As recently as last season it was impossible to think that Spurs would miss an injured Mousa Dembele.
The Belgian was a peripheral figure in Mauricio Pochettino’s debut season at the club. Though undoubtedly skilful, it seemed likely that Demebele would never fulfil his potential at White Hart Lane.
Perhaps it was the summer rumours of a move to Sunderland that gave Dembele the kick-start he needed. Whatever the motivation, Dembele emerged this season as a slimmer, fitter figure, whose use of the ball was far more intelligent.
He’s now one of the most important members of Pochettino’s side, but having picked up a groin strain looks set to be absent for two weeks, missing the North London derby.
With Dembele out, his place alongside Eric Dier is up for grabs. Tom Carroll has featured regularly in recent weeks but is currently injured himself. Nabil Bentaleb and Ryan Mason have recovered from their own fitness problems, though both look off the pace. Finally, there is the option of dropping Dele Alli deeper, yet that will rob the team of his creativity nearer to goal.
Personally, we’d go for Alli, leaving Bentaleb and Mason for the Europa League. Give your verdict in our poll below.