Tottenham’s next two EPL games (Man U at home, Chelsea away) will go along way in determining whether Spurs are for real this year. Spurs came into this year with everyone raving about how deep their bench is. And it certainly is when everyone is healthy – but that certainly is not the case now. In two weeks they will face arguably the top two title contenders in back to back games with a thinning squad.
The biggest is loss is Luka Modric, who will be out 6 weeks with a broken leg. Modric is irreplaceable as a creative force, but I think Spurs have enough on their bench to get by without adding another player. There are a number of options. Option 1. Keane out left, Crouch and Defoe up top, Lennon on the right. Keane can fill in their for Modric, they are similar, it is not much of a loss defensively, but Keane isn’t as good a distributer. Option 2: Lennon on the left and Bentley on the right – Spurs did pay more than 15 million pounds for him. Option 3: Dos Santos on the left as a straight swap. My vote: would be to give Dos Santos a go. All Americans know the guy is a terror. He is left footed, got pace, is good with the ball, and plays with energy. However, throwing him in their against Man United might be a bit much to ask. He could come on as a second half sub to replace Bentley or Keane. (Option 4 is of course to buy another winger/creative player with Niko Kranjcar being most likely. Krancjar would be a good signing, especially since it might be a bargain, and he can play centrally, but where would he fit in when Luka returns? That would seem to doom Bentley and Gio’s chances of playing time).
Perhaps a bigger problem for Spurs is their backline, which is increasingly depleted. Sebastian Bassong looks like a solid purchase from Newcastle – but he was always the fourth choice CB behind Woodgate, Dawson, and King all of whom are injured. King had to be substituted at halftime against Birmingham with a groin injury (not the usual knee problem) and Spurs looked vulnerable at the book with Corluka filling in. They will need King (or Woodgate) against Man U and Chelsea. While there are loads of options at RB, with Bale’s injury there is no cover Assou-Ekotto.
Another area of concern is the central midfield. While The loan of Jamie O’hara makes sense, as the kid needs playing time. The Spurs have no experienced central midfielders in reserve. Jenas is hurt, and while Modric could have played centrally for Huddlestone, and Huddlestone could have filled in for Palacios as d-mid, with Jenas and Modric hurt, O’Hara and Boateng gone – there is no experienced central midfielder in reserve. This is why the priority for Spurs has to be another central midfielder with Muntari at Inter a fantastic option.
To me Spurs need another experienced holding midfielder that can provide cover for Palacios or take Huddlestone’s place. While Spurs had trouble attracting top tier talent during the summer, as top class players believed champions league football was a mirage at Tottenham, with this start one would think Spurs have a shot at luring a Muntari if they are willing to spend.