Tottenham sweat as key first teamer now a major doubt for Arsenal clash
By Harry Sykes
Moussa Dembele is in a race-against-time bid to be fit for the north London derby on Sunday.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino admitted in the aftermath of his side’s 1-0 Premier League win against Crystal Palace on Wednesday night that Dembele is a doubt for the showdown against bitter rivals Arsenal.
The game is of huge significance, given not only the rivalry between the two clubs and the fact that it could be the final north London derby at White Hart Lane.
But Spurs remain in strong contention to win the league title after securing a remarkable eighth consecutive Premier League win.
A stunning late goal from Christian Eriksen at Selhurst Park kept Pochettino’s side within close distance of leaders Chelsea, who beat Southampton 4-2 at home 24 hours earlier.
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One sour note was that midfield kingpin Dembele was forced out of the action against Palace at the half-time break with an ankle problem.
Pochettino admitted that the Belgium international is doubtful for Sunday afternoon’s fixture.
“Mousa felt his ankle at half-time,” Pochettino said, as quoted by the Football London website. “I don’t believe that is a big thing and we need to assess him.”
The Argentine manager will be well aware that Dembele has suffered from niggling ankle problems all season, even though his injury record in the second half of the season has been impressive.
The 29-year-old has started 23 of Spurs’ 33 league fixtures this season and is a nailed-on starter when fully fit.
In other Tottenham team news, the club have terminated the contract of one of their emerging stars plucked from overseas.