As the Tottenham Hotspur, starting XI dropped for the north London derby, the realisation that Cristian Romero will be missing the game is a blow for Spurs.
Before the big showdown started, Tottenham Hotspur took the first significant blow in the north London derby. Some rumours floated around Twitter before the lineup was announced that Romero had been complaining of hip pain. Do not get us started on Argentinians with hip problems. With the lineup out, we realize that Romero is indeed injured and not playing.
Sanchez is replacing Romero for Tottenham
Instead of Romero, Davinson Sanchez is back in the Tottenham lineup at right-back, with Ben Davies and Eric Dier each keeping their place in front of Hugo Lloris. Sanchez performed well for much of his time under Antonio Conte when Romero was out over the winter. However, over the last two months, Sanchez has barely played an hour of football.
Sanchez last played for 12 minutes at the end of the Liverpool match and for 16 minutes at the end of Brentford – both draw for Spurs. Before that, the last time Sanchez saw any significant time was his 38 minutes in the 5-0 thrashing of Everton. Rusty or not, here he comes.
Nothing else changed for Spurs
Besides the big news of Romero missing the game, nothing else has changed from the Spurs team that drew with Liverpool at the weekend. Emerson Royal and Ryan Sessegnon kept their places at wing-back, while Pierre Hojbjerg and Rodrigo Bentancur will continue to hold down the midfield.
The midfield battle, in particular, will be critical as Arsenal are likely to have superior numbers in the middle of the pitch, meaning Spurs will need enormous efforts from both Bentancur and Hojbjerg.
Of course, Spurs are starting their front three of Heung-min Son, Harry Kane, and Dejan Kulusevski, who hope to get at the Gunners fullbacks today. And while Romero’s absence is the big news, for now, it will be the 11 on the pitch that determines the outcome in the end. We sure hope Cuti is better soon and has something to play for when he returns!