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Surviving Without Welsh Jesus

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When Gareth Bale went out injured versus Newcastle on the weekend, a look of fear came over my face that hasn't been there since I saw Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom at age 6. Besides being my favorite player (or second favorite, I waver between Bale and Modric on a weekly basis), he has easily been the best Spurs player on the year. With reports putting him out for at least two weeks, a question has arisen: what should Harry do without Welsh Jesus? Here's my top 5 options:

 

5. The Defensive

       FW du Jour

Modric-VdV-Lennon

Palacios-Jenas/Sandro

Choosing this line-up would have its benefits, as it would help stabilize a shaky Spurs' defense. Unfortunately, holding midfielder is arguably Tottenham's weakest position right now, and it's hard to believe that whichever players fill that area will be able to link with the three attacking midfielders.

4. The Diamond

Defoe-Crouch/Pav

---------VDV---------

Modric----Lennon

------Palacios--------

To the attacked minded, this formation seems delightful. Van der Vaart feeding off a target man, Defoe poaching, while Modric and Lennon make cutting runs. But a problem remains: unless you have a defensive midfielder like Edgar Davids who can tackle and distribute, the midfield will be overrun. If Palacios were to revert to last year's top form, this could be a devastating formation. But as he is right now, this formation should remain a pipe dream.

3. Continuity

------------FW du Jour------------------

----------------VdV------------------------

Pienaar--Palacios--Modric--Lennon

The most likely formation Harry would use, as Pienaar forms a reasonable facsimile of Bale with pace down the left hand wing.  This basic 4-4-1-1 has done Spurs well this year and it would reason that continuing in as similar fashion as possible would keep the ball rolling. Unfortunately, Pienaar isn't a true winger and won't provide the width or the crosses of Bale. A solid choice, but uninspiring

2.   The Narrow

        Defoe-Crouch/Pav

Pienaar--Palacios-Modric-VdV

Does this formation look familiar to you? It should, because it's the formation Harry switched to at halftime that helped win Spurs their first away match at Arsenal in over a decade. With two players on the wings that will attack inside, the pitch will undoubtedly narrow again for Spurs. However, with two good attacking fullbacks in Assou-Ekotto and Hutton, this could be feasible. As we saw at the Emirates, having creative players in the middle of the pitch allow Tottenham to dominate possession, turning into a Barca of the north. It may be unconventional, but it could be a dynamic formation.

1. The Croat Connection

---------------FW du Jour---------------

------------------VdV----------------------

Kranjcar--Modric--Palacios--Lennon

Niko Kranjcar is a divisive player among the Yid faithful: for some he is an exceptional talent that is waiting to be unlocked, for others he is a flawed player. But having watched him excel on the international level with Croatia from this position, I believe giving him the left midfield position will help Spurs reach their best. This formation keeps some continuity, but by introducing a goal scorer in Kranjcar to the midfield the team achieves a needed directness. An emphasis will be put on BAE to provide width down the left, but trust me this: there is no formation that provides a balance of defensive sturdiness and dynamic attack in Bale's absence than this one.