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Eric Dier has an appendectomy, is out until January

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The central midfield situation has gotten... dire.

Arsenal FC v Tottenham Hotspur - Premier League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Well, this is certainly sub-optimal. For those of us wondering why Eric Dier was not in the squad for yesterday’s win against Burnley, we now have our answer.

With the looming Christmas period and the accompanying fixture congestion, there could scarcely be a worse time for Dier to miss matches. The midfield is stretched extremely thin right now, with Dier joining players like Moussa Dembele and Victor Wanyama on the sidelines, leaving Oliver Skipp to make his Premier League debut, along with other healthy players like Moussa Sissoko, Harry Winks, and... actually, that’s pretty much it?

Returning to training in January could come in as few as two weeks, or as many as six. Tottenham are fortunate in that their league schedule features no opponent currently higher than sixth in the table, though it does include Arsenal at the Emirates in the Carabao Cup.

Spurs play nine matches between now and the end of January, and a very lengthy spell on the injured list for Dier could dent Spurs’ hopes in a couple of competitions. Fortunately Champions League doesn’t start again until February.