The news about Defoe has taken away some of the shine from Spurs’ win at the Hawthorns which takes them to within a point of Chelsea in third place in the Premier League. After 35 minutes, Defoe went over on his left ankle as he landed after challenging for a ball as he came back into midfield during a Tottenham first half attack. He received treatment on the pitch but had to be helped off to the sideline where the physio strapped the ankle and tried to put his boot back on. Defoe was unable to continue and was carried to the dressing room for further attention. During the second half, Defoe sat with the substitutes and had crutches by his side – an ominous sign.
In his post match interview with BBC Sport, Andre Villas-Boas confirmed Defoe’s absence for 2 – 3 weeks.
“We’ll have to scan it to see if there is more damage, but hopefully it will only be two to three weeks. He has some ligament damage to his ankle.We will have to see the full extent of the injury. But we will miss him badly.”
Tottenham now face a busy schedule of matches without Defoe but with Togo’s elimination from the Africa Cup of Nation, Emmanuel Adebayor should return and be available for the weekend. Spurs are at home to Newcastle United next Saturday before playing Lyon over two legs in the Europa League. Spurs’ absence from the FA Cup provides some opportunity for him to recover and the other players to rest from the busy schedule.
Since the summer when Defoe was Tottenham’s only senior striker, Spurs fans have been looking for the club to strengthen the strike-force. Adebayor and Clint Dempsey were signed in August but Adebayor has not had enjoyed the level of success he achieved last season and Dempsey is not and out-and-out striker, adapting more to the support role behind the striker. With Adebayor to miss much of January and early February, supporters were again looking to Daniel Levy to make a signing to resolve the situation. This didn’t happen and in the first match after the window, Defoe gets injured. Everyone could see that Tottenham were taking a risk with their chances of making the Champions League but the powers that be made a decision not to strengthen in that area.
I was chastised on Twitter for saying that Tottenham had “no strikers” – and was reminded that we had Defoe, Harry Kane and Jonathan Obika. Neither of the young players are likely to play a large part in helping the club achieve their goal of a top 4 finish and qualification for next season’s Champions League.
What I actually meant was, “No striker signed” and now we are left in an unfortunate situation. Adebayor could return next weekend and will definitely be back in time for the Lyon match at White Hart Lane as long as he avoids injury, which will provide some options for the manager.
It was a high risk strategy for Tottenham to attempt to go through the whole season with only two experienced strikers, today’s injury to Defoe may make them realise the foolishness of the decision.