Gareth Bale out - but who in for Tottenham?
After Gareth Bale's injury, who will replace the Tottenham star?
It's fair to say Gareth Bale has been Tottenham’s star man this season.
The flying Welsh wizard has improved his game, moving from the left wing to the centre and providing plenty of goals and assists, including 22 goals for Spurs this season. His injury deprives Andre Villas-Boas of his main and sometimes only attacking threat. Who can the manager turn to with Bale out injured.
On Bale's injury, Villas-Boas told reporters: "Gareth has rolled over his ankle and we still need to get assessment that we can only have on Friday.
"But it shouldn't be as bad as it looks in the images. He has torn that ligament before and there's nothing to tear now. There is lots of swelling and the pain is obviously very, very big but we hope to assess him tomorrow.
"There is a big possibility he is going to be able to make it for the Man City game and he will only miss the next two games, but assurances we can only give you tomorrow when we have seen the scan. I do not want to mislead you.
"Tomorrow we will know better but I'm pretty confident that Gareth will definitely play again this season. From the medical department's first analysis, everything is positive."
While that will raise the hopes of Spurs fans, it must be noted the same was about the Brazilian Sandro, who was ultimately ruled out for the season.
The ex-Southampton academy prodigy is noted for his direct running, tremendous turn of pace, and explosive left foot. Stunning winners against West Ham and Swansea recently are prime examples of the Tottenham number 11’s skill, and in 2013 he has almost carried the Lilywhites single-handedly into the Europa League quarter finals and third place in the Premier League. There are few players of his quality in the world, never mind the Spurs team, and his replacement will not just bring a different style to the side, but will also lead Tottenham to change how they play.
With Bale operating in and around the main striker, one solution would be to select another striker alongside the inconsistent Emmanuel Adebayor. However, Jermain Defoe is out of form and injured.
Clint Dempsey could get the nod but while he has popped up with some important goals, notably against Manchester United, the United States international is not adept at linking midfield and attack. He tries hard but lacks technical finesse.
One man who Spurs fans have been crying out to get more game time has been Lewis Holtby. The Germany U21 star shows plenty of drive and endeavour and also the technical skill and vision to play in the hole behind Adebayor. However, for all the praise his work ethic has received, White Hart Lane is yet to see the end produce from the half English/half German, who may be destined to play in a deeper role. This could be his chance to cement his place in the starting eleven.
Moussa Dembele could be pushed forward although, again, his goal return is poor for someone of his ability, while Gylfi Sigurdsson has recently found his scoring boots but looks far happier cutting in from the left than in the middle where his field of vision is found lacking.
Spurs have paid all season long for a lack of true striking options and it is largely because of Bale that the dire form of Defoe and Adebayor (3 goals between them since the turn of the year) has not cost Tottenham more. With Andros Townsend on loan at QPR and not eligible for a recall, Spurs have no natural wide cover either, and AVB will need to consider not just the lack of Bale’s dynamism but also how his absence affects the team’s shape and style as a whole.
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