ANALYSIS By Tottenham correspondent Tony Hughes
Dele Alli has been slapped with a restrospective three-match ban for punching Claudio Yacob during Tottenham’s 1-1 draw against West Brom on Monday night.
The Football Association announced on Thursday that the newly-named PFA Young Player of the Year has chosen not to contest a violent conduct charge by the Football Association for striking Baggies midfielder Yacob in the stomach in the first half of the clash at White Hart Lane.
The action has prematurely ended Alli’s domestic season as the FA punishment for violent conduct is three matches. The governing body confirmed the 20-year-old will miss Spurs’ final three matches of the season against Chelsea, Southampton and Newcastle.
Dele Alli is to serve a three-match suspension with immediate effect after accepting an FA charge.
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— The FA (@FA) April 28, 2016
This will force Mauricio Pochettino to make an alteration to his team, which has been unchanged for the last three matches against West Brom, Stoke and Manchester United.
Here, Football Insider assesses the options to replace Alli, who has been used predominantly in a playmaker role in recent months.
Nacer Chadli – The most likely option. The Belgian winger has had a stop-start season affected by injury but comes the closest to providing the considerable goal threat that Alli offers. Has been a second-half substitute in each of Spurs’ last five matches, including as a replacement for Alli in the last two. Chadli’s return of seven goals this season falls well short of his 13-goal haul of last season, which included a highly impressive 11 in the league. Predominantly used on the left flank by Spurs, which would likely mean Christian Eriksen being switched to the centre.
Chances of replacing Alli – 8/10
Heung Min-Son – Has showed flashes of quality in his debut campaign at White Hart Lane, mainly as a wide player cutting in from the flanks to link up with the other attackers. His work-rate and technical quality persuaded Pochettino to select him ahead of Chadli when Erik Lamela was unavailable for the recent trip to Liverpool, which ended 1-1.
Chances of replacing Alli – 7/10
Ryan Mason – The most defensive option. The Academy graduate has started only six Premier League matches in an injury-interrupted campaign after being a regular in Pochettino’s first season at the helm. A central midfielder who is better known for stopping the opposition than creating the play, the inclusion of Mason would mean Mousa Dembele being pushed forward into the No10 role.
Chances of replacing Alli – 5/10
Tom Carroll – Another Academy graduate, but more creative than Mason. Could slot into the playmaker role, but has yet to prove he can handle the physical attention of Premier League defenders in the way Alli has done so impressively this season.
Chances of replacing Alli – 3/10
In other Tottenham news, the next Eric Dier could be at White Hart Lane next season.