- Tottenham Hotspur defender Toby Alderweireld won’t be fit to face Chelsea this weekend at Stamford Bridge confirmed Mauricio Pochettino – Reports from Dailystar.
The 27-year-old damaged a nerve in his knee against West Brom back in October and has missed the last 7 matches for the team, including the 2-1 defeat at AS Monaco on Tuesday that ended the London side’s Champions League knockout stage progress. There were plenty of grapevines stating that Alderweireld was supposed to be available last weekend in the dramatic 3-2 victory against West Ham United yet seemed to require more medical attention. Just like the fans, Pochettino was praying to pair the former Atletico Madrid defender and Jan Vertonghen this weekend, as they both have mounted as one of the best centre-back pairings in recent years.
Tottenham was commendable at the back when the season began. Their only setback being an injury to Harry Kane which void attacking ideas upfront. In the first 8 league matches that Alderweireld started, he was rock-solid as ever, helping his side to secure 4 clean sheets, most notably he was outstanding against title rivals Manchester City and Liverpool. Besides offering defensive assuredness, he has the ability to kick-start an attack from behind with 84% passing accuracy so far this term. Also, back in the 2014/15 season, he ranked among the top 6 Premier League defenders for accurate long passes.
After witnessing his side conceding four goals in the last two matches, Mauricio Pochettino needs to tighten things up at the back yet facing Chelsea who are relishing a rich vein of form is nothing but a nightmare. Six wins in a row with a combined score line of 17-0 is simply amazing. It seems to be the toughest test for Spurs as their Premier League unbeaten run could be on the line, considering Chelsea’s brand of high energy and quick movement play in the final third that could unravel any defensive line out there.
On the other hand, Antonio Conte is grinning from ear to ear, not only because of their league position, he has no injury concerns at the moment as Kurt Zouma is edging closer to full fitness. Evidently, no chances will be made to the current side and having not played in midweek, they would be extra fresh and sharp. Pochettino himself did rest several key players like Vertonghen and Kyle Walker last time out, keeping an eye on this crucial clash.
Toby Alderweireld will be out for at least another week and Eric Dier would be his deputy at the heart of defence. Brimming with confidence, Chelsea’s sharpshooters will look to exploit the visitors’ woes yet if Spurs can keep them at bay and hold on for a point or more, it would vindicate their stance as title contenders.
Similar to what Southampton did to Liverpool in the previous week, guarding the post with an organised defence and pouncing on the break might be the best strategy. Conte too knows that dropping a point on Saturday could cost him the top spot.
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