Jan Vertoghen’s knee injury could have a derailing effect on Spurs’ title bid.
While the Lilywhites look increasingly comfortable in their place in the top four – aided by Manchester United’s stuttering performances – any push for the top spot is surely reliant on them being able to keep their best XI fit.
Title chances dented
That has now taken a heavy blow, with the club confirming that Vertonghen suffered knee ligament damage during the 3-1 win over Crystal Palace.
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The Belgian was injured in admittedly bizarre circumstances – receiving an elbow to the face from Palace forward Connor Wickham, and subsequently twisting his knee as he fell to the ground.
The FA have since charged Wickham with violent misconduct, but that will be of little comfort to Tottenham, who have lost arguably their most important defender for the foreseeable future. The statement confirming his injury did not reveal how long he is expected to be sidelined for.
Spurs have become reliant on Vertonghen’s partnership with Toby Alderweireld, which has given them statistically the best defence in the Premier League.
The former’s injury is therefore hugely unsettling, not least because Spurs will now be forced to replace him in a league game for the first time this season.
It is widely expected that because of the nature of the injury, the 28-year-old is set to be miss at least two months of action. Realistically, that may be the best case scenario.
Although Vertonghen was all smiles at Spurs’ training camp in Barcelona, it is a bitterly disappointing blow, as the centre-back will know all too well how his absence could harm Spurs’ chances this season.
Kevin Wimmer is likely to take his place in the side. Wimmer came on as a substitute for Vertonghen in the Palace game, but it is a huge ask to expect the youngster – who only arrived at the club in the summer and has featured just six times in all competitions – to fill the gaping hole that Spurs’ on-off captain has left.
Can Spurs still finish in the top four with Vertonghen out for so long? Have YOUR say in the comment box below!