Defensive crisis! The congested January fixture list is beginning to take its toll as Tottenham Hotspur have six players that won't feature in this weekend's league match, including three Spurs center backs. Spurs released team news on their official website today ahead of tomorrow's home match against Sunderland, and six players won't feature for the club.
Most notably, Federico Fazio and Younes Kaboul are both sidelined with what the release calls "the effects of illness," and Vlad (the Lad) Chiriches won't feature with a back issue, presumably a knock he picked up while scoring against Burnley with his arm on Wednesday. Erik Lamela and Ryan Mason continue to be sidelined with the same injuries that have kept them out of the past few matches, and the club didn't elaborate on the nature of their injuries or when we might expect them to come back into the fold. Nabil Bentaleb is in Equatorial Guinea with Algeria and is unavailable for the foreseeable future.
What this means for Spurs is anyone's guess. Obviously Jan Vertonghen will start in the back line. This could mean a start for Eric Dier in his natural position, and perhaps a spot on the bench for Milos Veljkovic (another game for Milos!). Etienne Capoue could also be called in to deputize at CB in an emergency situation.
Or, y'know, we just stick Harry Kane back there because reasons.
For Sunderland, Jermain Defoe is eligible to start for the Black Cats against his old club. It's not clear whether he actually will, but he should at minimum be on the bench at White Hart Lane. If he does start, he'll probably be up front with Steven Fletcher. Lee Cattermole and Anthony Reveillere are both out with injuries, and Liam Bridcutt is suspended.