6 Things We Learned from Spurs' 0-0 Draw with Stoke

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistDecember 22, 2012

6 Things We Learned from Spurs' 0-0 Draw with Stoke

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    On Saturday at White Hart Lane, Tottenham were unable to crack the defensive barricade that was put up in the penalty area by Stoke City.

    The match ended in a 0-0 draw after Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic denied Gylfi Sigurdsson of a last-minute goal with a spectacular save. 

    The draw did give Tottenham their 30th point of the season, but it was not enough to hold on to fourth place, with Arsenal jumping over their North London rivals after winning earlier in the day.

    Stoke moved up to eighth place with 25 points and extended their unbeaten streak to eight matches.

    Here are six things we learned from the 0-0 draw at White Hart Lane. 

The Defoe-Adebayor Pairing Just Is Not Working

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    For the third straight EPL match, Tottenham manager Andre Villas-Boas decided to start forwards Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor together in a 4-4-2 formation. 

    Defoe and Adebayor proved to be ineffective once again in the attack against another stingy back four. 

    Credit must be given to the back four of Stoke for keeping the forward pairing in check all match, but one of the two forwards should have been able to create some type of chance during the 90 minutes. 

    With the crowded holiday fixture list beginning on Boxing Day against Aston Villa, it may be time for AVB to shake up his starting 11 and start either one of his forwards alone up front in a 4-2-3-1 formation. 

The Right Wing Needs More Fluidity

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    The return of Gareth Bale to the left side of the midfield helped the Tottenham attack gain traction in the first half, but Bale's performance also overshadowed the inability of the players on the right wing to get anything going in the attack.

    Kyle Walker and Aaron Lennon were quiet in the Spurs attack, which was run through Bale all day. 

    With a lack of firepower coming from the right wing, Spurs had to rely on Bale to create all of the chances in the match for the first 80 minutes.

    In the final 10 minutes of the match, substitute Gylfi Sigurdsson provided a much-needed energy boost on the right wing.

    The replacement for Lennon created the best chance of the match in the 90th minute when his header was saved by Stoke keeper Asmir Begovic. 

AVB Is Getting His Substitution Decisions Right

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    For most of the season, Andre Villas-Boas has been criticized for his substitution tactics. 

    Over the past two weeks, AVB has made the right decision by bringing on a substitute that has provided energy to a lackluster attack.

    Last week against Swansea, Andros Townsend came on in the 72nd minute and assisted on the only goal of the match with his 75th-minute free kick. 

    On Saturday, it was Gylfi Sigurdsson who provided the boost to the Spurs attack. 

    Sigurdsson replaced Aaron Lennon in the lineup and immediately gave his club a spark in attack.

    The Iceland international created the best chance of the match in the 90th minute when his header was miraculously saved by Asmir Begovic. 

Tottenham Need to Attack for the Full 90 Minutes

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    Once again, the Tottenham attack struggled to find its footing in the first half. 

    The North London club failed to create any meaningful chance on goal until the 31st minute, when Jan Vertonghen got a shot on goal. 

    For the entire season, this has been the trend for Tottenham, with 20 of their 30 goals scored this season coming in the final 45 minutes. 

    Spurs have gotten lucky over the past few weeks because Swansea and Stoke have failed to take advantage of a weak first-half performance by the club. 

    However, against a strong club like the duo from Manchester or Chelsea, a poor first half could cost Spurs the match. 

Scott Parker Will Have a Difficult Time Breaking into the Starting 11

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    For the second straight match, Scott Parker made a cameo late in the second half. 

    Parker is returning from his Achilles injury that he suffered on international duty with England over the summer. 

    In Parker's absence, Sandro and Mousa Dembele have formed a strong partnership in the center of midfield. 

    Both players do not deserve to be taken out of the starting 11 in place of Parker.

    Luckily for Andre Villas-Boas, he will be able to mix in Parker to the starting 11 during the crowded holiday fixture list, but once January comes around, Parker may not be able to find a permanent spot in the starting lineup. 

Stoke's Huth-Shawcross Pairing Is One of the Best in England

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    Stoke's defensive pairing of center-backs Robert Huth and Ryan Shawcross has made for one of the stingiest duos in all of England this season.

    The biggest statistic that backs up that point is the nine clean sheets by keeper Asmir Begovic in 18 matches. 

    With Saturday's draw, the Potters extended their unbeaten run to eight matches. 

    Huth and Shawcross have been one of the keys to that unbeaten run, with only three goals given up by the Stoke defense during the streak.