Spurs: Super Scott's Return Means Dembélé Can Push Further Forward

While Sandro is sidelined for the remainder of the campaign following knee surgery, it gives Parker and Dembele the chance to form a dynamic partnership in the middle of the park and one that will be put to the test when United come to north London.
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While Sandro is sidelined for the remainder of the campaign following knee surgery, it gives Parker and Dembele the chance to form a dynamic partnership in the middle of the park and one that will be put to the test when United come to north London.

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A little over 18 months ago, then Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp sent his team out to face Manchester City at White Hart Lane. In the middle of the park, the veteran boss fielded Niko Kranjcar and Luka Modric, with the latter still pining for a move to Chelsea.

With no designated midfielder to 'batten down the hatches', it was no surprise to see Spurs succumb to a miserable 5-1 defeat at the hands of the eventual champions. It was a bold move from Redknapp in his continued pursuit to land Scott Parker, a player that chairman Daniel Levy was apprehensive on moving for.

In the end, the Spurs supremo buckled and moved for England's most gentlemanly of footballers and the rest, as they say, is history. Parker excelled for the club in his debut campaign in north London, endearing himself to the supporters in emphatic style.

Injuries aside, and regardless of the form of Sandro, the 32-year-old is still hugely popular with the Spurs faithful, many pointing to his tenacity, passion and all action displays as the reason for the midfielder remaining a firm fan favourite.

However, his place in the side was lost following the European Championship last summer as a result of an Achilles injury and with his Brazilian teammate performing out of skin this season, it was no shock to see Parker maintain his place on the bench upon his return to fitness.

Then disaster struck at Loftus Road – Sandro hobbled off with a knee problem. It eventually came to light then the 23-year-old will miss the rest of the season after injuring his anterior cruciate ligament and lateral meniscus and needing to undergo surgery as a result.

“Have no fear, super Scott is here” quirked Spurs fans, with Parker casually dusting down his Copa Mundial's and combing his quiff to one side, leaping from his Armstrong Whitworth Scimitar and parachuting into north London to save the day.

And let's be honest; that's exactly what he's there to do. Often running himself into the ground, coupled with his age, it was fair to say the former West Ham United ace was never going to fully establish himself in the starting XI like he did last season.

But now that Sandro is sidelined, it's time for Parker to make his long awaited comeback. His leadership skills have been desperately lacking in the middle of the park, regardless of the performances of the Brazilian and Mousa Dembélé.

However, while it's great to have the tough-tackling midfielder back in action, his threat to the opposition differentiates substantially from that of Sandro. While both offer a similar output, the duo do so in contrasting ways.

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Parker, rather than driving the team on like his young teammate, opts to find the simpler pass and retain possession, picking out the marauding full-backs or returning the ball to player of whom has just picked him out.

Sandro, on the other hand, will look to move the ball forward in emphatic fashion, with his vehemence a major part of his game. With Parker older, his positional sense is that much more astute, thus seeing him drop deeper in order to conserve his energy for his defensive duties.

While Spurs will lose an effective weapon in their arsenal, the inclusion of Parker could well benefit Dembélé. With the former is likely to sit back and sweep up in front of the defence, the latter will therefore have license to break forward and support the, likely, attacking quartet of Aaron Lennon, Clint Dempsey, Gareth Bale and Jermain Defoe.

As Sandro becomes that much more familiar with the physio room over the coming months, it's an opportunity for both Parker and Dembele to form a decent understanding with one another having rarely featured alongside each other.

On top of that, seeing the Belgian push forward would see him capable of halting the influence of ex-Spur Michael Carrick, who it can be argued has been one of Manchester United's stand out performers this season.

Much of their attacking impetus is sparked by the England international, but the likelihood of Dembele operating higher up the pitch means his creativity will be stifled. With it, Shinji Kagawa can be kept on a tighter leash by Parker, with the Japan star likely to be working harder in the final third to find space and receive the ball.

While former Arsenal striker Robin van Persie is going to be a threat on the day – and you just know he's going to score and go absolutely mental when he does – halting his supply will be key to picking a positive result.

With both Parker and Dembele working in tandem, regardless of their lack of playing time together, there is no reason why they can't dominate the midfield at White Hart Lane and do the double over United following the 3-2 win at Old Trafford back in September.