Although the three points lost will undoubtedly hurt, the more significant loss for Tottenham Hotspur may have been in their midfield, as another player was injured.
Tottenham has had a challenging week with injuries. Just as the squad seemingly returned to total health, multiple players went down this past week. Hugo Lloris was injured late against Manchester City and will likely be out for up to six weeks. Additionally, a stress fracture in the foot of Yves Bissouma has the midfielder undergoing surgery, with a return to be determined. Spurs have suffered a blow they could not afford to take, compounding a terrible loss at Leicester.
Central midfield was seemingly set for Tottenham until
We are just coming from the transfer window close, and Tottenham did not do anything in the middle of the park, as the club seemed set. There are three first-team midfielders for Spurs, with Pierre Hojbjerg, Rodrigo Bentancur, and Bissouma taking the lion’s share of the minutes in two positions this season.
Besides those three, Spurs also have two young midfield ‘prospects’ in Oliver Skipp and Pape Matar Sarr. With five central midfielders in the team, Tottenham was seemingly set, where they would only need to lean so far into their youth if a player picked up an injury.
Spurs facing a worst-case scenario in midfield for AC Milan
Well, now Spurs have had the worst-case scenario imaginable happen. First, Bissouma has a stress fracture and surgery, dropping Tottenham to four central midfielders in the first team. Then on Saturday, Bentancur picked up what looked like it could be a severe knee injury in the second half against Leicester.
Bentancur has arguably been the most important player for Tottenham this season. The team struggled when he was out – although his absence also overlapped with Dejan Kulusevski.
While Hojbjerg has been a constant presence in the midfield all season, Bentacur brings a balance to the team and some calm into possession. His deft touches and growing ability to pop up in the right place at the right time in the box have been vital to Spurs’ success.
Now with Bentancur likely out against AC Milan and Hojbjerg on suspension, Sarr and Skipp will be in the midfield for Spurs, and cover will come from, well, I’m not sure, given Harvey White is on loan. I guess that is why Antonio Conte is paid big bucks, so he can figure out who that cover will be and how Skipp and Sarr will hold down the fort in the Champions League.
For Tottenham, Saturday was a bad day, and a bad result that could worsen the longer Spurs are without Bentancur.