Spurs have been dealt with a major setback as Dele Alli has been handed a 3 match ban, resulting in the end of his season in the Premiere League. Voted as the PFA Young Player of the Year last weekend, this 20 year old has had a sensational first season in the top flight.
Alli has been banned for intentionally swinging his arm into the abdomen of West Bromwich Albion’s Claudio Yacob during their 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane. Since this incident was missed by the match referee, it was onto the FA’s Independent Regulatory Commission to make a decision, and they found him guilty of the charge.
His absence will indeed dampen Tottenham’s hopes of winning their first English league title since 1961. He has scored 10 league goals this season with nine assists and will be part of England’s European Championship squad. Tottenham’s draw against West Brom will leave them seven points behind leaders Leicester City with three matches left, beginning with the trip to London rivals Chelsea.
When considering Alli’s individual performances in the long run, the decision may prove beneficial for Spurs and England. Alli has played 51 matches for club and country so far this, and only Hugo Lloris, Toby Alderweireld, Eric Dier, Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane have played more. A rest would do him good ahead of this summer’s Euro 2016.
On a shorter run, however, he is a huge loss to Pochettino, even if Leicester City manages to win against Manchester United.
Alli’s replacement is likely to be their summer signing Son Heung-min, who is still a little too fresh for the Premier League. The South Korean has shown potential, but it will be a major task to fill in Alli’s shoes, quite literally. Alli has also bettered his teammate in almost every other department.
Harry Kane will undoubtedly miss Alli the most, as the younger player has assisted seven of Kane’s 24 league goals, the most assists from one player to another in the Premier League this season.
Another possible setback could be the fact that Alli will become a marked man now. After the West Brom game, Pochettino said that opponents were trying to “provoke” him and this will only increase now that he has shown he can be wound up. England’s opponents at Euro 2016 will be watching, too.