Tottenham 1-1 Manchester United: 5 Lessons from Spurs' Draw with United

Frank Wagner@Fw1812Correspondent IJanuary 21, 2013

Tottenham 1-1 Manchester United: 5 Lessons from Spurs' Draw with United

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    It may not be a league double in the traditional sense, but don't tell that to Tottenham supporters who are celebrating the culmination of their club's season series with Manchester United.

    For the first time since 1989-90, Spurs were able to avoid defeat in both of their league encounters with United this season after Sunday's 1-1 draw with the Red Devils followed up a 3-2 victory at Old Trafford.

    Sunday's match, made picturesque by the falling snow at White Hart Lane, became a Tottenham classic after Clint Dempsey netted a last-gasp equalizer.

    So what can be taken away from Spurs' dramatic draw?

    Here are five lessons we learned from Sunday's draw with the league leaders.

Scott Parker Can Fill Sandro's Shoes

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    When Sandro's knee injury ruled him out for the remainder of the season, Tottenham were faced with a problem.

    Sandro's importance to the club was clear; after all, the Brazilian midfielder had played in all of the club's Premier League matches this season and provided the side with a strong defensive presence and flair.

    The obvious replacement in the center of midfield was Scott Parker. However, while Parker would certainly be a good option at his best form, the Englishman is only just coming back from an Achilles injury he suffered in the summer.

    Luckily, Scottie proved his worth against Manchester United on Sunday, playing a gritty match and even marauding into the box at one point in the first half.

    While Parker still wasn't ready to last the entire 90 minutes, it was a good testament to his ability to settle back into his role in the center of the midfield.

    Perhaps Spurs should still look for a bit of depth at the position in case of injury trouble, but Parker has proved that he will fill Sandro's shoes quite well.

Lennon and Bale Are a Lethal Combo

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    The fact that Aaron Lennon and Gareth Bale are a lethal combination was not exactly a revelation from this match. However, this fact was certainly reaffirmed in this match.

    When the two are performing at their free-flowing best at the same time, the Spurs attack is irresistible.

    What makes their partnership even more deadly, though, is how hard it is for the opposition to deal with them.

    On Sunday, Manchester United came into White Hart Lane with a clear strategy of marking Gareth Bale out of the contest after the Welshman ran riot at Old Trafford in September.

    The Red Devils did a good job of it, too, preventing Bale from having the sort of influence one would have expected from a Spurs side that possessed the ball as much as they did. (For more of a tactical analysis of the strategy United employed against Bale, read this)

    Luckily, Spurs' other winger took the opportunity to step his game up and influence the match with his darting runs.

    With these two healthy and on form, it's hard to imagine Tottenham lacking goals.

BAE Should Get His Spot Back

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    For the first time since the first of September, Benoit Assou-Ekotto got minutes with Tottenahm in the Premier League.

    The full-back came on for Kyle Naughton about an hour into the contest and the swap immediately paid dividends, posing a fine threat down the left side of the pitch.

    In just half-an-hour on the pitch, the Cameroonian proved his worth to the side and why he should take his side back.

    It makes perfect sense for Spurs to ease the full-back back into the side, but Tottenham should get Assou-Ekotto back into the first 11 as soon as possible.

A Striker Would Be Nice This Transfer Window

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    With Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor the only experienced recognized strikers in Tottenham's side entering the season, Spurs' depth at the position was already a problem.

    With Adebayor now at the Africa Cup of Nations with Togo, that leaves just one option at White Hart Lane.

    Today's match proved the problem with this situation: While Defoe is a fantastic striker and a pure goal scorer, a more imposing presence is sometimes preferable.

    If Ade was available on Sunday, he probably would have gotten the nod, as a more physical player could have paid dividends against United.

    Defoe still put in a decent shift at White Hart Lane, but another option would be a nice addition to the squad.

    With January's transfer window coming to a close in a week-and-a-half, Tottenham still have time to address this before the summer.

Top Four in Sights

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    Tottenham's squad looks to be meshing at the right time, and the club looks ready to achieve their goal of a top-four Premier League finish.

    American Clint Dempsey has found his goal-scoring touch and got the decisive goals in both of Spurs' league matches with United this season.

    The defense has been playing well, overcoming injuries to hold the league's most potent attack to just a goal.

    Further, the side really earned their point against the Red Devils, holding the majority of possession and creating more chances than the league leaders.

    With Tottenham already holding an edge in the race for fourth and lurking within striking distance of Chelsea in third, Spurs should be the favorite to earn Champions League football for next season.