This long gap in matches isn't so fan friendly. Sure, it helps the players and Tottenham Hotspur have an injury or 12 that could use healing, but where's the fun in time off? Worse off, this gap in matches is no fun to write about. I mean really, should I write about the imaginary match between Spurs and Manchester City in which Wilson Palacios takes a big ol' roundhouse kick at Nigel de Jong and only sees yellow, Luka Modric hypnotizes us all with his brilliance, Aaron Lennon scores the winner and Carlos Tevez announces that he will quit City by choking Roberto Mancini with his scarf? Of course not.
Instead, this gap in matches has caused me to take to rather morbid thoughts. What would Tottenham do without their brilliant wingers Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon? Imagine for a moment that the pair got run over by a bus tomorrow. Now stop from joining me by running in front of the same bus and consider what Spurs would have to do without their dynamic duo. The transfer window has passed so Daniel Levy can't go buy another winger or bid £40 million on any La Liga striker. To make things fair we'll make the ridiculous assumption that Harry Redknapp has a healthy team so what do Spurs do without width?
Let's begin this exercise with the easiest way of looking at this. Spurs prefer a 4-4-1-1 formation right now with two wingers flying forward, two central midfielders playing deeper and Rafael van der Vaart playing below a striker who can't score. Without Bale and Lennon Tottenham could maintain this formation though. With Tom Huddlestone and Modric in the center the passing from the center would be just fine and the link up play would be superb. With Niko Kranjcar's recent emergence he's a more than adequate option on one wing and adding Steven Pienaar gives 'Arry another wing option to put on the other side. Are Kranjcar and Pienaar as good as Bale and Lennon? No, but they're better than a lot of teams have on the wings so it would work.
There is another more creative option though and it revolves around one question. Why play with wingers? When you have Bale and Lennon you play with wingers. It would be idiotic not to and as the last two seasons have proven, it is very, very effective, but without the pair why play with wingers? Let's completely change the formation and play with a diamond midfield and two strikers. Sure, adding another striker to not score probably isn't the brightest of ideas, but who knows, one of them might get lucky. Behind those strikers though Spurs could play with a very narrow diamond midfield.
Lying deepest in the midfield would be Huddlestone. The hulking giant of a midfielder would be responsible for tackling and making the initial pass out of the back, something he can do just fine. In front of him is Modric on the left and Pienaar on the right. Modric on the left isn't anything new since he's played wide left plenty of times and as has been said before, this formation is asking him to play a narrow left side of the diamond so that works fine. Pienaar plays both inside and outside in the midfield so sliding him in doesn't present a problem either. Toss van der Vaart at the top of diamond and you have your midfield.
Attacking teams through the center of the park would be a cinch. You try to find a midfield that can deal with the skill and darting runs of Modric and Pienaar. The creativity of the three would make the attack dangerous in the attacking third and give the team a chance to break down the back line with only the slightest threat from a striker. That slightest threat might not come, but hey, you've got to count on something and we're not asking much of them.
With Huddlestone deep and Modric and Pienaar narrower, all three are in a better position to cover defensively than they otherwise would be so both fullbacks would have free reign to bomb forward and create with in the attack. In addition, it's unlikely that Spurs lose the battle in the center of the pitch with the narrow diamond and skill they have there.
Teams can lose the wings and win the match, but it's rare that they can lose the center and win the match. Is this ideal? In no way shape or form, but we're considering a world without Bale or Lennon so ideal went out the window a while ago.