After further unfortunate bans, Ange Postecoglou will once again have a small squad to work with when Everton visits. After being shown his fifth yellow card of the season during Tottenham’s 2-0 victory against Nottingham Forest on Friday night, Destiny Udogie was given a one-match ban and will have to watch from the sidelines.
Yves Bissouma, who received a red card for a high challenge on Ryan Yates, will also be watching from the stands. Due to his second booking of the season, the Mali international will serve an additional game in addition to the standard three-match suspension for a straight red, meaning he will miss Spurs’ next four games.
It’s the last thing Postecoglou wanted right now as the Lilywhites try to win three straight games despite a number of players sidelined with injuries. When questioned about his team’s disciplinary trouble during the press conference following the game, the manager stated that his players needed to learn how to play their style of football “without crossing a line”.
“Well, it’s an issue but it’s not so much discipline,” he replied. “As I mentioned earlier, I haven’t seen a slowed-down version tonight, but it’s more of a desperate than malevolent move.
I was impressed by the boys’ dedication, even if they are still learning how to play our football without going over boundaries. We regrettably paid a price since it’s not just one game; he clearly misses a significant amount of football, but that’s life.”
It was perhaps Cristian Romero’s great fortune to avoid a one-match ban for the Everton encounter; it appeared as though he would receive a warning for a foul on Cheikhou Kouyate, but the referee decided to spare him. The Argentina international, like Udogie, has already received four yellow cards in the Premier League this season; a fifth would have resulted in a suspension.
There’s still a chance that the World Cup winner will miss the match against Brighton & Hove Albion because the deadline for a one-match suspension for receiving five yellow cards in the first 19 Premier League games of the season doesn’t occur until after the final whistle in that match. Postecoglou will be worried about more than simply Romero, though.
After receiving a yellow card for a foul in the 54th minute at the City Ground, Pape Matar Sarr has received four yellow cards this season in the Premier League. Postecoglou and Spurs are truly lacking in players with Bissouma, Rodrigo Bentancur, and potentially Giovani Lo Celso if he doesn’t recover in time for the Everton match cannot afford to have any more midfielders absent from action.
It means Sarr is going to have to tread very carefully indeed in the next two fixtures against the Toffees and Brighton. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Dejan Kulusevski and Pedro Porro are next in line on three yellow cards, meaning they would have to be booked in both of Tottenham’s next games to receive a one-match ban for the showdown against Bournemouth on Sunday, December 31.
Having a real headache with injuries of late, it is now suspensions that are causing Postecoglou and Tottenham a real issue.