Wilson Palacios: the catalyst driving Tottenham to the top four?

PalaciosAn epic comeback from David Moyes’ Everton and a last gasp penalty save from Tim Howard yesterday denied Harry Redknapp’s Tottenham side three points that would have further underlined the North London club’s impressive start to the campaign. Spurs fans will not just be disappointed at the result but will also be unhappy to hear the news of central midfielder Wilson Palacios’ rib injury, which was sustained in winning the last minute penalty.

It is currently yet to be confirmed how long Palacios will be sidelined for, however I am a firm believer that it is integral to Spurs’ season that the Honduran returns sooner rather than later. Admittedly Palacios’ performances in the last few games have not been of the best of his ability, but this is due to the high standards that Spurs fans have become used to. Palacios, in my opinion, is one of Spurs’ most key players.

Palacios fills the role that in modern football every team seems to need; the defensive midfielder. Palacios power and strength allow him to help control the pace of the match to one that suits Spurs, he is able to both stutter opposition attacks and develop them for his own side. It is only in the recent year or so that the Honduran has really been starting to get the credit he deserves, with many noticing the potential that he held at his previous club; Wigan Athletic. His influence on the pitch and tireless work rate are epitomized by the comments of Frank Lampard, one of the world’s greatest midfielders, who claimed that Palacios was the hardest midfielder he had ever played against, highlighting his struggle to compete with the Honduran’s power and speed.

When Redknapp arrived at the club in October 2008, Tottenham were in bad shape to say the least. Redknapp looked to shake things up and instantly stressed his desire to inject more bite and backbone into the Tottenham side, and with the £12 million signature of Palacios, that’s exactly what he did. The centre of Spurs’ midfield has been as key as any position to the success that the Lilywhites have experienced in the early stages of the campaign. He has forged a partnership with the blossoming Tom Huddlestone that provides a balance that Spurs sides of previous seasons have lacked and the North London club finally look like fulfilling the potential and promise that a club of their size and stature demands.

Although Palacios contributed to the departure of former defensive midfielder Didier Zokora it would be foolish to suggest that his attributes lie just in his defensive qualities. Palacios has been described as the ‘complete midfielder’ by former manager Steve Bruce and he offers Spurs as many attacking benefits as he does defensive. He plays with a drive and aggression reminiscent of Chelsea’s Michael Essien and must be a nightmare for any central midfielder to line up against. He represents a valuable asset and is the mould of player that all successful clubs seek, boasting huge power and efficiency. Spurs fans will hope that the injury sustained to the Honduran yesterday is not serious and will keep their fingers crossed that he is back for a crucial fixture with Manchester City in 9 days time. He is likely to play a key role in what promises to be an exciting season for Tottenham Hotspur.