With Villas-Boas's side now only three points of third place, what points should they take from this fixture?
When Dembele starts in the league, Spurs win. Yesterday's match took this stat to five games, and if the Belgian can stay injury free, he will clearly be central to Spurs' season. It's hard to overstate Dembele's influence, in the first half he made more passes, created more chances and made more tackles than any other Spurs player. Dembele and Sandro have settled together to form a fomidable pair and are an excellent base for the likes of Bale and Lennon to spring from. Dembele's hip problem has to be managed carefully to ensure Spurs get as many minutes out of him as possible this season.
The Welsh winger now has three goals in three games, and has shown irresistible form against West Ham and Liverpool in his last two outings. At times Bale is unplayable, with the defender having the choice of watching the winger fly past him, or give away a foul. The dribble to set up the first goal was sensational and the free kick goal was one of a series of great long distance efforts. Bale's second half was less straightforwardly enjoyable, with an unlucky own goal and an undeserved yellow card for simulation, but his efforts gave his side three points, and that is that really matters.
Yesterday showed how important Caulker is at the moment. With the young Englishman joining Kaboul out injured, and Vertonghen covering on the left, Dawson and Gallas lined up at the heart of Spurs back four, and the Frenchman in particular looked shaky once again. Spurs were composed at the back on Sunday, and although this was a different challenge to West Ham, there was too great a discrepancy between their defensive performances to put it all down to the opposition. Hopefully Caulker can join Dawson in the defence at Fulham this weekend, as the youngest of Spurs' centre halves is currently the most important.
Sitting on leads
Once again Spurs took the lead in a match, and once again they were left holding onto it for dear life by the end of the game. Spurs have held the lead at some stage in 12 of their 14 matches in the league this season, with only the Wigan and Newcastle matches the exceptions. From those 12 winning positions, Spurs have only won 7 matches. There are mitigating factors, and the positive is they did win yesterday, but they are still going defensive and trying to see games out from far too early in the match. Spurs have the ability to control a game even if the opposition is striving to get back into it; they need to keep attacking when ahead.
Time to settle
Spurs are finally getting closer to a first choice selection, and with that can come a degree of stability that hasn't been present throughout the season. Whilst Kaboul and Assou-Ekotto are still injured, Lloris and Dembele have come back into the starting eleven, with Adebayor not too far from a return too. Dawson has also integrated back in well, and you'd expect him to start until one of Assou-Ekotto and Kaboul returns. If there can be some consistency in the team selection as a result of these players coming into the side, Spurs can gain more confidence, especially at the back where rotation of keepers and defenders for various reasons has meant stability has been short supply.