Spurs were able to pull out three points from their trip to The City Ground last Friday. This seems them stay fifth in the table with 33 points, now just one behind fourth-place Manchester City. Unfortunately, however, the win came at a cost.
Tottenham midfielder Yves Bissouma is now set to serve a four match suspension after picking up a red card on a nasty challenge in the 70th minute of the Forest match. To add insult to injury, the Mali international will be gone for the better half of January as he leaves for national team duty at The Africa Cup of Nations. Ange is therefore unlikely to see Bissouma return to action until late-January at the earliest.
Spurs' other midfielder, Pape Sarr, will also be absent from the squad in January as he represents Senegal in the tournament. With the two starters out, alongside the currently injured James Maddison and Rodrigo Bentancur, Ange will have to select from another group of midfield players for the time being.
As we have seen in recent weeks, Dejan Kulusevski can slot into the central role quite nicely, playing in Maddison's number 10 spot. Giovani Lo Celso, when healthy, can also function as a playmaking and creative midfielder. The issue for Spurs will therefore arise at defensive-mid.
Ange's best holding options remain in Pierre Hojbjerg and Oliver Skipp, however, Gary Neville believes that they may hinder the squad's ability to play the fast-flowing, high-intensity football the manager strives for. Here's what the pundit had to say to Sky Sports (via TeamTalk):
"I think the way in which Ange Postecoglou asks this team to play, Skipp is a good technical player, Hojbjerg is physical, but they both lack the other side of the game. Skipp can’t get around the pitch and Hojbjerg technically isn’t good."
“But this guy (Sarr) alongside Bissouma as well, they are just perfect for the way this team wants to play. They don’t win when he doesn’t play."
“They have the energy and the technical ability with the ball, they connect the back to front, they are brave and I have to say the most important thing for Spurs is that he has got to keep these players fit, but they do lose those two in January – that’s a big problem.”
As any Spurs fan of the past few months may know, keeping players fit amid the current injury crisis has certainly been a major focus. Supporters should also be well aware of Ange's tactical purity, opting to maintain his footballing philosophy of attacking football no matter the personnel he has to operate with.
Tottenham face Everton next Saturday at home, where players like Hojbjerg and Skipp will simply have to adjust to the team's style of play.