Over the course of the Newcastle match, I think the best possible Tottenham formation emerged and I think it's a team that could finish second.
I believe Emmanuel Adabeyor returning to the squad as a lone-striker is going to finally give this side the balance it has been missing for much of the season. He didn't play a lot of minutes against Newcastle, but to me it showed glimpses of what Tottenham might be capable of. I whole-heartedly agreed with last week's post by Lennon's Eyebrow, suggesting that the injury to Defoe would be a blessing because it would finally give Adebeyor the chance to lead the line. The final minutes only affirmed that belief for me.
Of course, the big question is who plays in the hole. On this front, the Newcastle match swung my opinion. I love Lewis Holtby - he really does bring such a complete, well-rounded game to this side, but I think I want to see Dempsey given his chance to play behind Adabeyor.
To be honest, I've not rated Dempsey at all, based on his time with Tottenham. He wouldn't have featured in my first eleven all year, if I'd have been selecting the side. However, the latter stages of the Newcastle match perhaps showed that he could find another gear playing behind Adabbeyor.
Dempsey at inside left will give Tottenham a lot of options. To me Dempsey's strength is his play around the goal-box and I don't think anyone in the Spurs roster matches up to his abilities in this regard. With teams increasingly likely to double-mark Bale, Dempsey is likely to get a lot of space in that position, or alternatively suck more defenders onto that side of the park, which will give Lennon space to create havoc.
The fact that he's strong with his head, both as a target and also in front of goal, and the fact that he has does manage to bag his share of goals, all point to the fact that we're going to be more potent with him at ten.
Which raises the question of what to do with Holtby. I just can't leave him out of the side, which means I'm finding a place for him as a deep mid-fielder, alongside Dembele. I'm not one of those Spur's fans who believes Scott Parker has been bad, but he's not quite at the level he was last year and to me Holtby will bring much of his defensive tenacity but represent a significant upgrade in terms of his ability to create additional chances for his team mates. It's a role he has played before and he looks to me like he will handle it with aplomb. Parker then represents a substitution that can be used to shore up the midfield, either in place of a tiring Holtby or in place of Dembele.
It's an attacking squad, but I think we've got the strength at the back to handle it and I think there is a lot more goals in that eleven then we've had prior.