Parker's Poor Form Could Cost Spurs A Top Four Place

Last year he was excellent, but after returning from injury; Parker has looked a shadow of his former self. He needs to shape up or see Spurs' Champions League ambition go up in smoke.
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Last year he was excellent, but after returning from injury; Parker has looked a shadow of his former self. He needs to shape up or see Spurs' Champions League ambition go up in smoke.

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It's near on impossible to discuss Tottenham Hotspur at the moment without mentioning Gareth Bale. The Welsh Wizard is, following his performance against West Ham United, the man of the hour. At this current point in time, he's comfortably the best player in the Premier League; his six goals in the calender being the highest in England's top tier, not to mention six this season coming from outside the area - level with a certain Lionel Messi - further reinforce this.

A hard earned first and a stunning second saw Spurs leapfrog Chelsea into third and further strengthened their stranglehold on a Champions League place, while forcing Andre Villas-Boas to scribble out the current price on Bale's head and raise it that bit higher.

However, while the Wales international is stealing the plaudits and rightfully so, looking into midfield and a particularly worrying trend is beginning to emerge. Cast your thoughts back to around 15 months ago - Scott Parker formed half of the 4th place attaining Spurs midfield alongside Luka Modric.

The 1940's fighter pilot had endeared himself to the fans as the player to provide the passion in the middle of the park. Harry Redknapp even compared him to Dave Mackay following the 3-1 win over QPR in October 2011 and deservedly so.

Parker worked his socks off in the middle of the park, with his immovable side parting and passion driven performances. 'Captain Combover' he was called on Twitter and rightly so; he inspired the team like a captain and his combover bore a striking equivalent to a Pablo Picasso masterpiece.

Yet, this year the tough tackling midfielder has adopted a new nickname across the social networking site - Xbox. Why, you ask? Well, it's Parker insistence and bringing the ball forward three or four yards before stopping, swivelling 360 degrees, becoming disorientated with what has occurred and picking out a white shirt with a short pass, more often than not a defender.

It's becoming increasingly frustrating for supporters, who more often than not see an attack breakdown as Parker pushes so high up the pitch that his nose begins to bleed, or so we all thought. A secondary discouraging facet that the 32-year-old has developed is his insistency to push as far forward as humanly possible.

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The added incentive to occupy a position that Lewis Holtby, Aaron Lennon or Bale would more often than not find themselves has not only confused Spurs fans, but seen Mousa Dembele's performance levels drop significantly.

Rather than provide the attacking verve that he brought to the Spurs side earlier in the season, the defensive responsibilities now thrust upon him has seen the Belgian's impact on Villas-Boas' side lessen considerably since the season ending injury to Sandro.

Many have pointed to the Brazilian's all action display as to the reason why Parker has looked to replicate his teammate. Sandro, when fully fit and firing on all cylinders, charges about the park like a beast let off his leash, such is his nickname and deservedly so.

However, his technical superiority means he understands when to push forward and when to sit back, much to the relief of the team as Dembele's similar ethic means the partnership they have developed during their short time together has seen Spurs form an almost intimidating spine in the middle of the park.

While Parker attempts to perform a similar duty, his age and unnecessary need charge about the pitch like a ravenous Jack Russell hunting out it's next leg to hump means he has nothing left in the tank to return to his regular position.

As such, the cohesion in the middle of the park is lost and further invites pressure upon the Spurs defence, fortuitously able to push higher up the pitch courtesy of the speed of Hugo Lloris of his line, again evidenced on Monday night following a superb facial save from Matthew Taylor.

Yet, it's vital that Parker learn of his positional sense once again. Under Redknapp, he knew his duties and performed them admirably, yet with Villas-Boas at the helm; he continuously pushes forward when there is no need to, especially with the midfield cluttered as much as it is.

The Spurs head coach needs to re-instil this discipline back into Parker, while the midfielder himself needs to understand that he isn't capable of recreating the threat that Sandro offers. He may show all the passion of a copy of 50 Shades of Grey, but a copy where the viagra ran out after the fifth intimate affair of the story.