Do you want to know why I hate the international break? This. This is why I hate the international break. Dan Kilpatrick now reports in the Evening Standard that Deki has picked up a “suspected muscle injury” while on international duty with Sweden, and is now a doubt for the North London Derby on Saturday.
I could rant about the uselessness of the National League and why in an already jam-packed season there was no reason why proactive measures could have been taken to better protect the players, but I won’t. Instead, I will look with trepidation to a North London Derby match against Arsenal at the Emirates which may have to be played without both Deki and Hugo Lloris, who is also doubtful. The Emirates is already a house of horrors for Tottenham, why not bring Halloween to north London a month earlier?
It is not catastrophic. Deki’s injury would see Richarlison become his natural replacement in a 4-3-3, Conte’s preferred formation, alongside Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min. In many ways, Arsenal are an ideal opponent for Conte’s tactics — they don’t sit very deep and frustrate Spurs going forward and they’re not a crazy aggressive team that will try to blow their opponents out of the water. But it means Conte is likely to have a short bench, especially with attacking options, and much less of a plan B than he otherwise would. Deki is the type of player who can change a game, especially as a substitute, and I worry a bit about the right side of the pitch if Emerson Royal starts — we don’t have to look too far to see examples of matches where a Royal-Richarlison right side didn’t fit nearly as well as it did with Deki there.
Or, maybe Conte throws a curveball and we start with a 3-5-2. It worked pretty well against Leicester, although that would probably mean benching Richarlison for Yves Bissouma. I don’t hold out hope that this is a realistic possibility, except as a late game tactical switch.
This sucks. Maybe we can replace Deki with a pokemon?