Antonio Conte will be without as many as four first-team stars for the second leg of Tottenham Hotspur’s Carabao Cup semi-final clash with Chelsea this evening…
Spurs will need to overturn a two-goal deficit if they are to qualify for their second successive League Cup final but that seems an even bigger ask following a fresh injury update.
“[Eric] Dier, [Heung-min] Son, [Steven] Bergwijn, [Cristian] Romero all missing for tomorrow,” revealed Press Association Sport journalist Jonathan Veal to Twitter on Tuesday.
All four players missed the Lilywhites’ FA Cup third-round victory over League One minnows Morecambe at the weekend but the Blues present a much tougher test.
Indeed, it is an even taller order for Spurs to get a result at home this evening as all four players would have improved their chances tenfold.
Aside from Harry Kane, who has been out of form for much of the season anyway, Son is Conte’s main source of goals and creativity. He leads the squad with eight strikes, four more than the Englishman, as well as assists (three) and key passes (1.9 per game), per WhoScored.
Elsewhere, without his first-choice defensive pairing of Dier and Romero, the Italian is left short on options at the back.
It means he will have to once again fall back on Japhet Tanganga and Davinson Sanchez, who were both at fault in the first leg last week, to partner left-back Ben Davies, who has been playing centrally.
Spurs also have the small matter of the north London derby on Sunday, so it’s a tricky dilemma for Conte – does he risk the remainder of his first-team squad in a game that seems out of reach or does he try and salvage a place in the final at Wembley?
That still remains to be seen but the Italian head coach will surely be frustrated – if not gutted – by these continuous and quite frankly, major injury problems, even more so as he faces his former club once again.