After being thumped 4-1 by Inter on Thursday night, much was made of the fact that Tottenham Hotspur had struggled without their talisman Gareth Bale, who has been a force of nature since the start of the year.
As Bale has moved more and more central this season, Aaron Lennon has become the main wide outlet for Spurs going forward. Lennon is vital in stretching the play and ensuring the opposition defence cannot focus all their efforts on the other Spurs attackers, all of whom prefer to drift infield.
Lennon’s defensive contribution is also hugely underrated. The England winger is tireless in tracking back, and a clam head in standing players up and not jumping into tackles. This is something that Kyle Walker has benefitted from greatly in the past couple of seasons, and it is noticeable how poor Walker looked against Inter and Liverpool, before being dropped against Fulham.
Lennon also comes deep and central to collect the ball from Parker and Dembele, an outlet that is particularly important for Parker, whose range of passing is generally not good enough to pick out the forwards if he has to play it long.
Spurs’ right winger often lives in Gareth Bale’s shadow, but he has played a different role for the team than the Welshman this season, far more involved in creating chances and helping out defensively. Lennon has been one of the top chance creators in the Premier League all season, and Spurs are badly missing him in a number of ways.
The momentum and fixture list is now set dead against them in the race for Champions League football, and they will be desperate for Lennon to return after the international break to try and stop the rot as soon as possible.
image: © TottenhamFan