The third defensive challenge match up brings together our current defensive partnership of Dawson and Bassong and the previous partnership of Mabbutt and Campbell. Now I realise that listing Mr Campbell may lead to a lot of abusive comment from some of you but could I just ask that we try and concentrate on the positive.
Dawson and Bassong
At the start of the season we were without defenders and room on our treatment tables. Harry was forced to act and bought Bassong from Newcastle and on his debut against Liverpool he scores the winner. Until he got injured himself it looked like he might put in the most performances this season of all our centre back corp. As it stands he still has but Ledley’s fitness will determine whether it remains that way come the season’s end.
Since Dawson regained his fitness he has played brilliantly at the back and the partnership with Bassong has developed. 17 games in and there is understanding though Bassong on the ball looks somewhat uncomfortable at times. There are those of us, and I am one, that believe we might have done better starting this partnership at Anfield as nothing was broken but we didn’t, Ledley pulled up again and Bassong was embarrassed firstly in getting on the pitch and then in giving away a penalty.
Of the two Dawson is by far the best in the air but Bassong is relatively comfortable. On the deck Bassong – with confidence – copes well but looks ungainly whilst Dawson is playing the expansive passes he’s always attempted extremely well.
If we do reach the top 4 at the end of the season these two will have played a major part in the achievement and against all but the top 3 they have what it takes. The second fixtures against those three sides will seal our fate and with two of the games being at home if we go into them in form we have to fancy at least a point.
Mabbutt and Campbell
Throughout his career with Spurs Gary Mabbutt epitomised what we all want to see in a Spurs player. Signed from Bristol Rovers he began as a lively midfield player and broke into the England squad. After dropping back into central defence he filled out a bit and became a real leader in the team forming a number of excellent partnerships.
When a young Sol Campbell came through the ranks to make the first team he occupied a number of positions before settling into his centre back role. I remember watching him play as a striker against Leicester when injuries deprived us of all our strikers. It was awful but Sol that was Spurs of that time.
As a centre back Sol learned his trade for us alongside Mabbutt. In his later years I always felt he never really trusted his centre back partner too often covering for him to get him out of jail before the goal went in where he should have been. He won a League Cup winners medal under George Graham and benefitted from his defensive training and techniques.
Both were talented players who became real heroes to the crowd but played at a time when the level of the squad was generally weak as we entered a period of drought from which Martin Jol started the recovery.
So it’s up to you to decide which of these pairings join England and Beal and Woodgate and King in the last four by voting below. You can also leave your memories in the comments box below.