Most Tottenham Hotspur fans, myself included, were anticipating injured center back Toby Alderweireld to be back, if not in time for Wednesday’s Champions League match against Bayer Leverkusen, then certainly for the North London Derby match against Arsenal. However, Tom Collomosse at the Evening Standard just dashed cold water on those ideas, saying that Toby is now likely to miss both matches, with Eric Dier as his understudy.
It’s important to note here that, as good of a Tottenham journalist as he is, Collomosse doesn’t include any quotes or actual sources for this article, only that “Standard sources understand.” Which, fair enough. Naturally, I hope he’s wrong, but Collomosse has proven to be a good Tottenham source in the past, so I’m inclined to believe this.
And this is, well, pretty terrible news for Spurs. It almost certainly means that Spurs will be leaning heavily on Victor Wanyama and the new 4-1-4-1 system, though I suppose it’s possible that we could have a double pivot of Wanyama-Dembele like what we saw against Leicester City. But more crucially, while Dier is a capable center back, it means that Spurs will again be without the best central defender in the Premier League (and one of the best passers from deep) for two of the most critical matches in the first half of the season. Considering Tottenham’s form since Toby’s injury – four draws and an EFL Cup loss – that’s a big ol’ ouch.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t appear to be a Halloween prank. And there’s as of yet no news on Harry Kane. Cue the spooky music. The person in the background screaming is actually me.