As the Lilywhites suffered their first defeat of the season in a chaotic 4-1 loss to Chelsea, their upcoming clash against Wolves presents manager Ange Postecoglou with some tough decisions. The defeat not only put an end to Spurs’ unbeaten league start but also brought a string of injuries and suspensions that have left the team in a precarious position.
The encounter at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was marked by a whirlwind of events in the first half. The match witnessed three disallowed goals, a red card for Cristian Romero, and a penalty awarded to Chelsea. Destiny Udogie, who escaped a red card in the first half, later received a second yellow card for a reckless foul on Raheem Sterling. This double setback gave Chelsea a two-man advantage, leading to Nicolas Jackson’s second-half hat-trick. Even Eric Dier’s potential late equalizer was disallowed.
The red cards to Cristian Romero and Destiny Udogie have left Tottenham Hotspur without their services for the upcoming clash against Wolves. Furthermore, injuries to James Maddison and Micky van de Ven have added to Postecoglou’s woes. Regarding Maddison’s injury, Postecoglou explained, “He [Maddison] got a knock on the ankle,” while concerning Van de Ven’s injury, he added, “It’s too early. With Micky, it’s a pretty significant one.”
For at least the next three games, Tottenham will have to do without Romero and Van de Ven. Fortunately, the performance of Eric Dier, Emerson Royal, and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg against Chelsea showcased their adaptability to fill in admirably in defense. However, with Ben Davies nursing an injury sustained against Crystal Palace, there are calls for Ashley Phillips or Alfie Dorrington to step up to the plate.
Both Phillips and Dorrington have impressed at the academy level this season. Phillips, who joined the team from Blackburn in the summer, has featured in several matchday squads for the senior team. Postecoglou’s tactical inclination towards a high defensive line puts the partnership of Dier and Hojbjerg, as observed during the Chelsea match, under scrutiny. As the team gears up for their clash against Wolves, it seems Postecoglou is dropping hints about potential replacements for Van de Ven and Romero.
As the Spurs Under-21s faced off against Cambridge United on Tuesday evening, Ashley Phillips was conspicuously absent from the squad, suggesting that he may be in contention for a spot in the traveling party to Molineux this weekend. Meanwhile, Alfie Dorrington found himself in the starting XI, indicating that Postecoglou might have made a significant decision regarding the young talents. With Ashley Phillips likely to play a pivotal role in training and potentially making his way into the first team in the coming weeks, Tottenham Hotspur faces a period of transition as they adapt to these significant changes.