midfield enforcer Sandro in the rudest of health may prove the difference between Spurs having a fruitful or futile season.
Andre Villas-Boas’ exciting young side have legitimate claims to win trophies this campaign, with the Premier League (14/1), FA Cup (10/1), Capital One Cup (5/1) and Europa League (13/2) all well within Spurs’ grasp if continuing their fine start to the campaign.
Tottenham haven’t conceded a goal with Sandro on the pitch this season (599 minutes).
Since returning to action from a serious knee injury as a substitute against Swansea in August the Brazilian ball winning machine has started five times in cup matches and two in the Premier League along with another two appearances off the bench.
Regarded as one of the big characters in the Spurs dressing room, Sandro has recently spoken of his struggles to fully recover, both mentally and physically, from the nasty cruciate ligament injury that he suffered at QPR last season.
However, nine months on from leaving the Loftus Road field nearly in tears, the “beast” is contributing hugely to Tottenham’s fantastic defensive record.
Sandro’s sublime defensive awareness allows his midfield counterparts to attack with confidence.
Before he sustained his injury in west London, Sandro was head and shoulders above any other player in the Premier League at succesfull interceptions and his tireless work-rate and impeccable reading of the game hasn’t been lost during his time away from the pitch.
He combines traditional English midfield steel with classy Brazilian technical ability and although his passing isn’t flashy, he feeds the more creative players in the Spurs midfield with productive possession.
If staying fit, Sandro could be the man to play that defensive midfielder role for Brazil at the World Cup.
The 24-year-old has not featured for the Selecao under Luiz Felipe Scolari due to his injury but he’ll be back in the squad for their next friendly.
The holding midfielder role for all top international teams has developed into a vital position and Liverpool’s Lucas Leiva and Sandro will battle it out to lead their team from midfield in Brazil’s biggest ever sporting event.