Ange Postecoglou could be without five senior players as Tottenham head to Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Friday
Tottenham return to Premier League action just four days after beating Fulham with another London derby against Crystal Palace. Having been forced to wait over a fortnight for the meeting with the Cottagers, following the October international break with Spurs also kicking off match week 8 against Luton, it is a very quick turnaround for Ange Postecoglou’s side as they aim to go five points clear at the top of the table.
Goals from Son Heung-min and James Maddison secured all three points at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Monday night with Brennan Johnson and Giovani Lo Celso welcomed back from injury. Yves Bissouma’s suspension saw Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg make his first start of the season, although the Mali international is set to return against the Eagles.
Destiny Udogie and Pape Matar Sarr were both taken off midway through the second half against Fulham making them both injury doubts for Friday, however, Postecoglou has ruled neither out of the game with Sarr’s withdrawal not injury-related.
“The two main ones from the other night are Pape and Destiny,” he said on Thursday. “Pape is fine, he bounced back sort of 24 hours after the game. He had a bit of an illness but has trained well. Destiny we are still going to assess. It is a short turnaround from the other night. We’ll have a look today, see how things go, and decide that. Everyone else has come through fine and is available.”
Udogie being out of the game would be a huge blow for Postecoglou given his start to life in north London. In terms of options to play instead of him, Emerson Royal appears the most natural replacement with the Brazil international also the player who came on for Udogie against Fulham.
Alternatively, if Postecoglou wants a left-footed replacement, there is another option available in Ben Davies who was not on the table against Fulham. When asked about the Wales international, he said: “He got a knock the day before training. It is fair to say our training at times teeters on the edge and unfortunately, he copped a nasty one in training. Just a knock but it was the day before the game so it kept him out. He has training and is fine and ready to go.”
While Davies can return, one player still a few weeks away from doing so is Rodrigo Bentancur, with Postecoglou revealing recently that he has started completing full training sessions with his team-mates. Ryan Sessegnon is another working his way back to fitness, although he is significantly behind Bentancur, as revealed by Postecoglou.
“Nah, long-term mate, still a way to go,” Postecoglou said. “It’s tough for him, it’s hard. When people ask me about being motivated, look at players like Ryan who have done nothing wrong but are working their backside off every day to try to get back. If you need motivation as a footballer, there’s plenty of it around. You may not be playing or playing as much as you want but you’re still in a good space where you can at least afford yourself the opportunity to play whereas guys like Ryan have got to work hard to get back to the group.
“He’s got a lot of support here, the medical team and sports science staff work hard with him and he’s still part of the team on a daily basis so we’ve just got to get him back to a space where he’s physically able to participate again.” Alongside Bentancur and Sessegnon, Manor Solomon, Ivan Perisic, and Alfie Whiteman remain absent while Hugo Lloris is still yet to appear in a matchday squad.
Goalkeepers: Guglielmo Vicario, Fraser Forster
Defenders: Pedro Porro, Cristian Romero, Micky van de Ven, Destiny Udogie, Ben Davies, Emerson Royal.
Midfielders: Yves Bissouma, Pape Matar Sarr, James Maddison, Giovani Lo Celso, Bryan Gil, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Oliver Skipp
Attackers: Richarlison, Alejo Veliz, Son Heung-min, Dejan Kulusevski, Brennan Johnson