Forget Bale, Missing Lennon's Pace, Width & Drive Will Hamper A CL Place

The winger limped off early on during the draw with Basel and if Spurs are to secure a top four finish, they best hope Lennon isn't sidelined for long.
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The winger limped off early on during the draw with Basel and if Spurs are to secure a top four finish, they best hope Lennon isn't sidelined for long.

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Many a time over the past few months, Tottenham Hotspur have been dubbed a one man team due to the exploits of Gareth Bale. The Welshman has come on leaps and bounds since Andre Villas-Boas took over the reins from Harry Redknapp in the summer and it's no surprise to see him spoken of in the same breath as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

The 23-year-old can swing the game in the favour of Spurs in the blink of an eye, his goal against Swansea City last weekend a prime example. However, as good as the Wales international has been, the likelihood of him moving into a more central position increases significantly with each passing week.

As such, Spurs lack the width to really attack teams on the wing, a facet more predominant during the period in which Aaron Lennon was injured. The pint sized winger was badly missed in the “panic period”, during which the club succumbed to defeats to Liverpool, Inter Milan and Fulham, albeit securing a place in the quarter finals of the Europa League.

It was at the same stage on Thursday night that Lennon made his first start in Europe since the 1-1 draw with Lyon following his return to fitness. Providing the necessary cover on the right flank, not to mention his defensive duties to aid in the disappointing Kyle Walker this season, it was no surprise to see his impact desperately missed during the poor run of form prior to the international break.

Back in the European first team, but only for 24 minutes during the 2-2 draw with FC Basel, again limping off early on with another injury. Replaced by Gylfi Sigurdsson, it saw Spurs operate with two unnatural wideman on the wings, a facet that was ultimately capitalised upon by the Swiss side, who raced into a 2-0 lead shortly after his withdrawal.

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Granted, Sigurdsson netted the crucial equaliser that gives Spurs hope of progressing to the last four of the competition, but it only glossed over what can only be described as a very, very poor performance from the hosts.

It further highlighted the importance of Lennon once again as Villas-Boas' side hobbled to a 2-2 draw against a Basel side that showed incredible tactical discipline, much similar to that of the team that knocked Manchester United out of the Champions League back in 2011.

Many a supporter often overlooks the input of Lennon when he's in the side and his time on the sidelines saw fans question whether Bale was the most important member of the team, rather than the 25-year-old.

Unfortunately for Spurs, both now look set for a spell in the physio room following the stalemate at White Hart Lane, with Bale stretchered off in the dying embers of the encounter. Early reports suggest he'll miss two games and make a return to action at the same time as Jermain Defoe, but it wouldn't be a shock to see him ruled out for longer.

Nevertheless, it is Lennon that some are hoping will make a swift return to action in time for the weekend encounter with Everton. Without both, it will leave Spurs lacking the necessary width against a resurgent Toffees side and the extra space will only benefit the marauding Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman.

It's been proven time and time again that Lennon is one of the more pivotal members of the first team and injury only serves to prove those who reinforce this correct. If Spurs do harbour any hopes of securing a top four place, made that much more difficult by the ever growing injury list, then it's of vital importance that the winger returns to action quicker than his Wales counterpart, with the former Leeds ace the player that, it can be argued, makes Spurs a one man team.