It seems that Tottenham Hotspur cannot get any good news without something coming along to rain on their parade. That was again the case on the first Sunday of February. Spurs picked up a much-needed three points at West Bromwich Albion that moved them to within a point of Chelsea and also helped them pull two points further ahead of Everton, and they also ended a run of four straight across all competitions without a win. The victory is at least somewhat overshadowed, however, by an injury that most Tottenham supporters probably saw coming considering what occurred at the end of January.
West Brom 0-1 Spurs: The big news
We're about to find out if Spurs not acquiring another striker on deadline day will be their undoing. Jermain Defoe, Tottenham's lone dressed forward for Sunday's match, hit the floor ten minutes from halftime due to an ankle injury, and it was immediately clear that he was seriously hurting. He was subbed off for Lewis Holtby after trying to walk off the pain, and the hot rumor swirling around the Internet following the match is that he has suffered ligament damage (nothing has been confirmed as of the posting of this piece). Assuming that Defoe will miss some time, Spurs are left with Harry Kane as their only striker until Emmanuel Adebayor returns from African Cup of Nations duty.
West Brom 0-1 Spurs: Back to the future
This past summer, manager Andre Villas-Boas would deploy Bale up top whenever Jermaine Defoe was either unavailable or being rested. Neither Emmanuel Adebayor nor Clint Dempsey had yet been signed, and thus AVB was left with limited options. Villas-Boas could again have his hand forced in future matches if Defoe is set to miss multiple matches, especially if Ade continues to struggle at the club level.
One could assume, in such a scenario, that Holtby would replace Dempsey in Tottenham's starting XI and take over the role that was once held by Rafael Van der Vaart. This would leave Dempsey and Gylfi Sigurdsson as solid second half scoring options. I actually expected AVB to sub Sigurdsson on for Dempsey around the hour mark of Sunday's contest, as the American had slowed down a bit after having himself a solid opening 45 minutes.
West Brom 0-1 Spurs: He did it again
When Gareth Bale is in his current form, he's undeniably one of the best players in the league. The Welshman managed to outdo his equalizer against Norwich this past Wednesday with a stunning match winner that will definitely make end-of-season highlight reels. A sequence of play that involved Holtby and Moussa Dembele concluded with Bale receiving the ball outside of the center of the penalty area, and he did well to cut around a helpless James Morrison before slicing a left-footed shot that goalkeeper Ben Foster couldn't save on his best day.
It's cliché to say, yes, but somebody in this Tottenham team is going to have to consistently find the back of the net if Spurs are to hold off Everton, Arsenal and Liverpool. When playing as he has over the past half-week, Bale has the goods to put Spurs on his back for the long haul. The idea of a one-man team may not appeal to some fans, but sometimes you have to take what you can get.
The concept didn't prevent Arsenal from earning Champions League last season.