Trouble at the Back

By on September 8, 2010
Football - West Bromwich Albion Reserves v Tottenham Hotspur Reserves Barclays Premier Reserve League South - The Hawthorns - 23/3/09..Tottenham

Written by DTBloggs

One of the great things about football is how one event can change a clubs whole season. The bad injury Michael Dawson suffered against Bulgaria whilst on England duty, could prove to be one of those for Tottenham.

Dawson is the one player ‘Spurs could not afford to lose at this time, and his unavailability causes a major defensive headache for Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp. Dawson is, or was, Tottenham’s most consistent and reliable centre back. Ledly King and William Gallas, whilst players of undoubted ability, remain doubts due to persistent injury and lack of match fitness respectively, while Jonathan Woodgate remains completely unavailable.

Sébastien Bassong although a promising player, has limited experience, whilst Younes Kaboul and Vedran Ćorluka are not of the calibre at centre back that Tottenham need. Last season for Tottenham, the choice of centre backs was often Dawson plus one other. However with his injury, there is the potential for continued and disruptive change at the heart of the ‘Spurs defence, something that could de-rail a season still in its infancy.

Dawson will likely be unavailable for Tottenham’s U.E.F.A. Champions League away matches against Werder Bremen and Internazionale, and Premier League matches against West Ham, Aston Villa and Manchester United. All games where a solid, reliable defence is a must.

An unenviable dilemma faces Redknapp after the international break then. Does he pick a partnership for the next two months and stick with it, or does he mix and match for each game. Until Gallas is fit, likely to be a choice between a partnership of lesser players, or picking the two best available centre backs each game.

This is a situation that Tottenham can ill afford to allow to happen again in the future. Despite having a number of players who can play at centre-back, the defenders Tottenham have, due to injury proneness, do not allow the development of a strong partnership between the two best players. This centre back merry-go-round has not been dealt with for almost four seasons. Perhaps not as bad as the days under Martin Jol, with Huddlestone or Teemu Tainio having to fill in at the back on occasion, but still a ridiculous situation that still remains.

The ‘Spurs management need to make tough decisions in January and at the end of the season. They need to make sure ‘Spurs have four or five quality centre-backs who will all be available to play every game, every week. Goals may win games, but defences win trophies. If this defensive situation remains, winning them will be difficult for Tottenham for the foreseeable future.

Harry Redknapp needs to show the ruthlessness to call time on Woodgate and treat King like an older player who should not expect to be first choice. A fit, hungry Gallas and a recovered Dawson would make a strong defensive partnership. With Bassong, King and perhaps a new acquisition as back-up, ‘Spurs will have the security and depth of quality at the back they need to progress as a club.

Do Tottenham still need a new centre-back? Who should they look to sign in January? Can ‘Spurs cope without Dawson? Comment and discussion is always encouraged on Football-Talk, so please join in!

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