Alnwick, Dervite, Gudjohnsen, Livermore, Palacios, Parret, Townsend. The Spurs bench at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday tells its own story about the injury crisis that is currently afflicting the club. That crisis was made worse when Pavlyuchenko came off towards the end of the first half. Happily, however, his injury presented an opportunity for Eidur Gudjohnsen, which the on-loan striker took with gusto, scoring the first goal and setting up the second for Kranjcar with a clever dummy.
Those two players were probably the pick of the Spurs team, with Gudjohnsen perhaps shading it as man of the match. His strength in holding off the challenge of Faye to score the opener was particularly impressive, and the injuries to Defoe and Pavlyuchenko have suddenly made his acquisition look a very astute piece of business by Harry Redknapp, who was fulsome in his praise after the match:
"I want to keep him here next year. He’s a real top player and he’s got fantastic ability. With Jermain Defoe out injured he has got a big part to play. The chairman did the deal for him and I don't know the details but we are certainly interested. The rest of the lads like him and they really love playing with him."
A front two of Crouch and Gudjohnsen would presumably never be the manger's first choice, but it is an intriguing pairing none the less. Crouch also had a very good game against Stoke, putting Gudjohnsen in for his goal with a lovely ball and often neutralizing the threat of Rory Delap's long throws. Many of the Spurs fans remain unconvinced by the lanky England forward, but he produced an all-round performance against a side who had been beaten only four times at home in the league this season, with three of those defeats coming at the hands of Man. Utd., Arsenal and Chelsea.
While Redknapp can certainly be applauded for attracting Gudjohnsen to White Hart Lane, his reasons for bringing back Younes Kaboul remain a mystery. Any hopes that Kaboul would feature only as a fifth choice centre half have been dashed, as the Frenchman played once again in midfield. Redknapp was obviously using him in this role only to preserve Palacios, who sits precariously on nine yellow cards, but once again Kaboul looked out of his depth. Up against Whitehead and Whelan, the Spurs midfielders needed to be robust and combative, hardly Luka Modric's forte. Why the big, burly Kaboul was ineffective in meeting that challenge is a question only he can answer. Perhaps he was too busy throwing away possession with his silly attempts on goal. Fortunately - and it was fortunate - Whitehead's dismissal eventually created the space for Modric that his teammate had failed to provide. Kaboul's appearances in midfield will hopefully be limited once better players return to fitness.
Despite the injury list and never really controlling the game, Spurs still managed to grind out the win, scoring two excellent goals in the process. With Liverpool beaten and Villa only taking a point against Wolves, it was, all in all, a very good weekend. A win at Portsmouth should keep the league momentum going before the hellish run of fixtures in April.