No Spurs season is complete without at least a couple of major injury crisis. The worst kind are the type which concentrate on a certain position, while leaving the rest of the squad intact. This results in at least one player floundering around as a square peg in a round hole, while a bunch of 19 year old youth players sit on the bench wondering when they’re ever going to get a game, if the manager won’t pick them even when down to the bare bones.

Such a scenario is likely to occur on Saturday in our vital FA Cup match against Fulham and it’s fairly self-inflicted. It always seemed folly to try to make it through the season with just three recognised central midfielders and now the inevitable has happened and two of them have got injured at the same time.

The only good news is that our remaining fit central midfielder is not Jenas, but Palacios. With O’Hara out on loan at Portsmouth (and cup-tied anyway), Harry will now have to shuffle his pack or give youth a chance alongside Wilson.

Against Everton we finished the match with Kaboul alongside Palacios in midfield, but with the big Frenchman cup-tied, we won’t have this option against Fulham. Neither will we be able to move Corluka from right back to the centre, as the only cover we have for him is the aforementioned cup-tied Kaboul and the equally cup-tied Kyle Walker. Meanwhile, the on-loan Alan Hutton and Kyle Naughton will be watching the game on television.

The obvious option is to play either Modric or Kranjcar with Palacios, but even this isn’t as simple as it first looks. Lennon is out for six weeks and Bentley missed the Everton game with injury, so we might well need Modders or Kranjcar to cover the right of midfield. At the risk of overusing the word ‘meanwhile’ – meanwhile, Kyle Naughton will be in action on Saturday for Middlesbrough away at Cardiff.

We could bring Rose in on the left, or even on the right if we want to say ‘to hell with it’ and play everyone out of position. If one of the Croatians is to partner Palacios, I’d prefer it to be Kranjcar. I just think that Modric is too physically weak to play there, although I suppose if he’d going to get away with it against anyone, then Fulham aren’t exactly bully boys in midfield.

Then there is Gareth Bale, who has been in brilliant form when marauding from left back. He could be pushed further forward on to the left of midfield, with Assou-Ekotto returning to the left of defence. Personally I think that Bale is at his most effective when attacking from a full back position and it will be easier to mark him if he’s pushed further forward, but it would be interesting to see him and BAE in tandem.

Finally there is the option that would leave me the most surprised, were Harry to take it up. We’ve some talented young central midfielders at the club such as John Bostock, Dean Parrett and Jake Livermore, who has returned from his loan to Peterborough. I’d expect them to be chosen as an option from the bench, rather than in the starting XI, but with Jenas and Huddlestone likely to be out for some time, one of these lads might get called upon eventually.

Whilst I could see some logic in the scrapping of our reserve team and giving our fringe players a chance on-loan, it’s at times like this that we have to question the decision. Reserve team football may not prepare a player for the Premier League in the manner of regular first team football elsewhere, but it at least stops players who are needed for cover, from growing incredibly bored and losing their match fitness.

Harry, it’s over to you.



  1. Another option would be Eidur alongside Sarge with a Croation on either wing…Crouch/Pav and Defoe up front and WIN the damn game!

  2. I agree with your assessment of Bale. He needs to attack from a deeper position. However, needs as needs must and Harry may have to play him in front of BAE. If he does, I wouldn’t expect Fulham to get much change out of us if they try to attack down that side. With that in mind, I’d prefer to see Krancjar on the right in front of Corluka to give us the option of two good attacking wide players to pin Fulham back. So now who plays beside Wilson? Possibly Gudjohnsen with Pavyluchenko as alone striker with Modric roaming free behind him. No Defoe or Crouch I hear you say. I remember when Jol played Lennon in the centre against Chelsea away in the Cup and he caused havoc. It might just work again. Radical I know but managers get paid to make such decisions. Let’s see what Harry comes up with.

    • Spot on Taylor Josey. let’s not push the panic button just yet. we do seem to do well when our back are against the wall. we will dig in and fight for your place.

  3. How about King in the centre of the park – he done it pretty well for England if I remember rightly and is a class act….

    BTW If Pompey get points deducted as is likely and have no chance of survival can we recall O’Hara, or is that deal set in stone ?

  4. I hate to be a killjoy but all these centre midfield options are lightweight. It is not about physcial strength, but about how disciplined is that player going to be. In centre midfield you need to available to receive the ball at all times – especially when the attack breaks down. I feel that Modric and Gudjohnen will go missing from the centre. Kranjcar is more of the same, but may cope better in the centre. This is where we have all underestimated Hudd. Those who question his lack of mobility will see what we are missing. We have 2 options (IMO), either play Corluka or Kaboul in holding midfield role and let Palacios go nuts. OR change the formation – have one up top (Defoe? Pav?) and have 3 in centre midfield Palacios, Kranjcar, Gudjohnsen – then Modric on the left, Someone else on the right! (I am struggling here!) Rose and Livermore will get some playing time soon, I am sure!

  5. Quite simple, Play Livermore, he should have not gone out on loan as he is probably good enough to be in the squad even with Jenas and Huddlestone fit, other than that probably Gudjohnsen.

  6. Well, Livermore had to go out on loan because we have no reserve team matches. We can always recall them when a crisis happens. Whether he is good enough – the jury is out Have you seen him much? How can you say he is good enough? Hudd has to go in and out of the side many times before we can see that he is good enough.

  7. Err. Yes Kaboul is cup tied, and King is injured. But you know how it goes, you read the headline and then go off in a general direction. Hudd, Jenas, Lennon, Bentley are all out for a while so who will we play in the long run. Harry won’t play Bale in midfield as he has said many times that he is a left-back. However, tough times call for tough measures so you never know. However, I cannot see modders playing in the middle unless there are 2 midfielders behind him.

  8. If we don’t give players like Livermore and Parrett a chance now that we are injury ravaged,when will they get it?Playing on loan with championship clubs is different,they need premiership games to mature and develop.And a coach who believes they are good enough like Sir Alex did at Man Utd.

  9. there is only one person i would trust to fill Hudds big boots Bostock can pass shoot dribble and has pace give him a chance and he will chase Spud murf all day Team for a win BASSONG KABOUL DAWSON EKOTTO KRAJCAR CORLUKA MODERIC BALE DEFOE CROUCH SUBS PAV BOSTOCK LIVERMORE ROSE ALWINICK KANE FREDERICKS

  10. Sorry lads Kabouls cup tied Palacios is one booking from missing our next game . new team GOMES EKOTTO DAWSON BASSONG BALE KRANJCAR CORLUKA MODERIC TOWNSEND PAV DEFOE OR CROUCH

  11. Iceman in the middle for Hudd. He is very technically gifted, a good distributor and has strength. Think Bale will stay at LB, but would like to see him have a go at LM one day…perhaps pre-season matches are the time to test the theory or a Carling Cup match next year. Pav/Defoe up front, a no-brainer. Interesting to see though that England played the ball to Crouch’s feet the other night. Seems most think he is only effective receiving hoof balls. Spurs are so much better with the ball on the deck and even with Crouch playing, I would like to see them maintain this style of football.

    Good to see Woodgate heading to Oz for treatment…we have real doctors down this part of the world 🙂

  12. For crying out loud, some of you guys like to complicate things dont you? Modric is an international central midfielder who we paid upwards of £15m for. Is it such a stretch to suggest he should therefore be expected to play in central midfield every now then? If he cant manage this then sell him – you dont pay that kind of money simply for an auxilliary attacker who provides no more than 4 or 5 goals a season. The idea of playing a kid like Bostock in the middle ahead of Modric is laughable. This is an FA Cup Qtr final we are talking about!

  13. “Good to see Woodgate heading to Oz for treatment…we have real doctors down this part of the world”

    Yes, stands to reason that the cream of the world’s sporting injuries profession would choose to base themselves 10,000 miles away from where the most expüensive players are based. Are these the same docs that set messers Kewell and Viduca on the road to a healthy injury free life 😉

  14. King Paul, all you need to do is look at the facts. When Modric has played in the centre with one other central midfielder, we have struggled. What is so complicated about that? He has been man of the match many times from the left midfield. The problem is that he is a free spirit and goes out of position. When he does that, we must cover for him. It is easier to cover him when he drifts inside from left midfield. Simples. If you want to utilise him centrally, put him just behind a single striker. Coys

  15. what about the option of the diamond shape with gudd behind pav and dofoe or crouch palacios infront of the the back 4 and the 2 croats on the wings….its an option

  16. Whatever happens Modders can’t play central- he is too light weight 4 this. Either Krancjar or Gud or give Livermore a chance. Also chance 2 try Bale & BAE on left with Bale LM. Team: gomes, charlie, bass, daws, BAE, Mods, Pals, Kranc, Bale , Pav & Cro( assuming Def is out!).


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