Spurs face Everton test without Bale
Tottenham's Champions League credentials are set for a stern examination today when they take on Everton at White Hart Lane without top scorer Gareth Bale.
Wales winger Bale, who has scored 22 goals for Andre Villas-Boas' side this season, suffered an ankle injury towards the end of the 2-2 draw against Basel in the Europa League on Thursday.
It was immediately feared the 23-year-old had suffered a season-ending setback and Tottenham fans were anxiously awaiting the results of scans that they hoped would confirm the manager's announcement soon after the final whistle that Bale's condition "shouldn't be as bad as it looks".
Bale will nevertheless be missing for the foreseeable future, and with Aaron Lennon also injured against Basel, Lewis Holtby and Gylfi Sigurdsson are likely to start as the main attacking midfielders for Spurs.
Tottenham have had to cope with suggestions all season that they are a one-man team because of Bale's brilliance, but they have far more quality than that, as Jan Vertonghen's Premier League Player of the Month award for March proved.
The 25-year-old Belgian, a £12 million (HK$142 million) recruit from Ajax, has contributed four goals in six appearances for his club in March and also excelled at centre-back and left-back.
An injury to William Gallas, who was unable to complete the Basel match, means Vertonghen will be used in the heart of defence against the Toffees.
Vertonghen made no secret of the role Bale played during March, however. "Perhaps opponents forget to give defenders the attention. Actually, my secret is probably Gareth Bale giving me three amazing assists."
Everton were also March winners as David Moyes won the managerial prize.
Third-placed Spurs are six spots ahead of Everton, who lie in sixth place.