Tottenham Hotspur have been dealt a frustrating setback ahead of their return to Premier League action this evening…
Following the postponement of Sunday’s north London derby, the Lilywhites head to the Midlands to face Leicester City, who themselves have not played for nearly three weeks.
Antonio Conte’s side are on the cusp of breaching the top four and do hold several games in hand, though their task is a little harder without the availability of one key starter.
It appears as if Spurs will still be without centre-back Eric Dier after a fresh update was revealed during the Italian’s pre-game press conference.
“For Eric, we have to wait a bit, and also have a bit of patience, and not take a risk,” he said (via the club’s official website).
This will come as a gutting blow to Conte as he will surely have liked his first-choice and best ball-playing defender fit to feature against the Foxes, who had been challenging for a Champions League spot regularly over the last few seasons.
Brendan Rodgers has a strong attack at the King Power Stadium, where the likes of Jamie Vardy, Kelechi Iheanacho and summer signing Patson Daka feature, and they are often supported by the midfield talents of Harvey Barnes, James Maddison and Youri Tielemans.
Dier will be a big miss if any of those are involved tonight.
“He has a great space for improvement but we are talking about a really good player, strong physically with a good personality and good technically because he was a midfielder,” Conte told reporters (via the Daily Mail) back in December. “This role is perfect for him. He has to continue this way because he can become one of the best central defenders.”
Indeed, the Englishman looks very comfortable in this system, having registered an 87.9% passing accuracy in four of his last five league appearances, as per WhoScored.
There is also Japhet Tanganga, who has been at fault for some of their conceded goals against Chelsea and Morecambe in recent cup games. Meanwhile, left-back Ben Davies has been slotted into the back-three due to the lack of left-footed options.
Conte also has Cristian Romero absent through injury and he would take one of the places mentioned above, so to be without Dier for this clash is certainly frustrating.
The Italian could quite rightly be fuming heading into kickoff this evening.