Tottenham Hotspur welcome Tony Pulis and his West Bromwich Albion squad to White Hart Lane on Saturday for an early kick-off match, and just like the last time Spurs took the pitch in the Premier League, they’re almost fully healthy. Almost.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino confirmed that Erik Lamela is the only significant injury remaining in his side that will try to win its sixth consecutive Premier League match, tying the Tottenham Hotspur record. Once again, when asked when Lamela might be returning to Spurs’ starting lineup, the answer is soon.
“Every day we have information [about Lamela], he is doing well but we cannot push too much because it’s about time for him to recover. Our idea is maybe (he will spend) one week more [in Rome] and then (he’ll come) back to London so we can see which level (he is at) and start to build his fitness for him to try to help the team as soon as possible. It’s difficult to say (when he will be back), I don’t want to guess again.”
Pochettino also gave a quick update on young Messi-in-waiting Marcus Edwards, who has missed the past three months with an ankle injury:
“Always it’s up to the player. It’s true that he’s still recovering and he is very close to starting to train with the team again.”
West Brom only have three players currently on their injury list: Jonny Evans, Chris Brunt, and Jonathan Leko.
It’s difficult to say how Spurs will set up to face West Brom at home on Saturday. The Baggies are an extremely well organized defensive side under Tony Pulis, and will no doubt be set up to put men behind the ball, cede possession, and try and hit back on a counter-attack. It’s worked pretty well against Tottenham, too: in the four times West Brom has faced Spurs under Pulis, three of them have been draws. Whether this suggests a return to the 4-2-3-1 that earned them a 1-1 draw at the Hawthornes this fall or the three-at-the-back formation that got them the big win over Chelsea ten days ago remains to be seen.
One thing’s for certain: expect Dele to play a major role, as he’s scored seven goals in his past four league games and is one of the hottest players in the Premier League at present.