While Andre Villas-Boas has used Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon as his two wide options throughout 2012-13, he's never been completely sure who to use as Tottenham's central attacking midfielder.
Two signings from last summer, Clint Dempsey and Gylfi Sigurdsson, were underwhelming in the opening months of the campaign, while Lewis Holtby's form has dipped following an encouraging start in January.
Holtby's performance against Chelsea on Wednesday night wasn't impressive he was dominated by Brazilian David Luiz, who played as a defensive midfielder. Holtby dropped very deep to receive possession, meaning Tottenham dominated possession but played in front of Chelsea, offering little creativity.
The introduction of Dempsey and Sigurdsson got Tottenham back into the game. Sigurdsson replaced Lennon, with Bale going right and the Icelandic playmaker starting from the left.
Later, Clint Dempsey replaced Holtby in the attacking midfield role, although Villas-Boas instructed him to rotate positions with Sigurdsson. Gradually, Tottenham's dominance down the left became clear, with Emmanuel Adebayor constantly moving to that side, and setting up Sigurdsson's equaliser with a clever backheel.
Against Stoke this weekend, Dempsey and Sigurdsson deserve a start more than Holtby, who should return to the bench. Of course, the key when playing Stoke is to compete physically, and with Villas-Boas certain that his side will dominate possession at the Britannia Stadium, he can afford to field Dempsey as a second striker to take advantage of his poaching skills in the box, and his height at set-pieces will also be handy.