Looking at Townsend's performance on Saturday it's very hard to understand how he has leapfrogged Aaron Lennon in the wingers' queue. In fact, apart from an emphatically converted penalty at a crucial point in the Chelsea game, it's difficult to think of anything good Townsend has done for some time now.
Somehow, despite all the moaning, the turgid play, the ordinary players, Franco Baldini, Poch's accent and the small pitch, Spurs are just four points off the top four, two points behind Arsenal, three clear of Liverpool and still in all the cups. But without Eriksen, the picture would be a good deal less rosy.
Knotted brows and shaking heads emerged from White Hart Lane on Sunday afternoon; supporters bewildered and dumbstruck by what they had seen. Pouring out of the away end the Stoke fans scratched their heads and demanded of each other in disbelief: how on earth did we only manage to beat that shower by just the one goal?
Pochettino's record is ten wins and four defeats in all competitions so far... If he can achieve all this with a sluggish, misfiring squad, imagine what he'll be able to do once he's got them finely tuned and boosted by a couple of astute signings in January. There's always a bright side if you're prepared to rummage around for it.
All of which, like the form of Kane and Lamela, is good news. Pochettino is not the type to let a home win against a Greek side no one has ever heard of distract him from the bigger picture. His steely resolve, evident since the desperate home defeat to West Bromwich Albion, is what's going to drag this team kicking and screaming towards the fulfilment of its potential.
Whether a striker of the required calibre becomes available in January - let alone whether Chairman Levy will be inclined to make the necessary investment - remains to be seen. But if they do find someone capable of finishing the chances the creative department are increasingly serving up, this could yet turn out to be a very good season for Tottenham.
Vlad Chiriches has been looking like a disaster waiting to happen in the Spurs defence for some time and on Thursday night, late in the game, the waiting ended. His ugly air-shot of a hashed clearance, compounded by a desperate hand ball in full view of the referee, resulted in a converted penalty for Demba Ba and an equaliser for Besiktas.