Tottenham Hotspur: One man team?
Tottenham Hotspur cannot afford to rely on Welsh international winger Gareth Bale
These days, there are more superstars in the game than ever before.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Radamel Falcao, Andrea Pirlo, the list goes on. This is great for modern teams, what’s not great is essentially relying on these players to bring success to a club.
All great teams have these 'MVP' players, Madrid have their main man in Ronaldo, Barca have Messi, United have RVP and of course Tottenham have Bale.
Having quality like this is great for any team and adding it to an already great squad can't do anything but make them even better. Look at how Bayern have progressed since the inclusion of Robben and Ribery, but what makes them even better is having the rest of the team strong so that they do not over-rely on them.
This season especially, Gareth Bale has shown his ability, quality and potential, already being bundled in the same sort of players like Ronaldo and Messi, and rightly so. He seems to be the single reason Tottenham are pushing their way up the table which for the fans is great news in the short term, in the long run it's not so great.
Tottenham’s recent run of form has been nothing short of fantastic. Usually pundits would be singing the praises of an industrial midfield and clinical finishing, however this isn’t the case. Bale is the sole reason. There is no denying that the squad as a whole has quality - Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen, Scott Parker and Moussa Dembele among others - but overall the team hasn't clicked this season.
As an outsider, it seems as if the squad is made up of a load of players cut from different cloths. To enhance any teams chemistry, having players with the same type of style and ethos is the easiest and quickest way to improve team cohesion, and now it seems Bale has a partner in Lewis Holtby.
Bale was being forced to do a lot of running during this season, trying to support the front man, be it Emmanuel Adebayor or Jermain Defoe. Now it seems he has someone who plays to his strengths in Holtby - he has shown a lot of quality in playing off a frontman as an advanced playmaker - but still Bale is being forced to make the runs that an out-and-out winger would make.
His playing style this term reminds me a lot of Ronaldo’s magical season at Manchester United, in which he scored 31 goals in the 2007/08 season, which shows a dependence on one individual.
Relying on one man to carry your season is incredibly risky business. United relied on Ronaldo and luckily for them he didn't miss many games, Tottenham cannot afford to take the same risk with Bale.
United had, in my opinion, a much stronger squad in that season than Tottenham do this term, and even if they were to lose a key player like Wayne Rooney, they have the quality in reserve, a luxury Tottenham do not have.
Chelsea relied on Didier Drogba for the big occasions and Atletico Madrid rely on Falcao. Yet both of these teams have enough quality in the rest of the squad to take the goal scoring responsibility. Tottenham don’t have someone that can come in and replace Bale if he’s injured, let alone if he moves away this summer.
Spurs have gambled so far this season and at the moment it appears to be paying off. If Bale can continue his good run of form through to the end of the season then I have no doubt he will win Player of the Year.
But this season should act as a warning to Andre Villas-Boas' side - if he leaves the club this summer then they will struggle to replace the Welsh wing wizard.
Gylfi Sigurdsson couldn't do it, Clint Dempsey certainly couldn’t do it and if Bale does go in the summer, Spurs will face the unenviable task of replacing one of the world's best players on current form.
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