The Big Beautiful Belgians are to be split up once again. Where before it was Toby who left Jan to fend for his own for several long weeks, this time the roles have been reversed and Alderweireld must plough a lonely furrow following Vertonghen’s injury.
It’s ankle ligament knack, but with Spurs unwilling to put a timeframe on his return, we must assume at least a couple of months, with the end of March perhaps a realistic hope. Of course, with the recent change in formation, Toby isn’t alone at all – he has Dier at his right hand – and assuming Poch sticks with the 343/3421/whatwaswrongwith442lumpingituptothebigman, he has two obvious candidates to fill in on the left of the three.
Big Kev hasn’t had much of a go this season and because it’s January is being linked with a move away again, but any iota of a chance that he would be allowed to go surely disappeared when Vertonghen went scampering grown the touch line chasing a ball he didn’t need to chase and rolled on his ankle.
Vertonghen’s anguish was plain to see – he’s as desperate to be a part of this incredible team as everyone else – but there may have also been some frustration that he was trying to keep a ball in play that didn’t need to be. The game was won, as it was from almost the first minute, and he was having some fun, hoping to gallop off on one of those forays into the opposition half. His pounding of the turf brought all the feels on an otherwise perfect Spurs day.
But back to his replacement. Now, when Vertonghen was injured last season, Big Kev stepped up admirably, performing to such a level that some even questioned whether he should keep his place on Jan’s return. That was never really likely, but it bodes well for this season, albeit with a caveat. Wimmer really hasn’t played much at all this season (Insert stats here to look knowledgable) and his first game back will be Man City away. Yes, yes, City are a steaming pile of expensive garbage and we will roll them over while giving Hugo the weekend off, but that’s not actually going to happen is it? We’re going to need Big Kev to be on point right away.
The other option is Little Ben Davies, who plays LCB in a three-man defence for Wales and is surely far more suited to playing there than at wing-back, where he lacks the dynamism to make the impact of our gorgeous Rose. Davies filled in for Vertonghen for the remainder of the West Brom dismantling, but I’d be surprised if Wimmer didn’t step up at the Etihad, assuming he’s fit.
I think Wimmer will be fine. He’s the perfect back-up to Vertonghen. He’s strong, good in the air and loves a fizzed slide-rule pass into Dele or Eriksen. It was Wimmer who began the move for our most beautifully simple goal last season against Bournemouth, with his pass finding Dele in space and Dele in turn sliding a ball for Harry to finish first-time.
Look, that dream first XI was never going to make it through the rest of the season unscathed, so we have to be grateful the injury has come where we have decent cover and hopefully it won’t derail our bid to come seventh in a sixth horse race or whatever.