Tottenham became the first club in the Premier League not to sign a player since the introduction of the summer transfer window in 2003. They are now beginning to rue the missed opportunity to acquire new talent, with their growing injury list.
The first major worry for Tottenham Hotspur is Christian Eriksen. The Dane has been out of action for a number of weeks due to a stomach injury, which his agent has now informed the media could be a chronic injury. He has not confirmed how long he will be out for but it could be weeks or months, which will be a huge blow for Spurs who are lacking a creative spark in the middle.
Furthermore, Jan Vertonghen is expected to be out until December after picking up a hamstring injury in Spurs’ 2-0 win over Huddersfield. Vertonghen had been one of Spurs best performing players this season and his replacement Davinson Sanchez has had a shaky start.
Spurs have also missed Dele Alli who has been out with a hamstring injury after he captained Spurs in their penalty shootout victory over Watford in the League Cup. No official return date has been set but it is speculated that he will be available by the end of the month.
Left-back Danny Rose had to pull out of the England squad after picking up a groin injury, whilst Michel Vorm, Moussa Dembele and Serge Aurier still remain on the treatment table, adding more woes to Mauricio Pochettino and reducing his squad size, which does not allow for adequate rotation.
Spurs have had their joint-best start to a Premier League season, picking up 18 points from 24 available. However, this excellent headline hasn’t disguised the poor performances from a team that in previous years have been used to brushing aside recently promoted opposition. Instead, Tottenham are struggling to get running and even getting over the line against 10-man Cardiff proved difficult.
After taking the lead early against Cardiff City thanks to Eric Dier, Spurs really struggled to create chances even though they had 78% possession. When on the ball, the Lilywhites were unable to create decent chances, resorting to shooting from distance or tighter angles, leading to a poor average shot quality. The high number of shots did not trouble Cardiff keeper Neil Etheridge, who is having an excellent season.
Spurs, however, will be boosted by the return to form of star striker Harry Kane whose performances against Cardiff City and Barcelona in the Champions League are reminiscent of last season. Kane, who has struggled to get going at the start of 2018/19 after a busy summer, seems to be back in form. He found an extra yard against Barcelona to get a shot on goal and finish calmly.
One concern for Spurs’ is the form of Lloris who has been extremely error-prone, making a number of mistakes in the build-up to goals and his passing has been abysmal since his return from injury.
In their upcoming match against West Ham, Tottenham will be hoping the renewed form of Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura, who was recalled to the Brazil side after a 2-year absence, will carry them through the difficult patch.
Meanwhile, at the London Stadium, after a very poor start losing their first four games, West Ham managed to turn things around with excellent performances and wins over Everton and Manchester United as well as a 0-0 draw against Chelsea, so their 1-0 loss to Brighton came as a bit of a surprise.
Manuel Pellegrini’s side went 1-0 down in the first half after Glenn Murray scored, and looked the weaker side. Even a strong half-time team talk wasn’t enough to turn things around for West Ham who were at least much improved in the second half.
West Ham will be raring to go against one of their fierce London rivals. Spurs play the Hammers twice in a period of 11 days as they come up against each other in the League Cup, a replay of last years’ fixture where West Ham stunned Wembley to win 3-2. Spurs will be hoping to get their revenge.
Marko Arnautovic’s form has been excellent this season and he will come up against Davinson Sanchez at the back, who has struggled to replicate his fine form from last season. The 22-year-old Colombian centre-back was exposed heavily against Barcelona and Cardiff City. It will be an interesting battle between the two and if form is anything to go by Arnautovic should be able to create a number of chances for himself.