Defoe injury shows Tottenham Hotspur's season hangs in the balance

Tottenham Hotspur were left without a senior striker at the weekend, and Defoe's injury shows how fragile their hopes of success are in the second half of the season.

There's no doubt that Spurs have a lot of quality players in their squad, and with the addition of Lewis Holtby now confirmed, they now have some depth in their attacking midfield. However there are other areas of the pitch that are perhaps even more crucial in which Spurs are short of options, and this was clearly in evidence at the weekend.

Jermain Defoe missed the Leeds match entirely, and Mousa Dembele, who has been carrying a slight hip injury, was left out of the starting eleven in an attempt to protect the Belgian. Without an out and out striker on the pitch, and lacking the driving creativity Dembele provides, Spurs looked poor, and exited the FA cup as a result.

Spurs have an excellent first team, but not having any depth is simply a recipe for disaster when competing for a top four place. If Defoe picks up a significant injury, then the attack could be blunted for weeks. If Dembele is forced out again with his hip problem, Spurs will struggle as they did when he was injured in the first half of the season.

The striker situation must be the focus of the last few days of the window, as whatever Andre Villas-Boas says in public, in private the Spurs manager must realise that if his side has to rely on Clint Dempsey to lead the line for long periods, they will find goals hard to come by.

The move to bring Holtby in was a good piece of business, and showed that Spurs have prioritised the needs of the side over financial matters, as they could have waited until the summer and picked up the German on a free.

However a more substantial commitment is still needed before Thursday night, as even with Holtby in the ranks, leaving the squad as it is is a huge gamble on the fitness of certain key players, and it is a gamble that Spurs cannot afford to lose.

images: © p_a_h, © OliverN5

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