Huffpost UK Sport uk
The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Scott Thompson Headshot

A Great Performance Against United Only Proved That Tottenham Need January Signings

Posted: Updated:

Spurs claimed a well-earned point with a display of almost complete dominance against the Manchester United juggernaut on Sunday, but the need for new signings was the take-home message.

It's sad that a ninety-second minute equaliser against Manchester United is celebrated as a victory might be against any other team; but coming away from both Premier League clashes with the Red Devils with four points is not far short of miraculous.

Bar the odd moment when the defence lost the almost mythical Robin van Persie, Spurs turned in a brilliant performance on Sunday. True, United seemed determined to absorb pressure; but very rarely do you see teams set up camp in the red third of the pitch for such long periods. In fact, it is a tribute to Andre Villas-Boas, of whom many fans remain dubious, that managers of Alex Ferguson's calibre feel they have to treat his team with caution.

Despite the high energy levels and unflinching determination shown by the Tottenham team, though, this match did highlight some major short comings in the Spurs squad. Even with twenty-five shots at the fluffy-faced De Gea's goal, there were only one or two that carried any real conviction.

In fact, it's been characteristic this season for Spurs to either be scoring freely and conceding, or keeping it tight at the back but also lacking a cutting edge up front. The ability to perform at both ends has been elusive. This is a problem that has been painfully obvious since Jermain Defoe stopped scoring before Christmas. Although Clint Dempsey and Gareth Bale have been popping up with the odd goal here and there, if Defoe continues to struggle to come up with the goods then it's difficult to see where AVB will turn.

This can't be an issue that has escaped AVB's notice. With a third of the game remaining to chase down a lead against one of the most robust teams in Europe, who did AVB bring on? A full back and a defensive midfielder. Now don't get me wrong, I'm a big fan of Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Tom Huddlestone (for one thing they both have hairstyles up there with Fellaini) but in a time of goal scoring crisis it says a lot when your best options are either returning from injury or as mobile as an oil tanker.

Sure, on their day, Defoe and Bale can destroy teams singlehandedly, but when they're not performing Spurs have very limited supplies indeed. Apart from Adebayor, who will find it difficult to score from Africa, Andros Townsend is the only other man in the squad who could be described as a flair player; but he is still far from being established.

Another striker is imperative. With Adebayor away, Defoe is effectively the only senior forward at the club and an injury to him would be nothing short of disastrous. Furthermore, over the last few weeks Defoe and Adebayor have shown that they struggle to score when playing together, so even when they are both available options are sparse.

The signing of young attacking midfielder, Lewis Holtby from Schalke, looks to be a shrewd one and is exactly the type of player needed to fill the void left by Rafael van der Vaart. Holtby scored once and made three assists at the weekend, but it'll be interesting to see whether he can have an immediate impact in the Premier League; if indeed, as a younger player, he goes straight into the starting eleven at all.

Daniel Levy should be doing all he can to get Holtby to England during this transfer period because without Van der Vaart, creativity from central midfield has been as rare as Alex Ferguson praising an official. Clint Dempsey has been the man left in that advanced midfield role, but he's been lacklustre at best. How a player can be so poor for so long yet keep picking up goals is astounding and surely can't continue forever. If Holtby can't be brought in then AVB must look elsewhere quickly. With the inflated transfer fees that Levy has managed to continually bring in, there must be a kitty for a highly-rated attacking player.

Tottenham are undoubtedly in a strong position at this halfway stage, but come the final stretch of the season Andre Villas-Boas has to know that he has the players available to bring the Champions League dream home.