It’s not talked about as much, but Tottenham Hotspur Women are quietly having almost as big an injury crisis as the men’s team. This is especially true in midfield, where three of Spurs’ starters — Drew Spence, Olga Ahtinen, and Eveliina Summanen — are all out with various injuries. Ahtinen and Summanen, both Finnish nationals, were Robert Vilahamn’s preferred midfield duo, so losing them both at the same time has been a real blow.
But there’s good news, and it comes from the club itself! Spurs Women announced today that both Ahtinen and Summanen are targeting a return by Tottenham’s next WSL match — January 21, 2024 vs. West Ham!
Positive news for our midfield duo— Tottenham Hotspur Women (@SpursWomen) December 21, 2023
Summanen and Ahtinen target a return to action in the @BarclaysWSL in January
This is fabulous news, and I love the fact that it’s coming from the club itself. English football clubs are normally reticent to release any information about injuries, timelines, and expectations for recovery. Spurs Women has been especially mum about player injuries; in past seasons they haven’t even discussed them, players are just not in the squad for a while and then we hear later that they were in recovery for something.
So to have this as an official release is both refreshing and also exciting. Spurs Women were able to get a historic victory over Arsenal last weekend without either of Ahtinen, Summanen, or Spence which is to their credit, but having them back will improve the midfield significantly and should give Spurs a real boost against West Ham. The Hammers are now managed by Rehanne Skinner, whom Spurs sacked last spring before eventually appointing Vilahamn. The “Skinner Derby” may not have the same gravitas as a match against one of the so-called Big Four, especially since West Ham are struggling.
That said, it’s still a London derby, going up against your old manager adds some spice, and there are reports that West Ham are set to sign USA international Kristie Mewis from Gotham FC this winter. Having their two best midfielders back, even if they’re not up to full fitness, should certainly help Spurs avoid any slip ups.