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Tottenham Hotspur: Oliver Skipp and Bryan Gil may start amid Spurs injury concerns

Journalist Rob Guest has claimed that Tottenham Hotspur manager Antonio Conte will be ‘praying’ Dejan Kulusevski is fit to play in the club’s next game but may have to start Bryan Gil instead.

What’s the word?

It’s been a slow start to life back in the Premier League for Spurs following the break for the World Cup as they have picked up just one point from their last two fixtures.

At least, Conte’s men could finally get back to winning ways as they travel away to Crystal Palace on Wednesday night. Though that won’t necessarily be an easy fixture with the Eagles impressively defeating Bournemouth 2-0 in their last outing.

To make things more complicated, it sounds as though senior regulars Rodrigo Bentancur and Kulusevski are big doubts for the game, as well as Yves Bissouma being suspended, so Spurs may have to field a weakened team.

In an article for football.london, Guest explained: “Antonio Conte will be praying that Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski are fit enough to take their place in the team at Crystal Palace after missing out against Aston Villa through injury. If both still remain on the sidelines, the boss is going to have a couple of big decisions to make in terms of his starting XI.”

He then added: “If Bentancur is not fit enough to play, Oliver Skipp should take the suspended Yves Bissouma’s place in midfield ahead of Pape Matar Sarr. Although the Senegal international was a rare bright spot in the Villa defeat, Skipp’s experience will probably see him get the nod and he can help give Spurs some presence in the middle of the park.

“Bryan Gil should be handed a second successive Premier League start only if Kulusevski remains on the sidelines.”

Will Bryan Gil ever come good for Spurs?

Yes

Yes

No

No

Chance to shine?

Interestingly, Sarr was the second best rated player from Spurs’ clash with Aston Villa last time out, as he came off the bench and was given a 6/10 by Alasdair Gold.

Dejan Kulusevski has missed out on Tottenham’s last game against Aston Villa due to a muscle injury. This did allow Gil to come in and get his first league start of the season, but he was unable to help much as his side slumped to defeat – picking up a lowly 6.4 match rating on SofaScore.

The Sweden star remains a doubt with Conte recently saying: “Kulusevski is not a serious injury but you know we need to monitor it day by day and tomorrow and then we take the best decision. I don’t know [if he can face Palace].”

Bentancur also missed that same game with an injury and looks set to miss the next game. His manager said: “He’s still not ready and also for the FA Cup game but we hope to have him back for the next Premier League game.”

Against Villa, his replacement Bissouma picked up a fifth booking of the season and so he’ll be out too. At least this could hand Oliver Skipp a rare chance to impress. The midfielder has started just twice in the league this term, partly due to fitness issues, and will no doubt be desperate to make a positive impact.

Conte has made it clear that he wants to improve his squad this January with some new signings. However, if these squad players like Gil and Skipp can deliver against Palace, perhaps the Italian will have second thoughts about who exactly he wants to bring in this winter.