Gareth Bale’s injury against in the Europa League tie against FC Basel could spark all sorts of wild claims and ideas.
Granted, Gareth Bale has pretty much carried Tottenham Hotspur at times this season, which leads to the conclusion that the club’s season could well be over as he’s unlikely to play much more in this campaign.
He went over badly on his ankle during the Europa League 2-2 draw against FC Basel, with some camera angles even making it look like he’d broken his leg.
There’s no doubt that it’s a big blow but it’s definitely one Spurs can recover from and there are still plenty of reasons to be confident that the club can finish in the top four and secure Champions League football.
The fact the shape of the midfield isn’t changed because of this injury is very important. Bale has been playing in the hole behind a number nine and yes, he has drifted out to the left but it could be worse.
It means that Andre Villas-Boas can replace him with another player who can do an effective job in behind a main striker. Of course they won’t have the same effect but it won’t stifle the club’s basic approach and shape to games.
Spurs are also fortunate that they have players who can go a long way to coping with the loss of Bale’s width. Either Lewis Holtby or Gylfi Sigurdsson are good enough to do a makeshift job down the left of the team and both are fit enough to produce consistency over 90 minutes.
In terms of who AVB uses in the hole, he has a natural replacement in the shape of Clint Dempsey. This may not come as great inspiration to Spurs fans but the American is a very good advanced midfield/hole player who can not only create chances, but get on the end of them.
They are also lucky that he has so much experience in that position because it means Spurs don’t have to worry too much about having to play numerous players out of position, just because Bale’s picked up an injury.
Spurs can also make a shift in a defensive sense, which may sound strange because Bale is an attacking player.
The team was always able to drop a bit deeper because of Bale’s pace on the counter attack meaning the side could go from defence to attack very quickly. If Spurs play a slightly higher line, it means they can maintain pressure in the opponent’s final third.
This is dangerous because the back four will themselves will be vulnerable to balls in behind but it’s a way that the shape of the team can cope, adapt and survive due to Bale’s absence.
They will miss him but fortunately, Spurs are in the final chunk of the season and if the injury turns out to be nothing more than a severe sprain, they may even have Bale back in time to cement Champions League football.
How much do you think they’ll miss Bale?
image: © Jan S0L0