How Tottenham Hotspur's latest defeat showed the importance of absent duo

Tottenham Hotspur's defeat against Crystal Palace came with two key first team stars unavailable.

Tottenham Hotspur fans would have been left extremely frustrated after their side’s defeat away at Crystal Palace last Saturday.

Those Spurs fans who went to the game would have gone with the hope, and expectation, that the side could produce one of their better performances this season, put another three points on the board and close the gap further on the top four.

However, what they actually saw was different, as Tottenham struggled to cope with a side full of players going all out to try and impress Alan Pardew, who has only just linked up with Palace as manager.

Two players who didn’t start the game for unavoidable reasons were Ryan Mason (injured with a hamstring problem) and Nabil Bentaleb (African Cup of Nations).

The performance from Spurs showed how important those two younger players have come to the first team under Mauricio Pochettino this season.

What Tottenham lacked over the weekend, and what the duo can provide, is pace, energy and enthusiasm in midfield, which not only allows Spurs to win back possession more quickly, but move the ball forward equally as swiftly.

The pair also have the benefit of being able to draw on their experience as youngsters who have come up through the ranks at Tottenham.

Mason has done the loan moves while Bentaleb was thrust into the spotlight at the back end of last season by previous manager Tim Sherwood.

Unfortunately for the club and for Pochettino, Mason and Bentaleb won’t be able to play together again any time soon.

That places pressure on a player like Mousa Dembele, who seemed to be more determined with winning physical battles against Palace than getting on the ball and trying to find passes in behind Palace’s back four.

Tottenham are at their very best when they move the ball around quickly and have players who pop up in a variety of positions, making them difficult to contain and the side in general, difficult to deal with.

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