A familiar story for Tottenham. One step forward and then one step back, like a particularly repetitive game of snakes and ladders. We wait for two months for the return of Jermain Defoe, only for the news that Huddlestone will be out for an age.
Over the last couple of seasons, Huddlestone has gone from being a luxury player to one of our most important. We miss him now when he’s not pulling the strings in midfield. In the seven games that Huddlestone has not started for us this season, we have a record of four losses, two draws and just one win.
There are three candidates to replace him. Jenas played well last Saturday, but has a long history of inconsistency and his partnership with Modric isn’t the most defensively minded. Then there’s Palacios who can no longer hit a five-yard pass successfully and Sandro, who is still adapting to the Premier League.
It’s a chance for someone to prove themselves and let’s hope that at least one of them grabs it. If they can, then the return of Defoe to Tottenham’s attack, will be built upon some solid foundations.
I’m not expecting Defoe to start against Arsenal, but his likely position on the bench means that we’ve always got a lively option if we’re chasing the game (which we probably will be at some stage). We don’t really have any idea if he can perform on his own up front in a 4-5-1 and the Emirates probably isn’t the place to find out, but when we get back on home turf, then we know exactly what he can do in a 4-4-2.
At the moment it seems impossible for us to keep a clean sheet and when that’s the case, all you can do is to outscore the opposition. Defoe’s return will make that possibility much more attainable. Harry said the other day that had Defoe played for all of this season, he would be guaranteed to have six or seven goals. That would equate to a fair few more league points which would have seen us now in the top four.
So whilst we’ll miss a player of Huddlestone’s quality, I still think that we’ll be a stronger team as a whole for Defoe’s return. Our injuries this season seem to all have befallen upon our most important players and we’ve coped better than most would under such pressure.