With the North London Derby looming this weekend, Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has given an update on the walking hospital ward that is his club after the international break. As expected, there’s a healthy dose of both good and bad news for Spurs.
First, the bad news. Both Victor Wanyama and Toby Alderweireld are set to miss the match against Arsenal at the Emirates as they continue to recuperate from injury.
That’s not at all unexpected, but we did get some distressing news about Alderweireld, who pulled up with a hamstring injury in Spurs’ Champions League win over Real Madrid a couple of weeks back. Pochettino admitted that Toby’s injury was worse than what he thought at first, and that the player is likely to be out through Christmas.
That will put additional strain on Spurs’ defense, and essentially means Eric Dier will continue to play in central defense alongside Davinson Sanchez and Jan Vertonghen (who is fine after playing 90 minutes with Belgium on Tuesday).
Poch also gave an update on Erik Lamela, who continues to be frustratingly close but still agonizingly short of a return to Spurs’ match day squad. It sounds as though the final decision is Lamela’s.
Poch said he will ask Erik Lamela tomorrow if he "has the full confidence to be involved again". Said he has asked him every day since his return to training.— Alasdair Gold (@AlasdairGold) November 16, 2017
However, there’s good news, too! Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Hugo Lloris, and Harry Winks are all expected to feature against the Gunners on Saturday. All three missed international duty with England due to various knocks, but all three participated in Tottenham training today. Michel Vorm, too, which suggests we may not see Paulo Gazzaniga on the bench Saturday morning.
TEAM NEWS: @dele_official (hamstring), @HKane (knee), Hugo Lloris (groin), @Vorm_Official (knee) & @HarryWinks (ankle) have returned to full training for the first time today. pic.twitter.com/oToz78juGt— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) November 16, 2017
It strikes me that the injuries to Kane, Winks, and Dele have more to do with keeping them out of international duty with a huge rivalry match coming up and less to do with them actually being injured. That’s good, because when the North London Derby comes around you throw form out the window. Nobody should expect this to be an easy win for Spurs, especially at the Emirates. Thankfully, it at least appears the Spurs will go into the match with a fairly healthy side, if only just.