Tottenham have had a problem this season which is strange to understand. The recurring theme in most games has been that they have only been capable of performing well for one forty five minute period. The one exception to that being the home Europa League match against Lazio where they played for the full ninety minutes. Against West Bromwich Albion at the start of the season they played well for almost an hour but then Albion could have won the game in the final minutes. Against Manchester United they started the match with pace and direction but after half-time it was all hands to the pump in a rearguard action as United threw everything at them. At to Queen’s Park Rangers, Spurs were poor for the first half but recovered after half-time to pull back a goal deficit and win the match.
In Tottenham’s previous two matches, the defeat by Chelsea and the uninspiring draw in Maribor, it was clearly evident that the team missed Gareth Bale and Mousa Dembele. Bale returned from paternity leave on Sunday and scored against his former club Southampton but once again Spurs were a different team in each half. In the first forty five minutes they were positive, controlled the game, scoring twice and creating enough chances to put the game out of sight. After the interval, however, they lost their impetus and were desperately holding on for the win through most of that half. It was satisfying to take the three points at St. Mary’s Stadium but why was there such a dramatic change in performance between the first half and second?
The imbalance in performance can’t be linked to Europa League matches as this has occurred throughout the season and not just after European or Cup ties s there must be some other explanation.
The Tottenham team has been missing a number of experienced players during the past three months with Dembele, the most recent addition to the list.
- Benoit Assou-Ekotto has been absent with injury since the beginning of September but should return soon.
- Mousa Dembele has been injured since the last international break when he had a recurrence of an injury problem while playing for Belgium. There is no indication of when he will be available. He settled in quickly to the Spurs team and was forming a strong partnership with Sandro in central midfield where he was having considerable influence of the team’s play.
- Younes Kaboul has missed all but the opening match at Newcastle. He was Tottenham’s best defender last year and with the retirement of Ledley King, would have been expected to play a big part in Tottenham’s season in central defence.
- Scott Parker was a major influence on the Spurs team last season but has been injured since the start of the season, having played for England in last summer’s European championships.
Which of the injured players – Assou-Ekotto, Dembele, Kaboul or Parker – have Spurs missed most this season?
Have your say – Vote on HotspurHQ Poll: www.hotspurhq.com