Tottenham’s miserable run continued after the team extended their winless run to six matches following a narrow 1-0 defeat against Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League. Spurs have not won any game since the 2-0 win over Manchester City before the last international break. They have since suffered four draws and two defeats, with both losses coming in the Champions League. On Wednesday night, there were more reasons for manager Mauricio Pochettino to be concerned with the team as midfielder Mousa Dembele appeared to have suffered an ankle injury.
It only increases the pressure on a Tottenham squad that already looks stretched and devoid of ideas without key players like Harry Kane and Toby Alderweireld. Pochettino confirmed after the game that Dembele’s substitution was not practical and it was because the player was suffering with an injury. According to Squawka, he said:
“He was injured. He asked me to come off, he twisted his ankle. It wasn’t tactical. Mousa Dembele is an important player for us but [the injury] is not an excuse.
“We need to improve and change some things. We are in a bad moment. After Manchester City we don’t win and we need to be critical and find answers.”
These are testing times for Spurs, but the club will only learn in the next few days the true extent of Dembele’s injury. This injury comes at a time when Kane and Toby Alderweireld are closer towards a first-team return than ever before. It would not be surprising to see the latter in the weekend’s game against Arsenal. As another international break is just around the corner, Pochettino will only be glad that there are no more games for a 15-day period after the weekend. It would give Spurs some much needed time to reflect on the last month.
Dembele has certainly not been having the best of times lately. He missed the first four matches of the season with a suspension that continued from last campaign. Upon his return, he has been unable to make much of an impact due to constant shuffling around the pitch. Midfielder Eric Dier has been playing at the back in order to compensate for the lack of Alderweireld. Dembele looks almost certain to miss the game against Arsenal during the weekend. Pochettino will be hoping that the midfielder does not have to face any more time on the sidelines.
Dembele was almost an ever-present for Spurs last season and he made 29 appearances in the league. His passing skills, vision, and ability to cover ground were major factors in the club’s third place finish. The 29-year-old is yet to score or assist a goal in seven appearances for Spurs. However, he has been a major influence in the first team since his return. As he has a whopping 94% success rate when it comes to passing, Spurs are likely to miss his efficiency against the Gunners on Sunday.