Holtby and Bale provide hope for poor Spurs

Posted by Dan Fitch

If you don't start playing until there's 25 minutes from time, then you can hardly have any complaints when you come away with a draw.

Tottenham can count themselves lucky to have taken a point from tonight's game. With Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea all drawing, the evening was far less disastrous than it could have been.

- Bale strike snatches point

In my last column, I voiced my fears for tonight's match, but I didn't expect things to be as bad for Spurs as they were in the first half.

On the contrary, when I saw the starting lineup, I found myself cautiously optimistic. After all the talk of Jermain Defoe being out for a month, there he was leading the attack with Clint Dempsey safely tucked in behind him in his favoured position.

I'm not sure why this got me so excited. Defoe has been in poor form for some time now and his miraculous recovery didn't quite prove such a triumph for medical science.

The England striker looked pretty unfit; although that didn't stop him getting involved enough to miss a number of chances. Also looking off the pace was Scott Parker, who very likely had his worst game in a Spurs shirt tonight.

Just to prove I don't only bring up points I've made from past articles when I'm proved right, I remind you how I claimed that Tottenham wouldn't miss Sandro that much due to the amount of cover they had in the defensive midfield position.

In my defence, I did add the caveat that we'd be alright 'if' Parker could find his form from the first half of last season. Unfortunately he hasn't.

Andre Villas-Boas was nursing Parker back to fitness before Sandro's injury. Since then, he's played every game. Perhaps Villas-Boas should go back to the original plan and rotate Parker. Jake Livermore could play in that position, as could Lewis Holtby (more on him in two paragraph's time).

With Norwich causing plenty of problems with their tenacious first half display, it was no surprise when they took the lead through Wes Hoolihan. I was quietly relieved that Spurs only went in 1-0 down because Norwich had their opportunities to double the lead.

The second half was at least better, especially when Tottenham gave a debut to Holtby. The German international had an immediate impact. It's amazing what can be achieved when you have two creative players in central midfield (the other one was Moussa Dembele, fact fans).

Spurs' new signing looked like a very energetic presence with crisp passing skills. He was also surprisingly robust looking. Could he and Dembele play alongside each other, with Dempsey ahead of them?

Holtby has played as a deep-lying midfielder before and Dembele was partnered with far from tough-tackling Danny Murphy at Fulham. It's worth trying, especially at home.

It was a counter-attack started by Holtby that resulted in the equaliser. The ball was played swiftly to Defoe, who laid it off to Gareth Bale at the halfway line.

Shaking off a tackle, Bale ran with frightening pace at the heart of the Norwich defence, before entering the area and hitting a rasping shot with the outside of his left foot. It was a truly magnificent solo effort that will have had the Sporting Directors at Barcelona and Real Madrid franticly calling the club accountants.

After finally grabbing an equaliser, Spurs could have even snatched a win. Another substitute, Glyfi Sigurdsson, went close as his well-hit shot was turned round the post.

A win would have been more than Tottenham deserved. Instead, we should remain positive for the fact that Holtby had such a promising debut. He could make a big difference in midfield. Let's hope that tomorrow Spurs can sign someone to make a big difference in attack.

Because tomorrow is transfer deadline day. No need to worry. When has Daniel Levy ever let us down?

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