Bale injury to curtail Tottenham Champions League ambitions
Although they have appeared shoo-ins for a top-four finish for the majority of the season, Tottenham could now find themselves friendless at 4/5 to achieve Champions League qualification.
Because in addition to a recent wobble that has seen them lose two of their last three Premier League games, Spurs now have a plethora of injury concerns to deal with.
Most prominent of these is Gareth Bale, who sustained a horrific-looking ankle injury as Tottenham were held to a 2-2 draw with FC Basel in the Europa League.
And although initial fears that the ankle was broken now appear to have had little grounding, the Welshman will still miss a minimum of two matches, whilst he could very feasibly sit out several more.
It is certain that Bale won’t feature in Spurs’ crucial upcoming tie against fellow top-four challengers Everton meanwhile, and a glance at the winger’s seasonal statistics highlight how significant his absence could prove.
Indeed, Bale has had a hand in 23 of Tottenham’s 53 league strikes this season, notching on 17 occasions, and finding the net 10 times in his past 12 appearances in all competitions.
Perhaps most telling though, is the fact that the White Hart Lane outfit haven’t won a game in which Bale didn’t score since New Year’s Day.
After maturing immensely this term, the 23-year-old’s integrity to Spurs has become all too obvious, with his blistering pace conducive to the frenetic counter-attacking play that defines Andre Villas-Boas’ side.
But another player of huge importance in this sense is Aaron Lennon, who has also been ruled out for the foreseeable future following his troublesome hamstring flaring up against Basel.
Add in the continued absence of 14-goal Jermain Defoe through a muscular problem, and Tottenham appear devoid of the pacy attacking threats that their team is moulded to cater to.
And as such, with it so difficult to gauge how Spurs will adapt without such integral cogs, it would take a brave punter to heavily invest in Villas-Boas’ charges to make the top four at 4/5.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.