With the defender excelling at Cardiff and Spurs hit for six against Manchester City, should the north London club have kept the centre-half at White Hart Lane?
Tottenham’s strong early season defensive record went out the window on Sunday as Manchester City hit the north Londoners for six at the Etihad Stadium.
The truth is that Spurs have been over-reliant on Hugo Lloris and Jan Vertonghen to ensure the side stay water-tight at the back, with the pair’s sweeping ability in behind the back four saving the team on numerous occasions this term.
On Sunday, with the usually dependable pairing not at their best, the weaker members of Tottenham’s defensive unit were well and truly caught out, with Kyle Walker and Michael Dawson in particular exposed.
Walker’s forays forward are fine when Spurs are dominating the game, but his positional sense is distinctly ordinary in his own half. The England international was exposed too many times, with Samir Nasri taking advantage.
The main villain of the Spurs piece though was captain Dawson. A lack of pace has been evident all season long, with the laboring centre-half relying on others to bail him out of trouble.
However, it was his woeful positional sense, defeat in physical battles and inability to lead the side that will have been most disappointing for the travelling support.
Fast forward a couple of hours and a player deemed surplus to requirements at White Hart Lane has just put in a man-of-the-match performance against the current Premier League champions.
Steven Caulker has made the most blocks of any player in the Premier League this season, and it is his solid showings in the Welsh club’s rearguard that have been a key reason that Malky MacKay’s men have held their own this term.
Given the form that Caulker and Dawson are in respectively, did Villas-Boas make the wrong choice in allowing the former to leave?
Dawson was on the verge of leaving for QPR, while Caulker has impressed when given the chance to play consistently for both Swansea and Cardiff.
The current Spurs skipper is a visible weak point in the Spurs team, and with Manchester United to play next weekend surely has his place in the side in danger.
Caulker meanwhile is putting his hand up for inclusion in England’s World Cup squad.
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