Good news, everyone! Tottenham Hotspur have a fully healthy central midfield! Two days after Victor Wanyama played his first minutes for Spurs against Swansea City, the club announced that Mousa Dembele, its final injured midfielder, is back and could feature against West Ham at Wembley Stadium today.
TEAM NEWS: @mousadembele (hip) has returned to first team training and is available for selection. pic.twitter.com/NlNpEmqZtI— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) January 4, 2018
The club also announced that Toby Alderweireld is still on his way back and is doing “outdoor work,” while Danny Rose’s knee is being assessed.
The return of Dembele is fantastic news and could mean quite a bit for Spurs in terms of formation. With the injuries to Dembele, Wanyama, and Toby Alderweireld over the past few months, it has meant a tactical switch to 4-2-3-1 from the 3-4-2-1 that Mauricio Pochettino had preferred prior.
Now, with a stable of healthy midfielders, Poch has the option of pushing Dier back into a back three if he wants, knowing that Dembele, Wanyama, Winks, and Sissoko are all available for selection in front of the back line. I don’t know if that’s what Poch will DO today against West Ham — in fact, I think it’s likely that he’ll stick with the 4-2-3-1 in the short term until Toby’s healthy. But the fact is that he CAN.
With a win against West Ham today, Spurs can put even more pressure on the non-Manchester City clubs ahead of them in the table — Spurs would remain in fifth with three points, but would be just four points behind second place Manchester United.