Speaking in his pre-match press conference (via football.london), Antonio Conte revealed that the midfielder, who has missed Spurs’ last three league fixtures due to adductor problems, is touch-and-go for the visit of the Gunners, with the Italian suggesting that he does not want to rush the 25-year-old back and risk aggravating his injury.
Regarding the current condition of the Uruguay international, the 53-year-old said: “Now to accelerate the process to risk to recovery and to lose them for a long period again, is not good, is not positive. For this reason, we’ll see [if he can play against Arsenal]. We have another training session [on Saturday] to monitor the situation well about Rodrigo.”
Considering just how important Bentancur has been in the heart of the Tottenham midfield so far this season, should the 25-year-old indeed be deemed not fit enough to feature in the north London derby this afternoon, it would undoubtedly come as a major blow to Conte and his side.
Indeed, over his 14 Premier League appearances in the current campaign, the £62m-rated talent has been in fantastic form going forwards, having already scored four goals and provided two assists, in addition to taking 0.9 shots, making 0.6 key passes and completing 1.3 dribbles – at a success rate of 54% – per game.
The £75k-per-week midfielder has also caught the eye in metrics more typical of his position, making an average of 2.6 tackles, 1.3 interceptions and winning 5.1 duels – at a success rate of 54% – per fixture, as well as enjoying an average of 64.1 touches, playing 1.6 long balls and completing 42.1 total passes – at a success rate of 86% – per outing.
These returns have seen the 54-cap international average a breathtaking Sofascore match rating of 7.27, not only ranking him as Conte’s second-best performer in the league but also as the joint 16th-best player in the top flight of English football as a whole so far this season.
As such, it is clear for all to see that Bentancur’s continued absence for the visit of Tottenham’s fiercest rivals and current table-toppers would indeed be a massive blow to Spurs’ chances of picking up a positive result this afternoon. A loss would not only see Tottenham fall behind in the top four race, but may also allow Arsenal to take one step closer to potentially securing the title.