“With Micky it is a fairly vital one.” These weren’t the phrases from Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou that followers wished to listen to. Shortly earlier than the break of Spurs’ eventual 4-1 loss to Chelsea on Monday, Micky van de Ven pulled up with a hamstring damage. Having already misplaced Cristian Romero to a pink card some 10 minutes earlier, the north London facet had been unravelling. Think about Future Udogie’s second half ref and the defence is in tatters.
Whereas Udogie is absent for one recreation, and Romero prone to be for 3, there may be at the moment no timestamp on Van de Ven’s spell out. Supporters, although, are fearing the worst. When Postecoglou took over the reins, it was properly documented that the Australian would implement a excessive line of defense in a 4-3-3 setup so bringing in the fitting personnel was of the utmost significance.
Centre-back was one of many precedence positions for Spurs over the summer season and whereas they had been linked with a number of defenders, together with Edmond Tapsoba and Max Kilman, Van de Ven was the one Postecoglou requested. A key motive for this was the Dutchman’s restoration tempo. Van de Ven was the quickest recorded defender within the Bundesliga final season, along with his well-watched last-ditch block within the DFB-Pokal towards Union Berlin for Wolfsburg maybe the perfect instance of his searing tempo.
Supporters have bore witness to the teenager’s velocity on numerous events already this season, one such instance coming within the current 2-0 win over Fulham as Van de Ven chased down Harry Wilson late on. Whereas The Dutchman wasn’t the person to dam the Welshman’s shot, Emerson Royal standing agency to disclaim Wilson, Van de Ven’s tempo compelled the Cottagers man to chop onto his left foot and permit the Spurs backline to make up the yards to finally deny the 26-year-old.
Now, although, Spurs can be compelled to muddle via a testing interval with out their high-profile centre-back signing from Wolfsburg. This might properly show pricey for the north London facet. For any staff enjoying a excessive line of defense, they want lightening fast centre-backs to make up the yards ought to opponents break the offside lure. This was a key motive for Postecoglou’s demand to reportedly pursue the companies of Van de Ven over different centre-back targets.
As was evidenced within the loss to Chelsea, the likes of Eric Dier and makeshift centre-back Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, the 2 prone to begin towards Wolves on Saturday, simply would not have the bodily means to cowl the yards as Van de Ven does. Contemplating Wolves are the facet which have accomplished probably the most dribbles per recreation (13) within the Premier League this season, Gary O’Neil definitely has the gamers at his disposal to maximise Spurs absences on the again.
Nonetheless it isn’t simply Saturday’s journey to Molineux the place Spurs will really feel the complete results of Van de Ven’s spell on the sidelines. Postecoglou’s facet have an actual testing run of video games looming together with conferences with Aston Villa, Manchester Metropolis and Newcastle. Play the excessive line towards these three sides, and Spurs can be torn to shreds, although Romero can be again from a ban to function towards the latter.
And it isn’t simply off the ball and denying opponents the place Van de Ven has established himself as a key man underneath Postecoglou. Certainly, he ranks third for passes per 90 (66.8) of Spurs gamers to have registered no less than 300 minutes of Premier League recreation time this season, whereas solely Thiago Silva (95.8%) has a greater go success charge than the 22-year-old in England’s high tier this time period (94.6%).
In stark distinction to the reactive ways underneath Antonio Conte, Spurs have sought to dominate proceedings the place potential and that is mirrored of their 60.4% possession common this season, that rating fifth within the Premier League. Evidently, Van de Ven has been essential to the way in which Spurs construct assaults this season. Followers aren’t joking once they say Spurs lastly have their long-term successor to Jan Vertonghen on the again.
So even when the damage is not as dangerous as initially feared, any extended spell on the sidelines for Van de Ven will undoubtedly negatively affect Spurs. Postecoglou is unlikely to maneuver away from the excessive risk-high reward model of play that has delivered 26 factors from the opening 11 video games of the season. Van de Ven’s absence, although, might properly derail a number of the great work Spurs have executed thus far notably as they gear as much as face groups round them within the desk. It is a merciless blow that’s prone to come again to price Postecoglou’s facet.