While James Maddison’s injury isn’t expected to keep him out of the lineup long-term, expect Ange Postecoglou to err on the side of the caution against Bournemouth.
Journalist Paul O Keefe provided an update yesterday morning on Maddison’s injury, saying Spurs’ midfielder suffered a minor MCL strain thanks to an Antony challenge in the box against United in the second half.
The good news is that Maddison won’t be out of the lineup long.
However, there is no way Ange takes any unnecessary risk with his primary playmaker. Even if Spurs were playing a high-profile match against an elite team, Ange would make the smart call.
That smart call sees Maddison missing out at Bournemouth on Saturday. I’d be shocked if he featured against Fulham in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday.
Hopefully, that buffer provides enough time for the 26-year-old to be ready for the away trip to Burnley on Sept. 2.
If he’s not fully fit and ready to go by then, Ange will almost certainly wait for the Premier League to return from its first international break of the season before reinserting Maddison into the starting team.
So the worst-case scenario should see Maddison return by no later than the Sept. 16 match at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium against Sheffield United.
The best-case scenario should see the midfield maestro return for Tottenham’s trip to Burnley on Sept. 2.
That leaves Ange with another personnel decision on Saturday, although he doesn’t have many options to ponder.
With Rodrigo Bentancur injured and Tanguy Ndombele up excrement creek without a paddle, Ange only has one like-for-like alternative.
Yves Bissouma, Pape Sarr, and Oliver Skipp can’t play in the same midfield together, and there’s no way Ange will change his formation, so a straight swap, replacing Maddison with Giovani Lo Celso, is the most logical choice.
There are rumours suggesting Lo Celso is frustrated by his early-season absence from the starting 11, supposedly saying Ange has broken some promises.
Even if that’s the case, it’s unlikely Ange from would overlook Lo Celso, especially considering it’s the Argentine’s preferred position.
Another option would see Dejan Kulusevski step into Maddison’s role, though that option feels an iota too unnatural.
Let’s see how everything unfolds at lunchtime on Saturday, but I’d be more surprised if Maddison is named in the starting team than I would seeing Casemiro find a morsel of youth and energy before United’s next match.