How would your favourite team face in the Premier League is every single one of their starters were injured? They would surely do worse than the starters, but by how much? It may sound silly, but this could certainly be a good way of assessing whether the back-up players that a team has can adequately replace their starters. So, what about Tottenham Hotspur?
Goalkeeper: Brad Friedel
This one is quite easy. Hugo Lloris is certainly the first choice keeper, and Friedel can serve well as a back-up. If the Frenchman is kept from playing for too long, than the loss may be noticed, but the veteran goalkeeper has more than enough quality to serve as a second choice. At the wrong end of 40, he may just have one season left in him.
Right Back: Kyle Naughton
Throughout the 2012/13 season, one may argue that Kyle Naughton should have accompanied Tottenham’s second Kyle at fullback. Benoit Assou-Ekotto was in horrible form and Jan Vertonghen played much better centrally, so there was certainly a claim that Naughton should have been on the team sheet more often. Whether he should or should not have, nobody can say that he didn’t do an adequate job, and in his preferred position of right back he should be a sufficient replacement for Kyle Walker.
Left Back: Benoit Assou-Ekotto
As mentioned before, Benoit Assou-Ekotto did not have the best of seasons last year. This may be attributed to coming back from an injury, but his job at left back just was not acceptable. Next season may see his form go up, but it is risky to leave him as the only replacement to Danny Rose.
Centre Back: Younes Kaboul
I have assumed that Michael Dawson will have the second place behind Jan Vertonghen at centre back next season, but for all intents and purposes, they are interchangeable. Kaboul would not be much of a downgrade to the Tottenham captain, and could certainly challenge him for that starting spot. No problem here.
Centre Back: Jake Livermore
Here, we come to our major problem. Jake Livermore is a huge step-down to Belgian international Jan Vertonghen. Even in his preferred position of central midfielder, the Englishman is not good enough for the Tottenham squad. If Andre Villas-Boas does not buy another centre back, he may rue the day he sold Steven Caulker to Cardiff.
Central Midfielder: Lewis Holtby
Playing in a 4-3-3, the first occupant in this central midfield trio is Lewis Holtby who could directly replace Mousa Dembele. Is he a step down from the Belgian? Probably. Does that matter too much? Not really. Holtby is a great player and Tottenham are lucky to have him, and he could certainly replace Dembele in the Tottenham line-up without too many problems. If there are problems with the German, Tom Carroll could replace the creativity that Dembele provides as well.
Central Midfielder: Scott Parker
Next, playing in our three in central midfielder roles is Scott Parker, who should replace Sandro. He played very well in the 2011/12 season, but not so well in the most recent one. He certainly has the quality, and if AVB decides to let him only work on his defensive duties, Parker should show some of the quality that made him one of Harry Redknapp’s most successful transfers.
Central Midfield: Tom Huddlestone
With many reports suggesting Tom Huddlestone may leave the Lily Whites, there may be reason to believe that this is a position to be looked at. Even if he stays, he would be a major step down to Paulinho. This shouldn’t be too much of a worry though, as there are many other central midfielders in the squad that could take this role if Huddlestone fails.
Left Winger: Gylfi Sigurdsson
I have decided to give newcomer Nacer Chadli the starting spot in the line-up, as he could provide lots of goals for his new side, and it was unlikely that AVB would shell out £6 million for someone who could not even fight for their spot in the first team. If he is injured, Icelandic international Sigurdsson could certainly take the reigns at left winger, especially considering Clint Dempsey has left the club. If AVB misses the pace or wants an actual winger playing (as Sigurdsson is a more central player by nature), then he can always opt for Andros Townsend.
Right Winger: Aaron Lennon
If Aaron Lennon was good enough to start almost the entire season at right winger last year than he should be good enough to play at that position next season. Emphasis on should. The question is – who will he be replacing? According to AVB who denied that any rumors are true, he could be replacing the Welsh wizard Gareth Bale. Bale’s shoes are huge ones to fill and it is very unlikely that Lennon could reproduce what Bale brings to the team. Although, try and find a back-up player who can.
Striker: Jermain Defoe
It was difficult to choose between Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor over who would be the second choice striker, and it was not because they are both very good. On the one hand Defoe is a player lacking in “top 4” quality or fitness of any kind, hobbling off of the pitch after 8 minutes against Monaco. But on the other hand, while Adebayor is talented he rarely shows that talent, which is simply unacceptable for a team like Tottenham. After new man Roberto Soldado, Tottenham’s striker options are looking bleak.
With three notable transfers to the club, AVB has almost finished with his transfer window duties. Another centre back is needed for the squad, but some of the £9 million gained from the transfer of Steven Caulker could help with that. Another striker is also a necessity, as neither Defoe nor Adebayor look up to the task of leading the line. Other than that, a left back and a younger goalkeeper could certainly spruce up the team a little, but there is not much pressure to get those players if the price is not right. It seems AVB is conducting his business well.
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