Both of Tottenham’s top four rivals will welcome the news that Antonio Conte’s side will now be without one of their most important players for the remainder of the season
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Tottenham Hotspur’s hopes of a top four finish this season may have taken significant damage in the wake of Matt Doherty’s campaign-ending knee injury.
The news will put the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United on red alert as the pair currently sit behind Spurs in fifth and seventh respectively, desperately hoping to catch Antonio Conte’s troops and their ambitions of Champions League football next term.
The 30-year-old Republic of Ireland international has gone from struggling for form to one of Spurs’ most important players in recent weeks. Doherty is thriving in Conte’s system which places a lot of the attacking burden on the wing-backs shoulders. In his last five games alone, the former Wolves defender has managed to register two goals and two assists as his side hit form at just the right time.
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Unfortunately, Doherty sustained a serious knee injury during Spurs’ rampant display away at Aston Villa after a challenge from his Villa counterpart Matty Cash. The Irishman desperately tried to play on but was eventually forced to withdraw from the action and left the stadium in a knee brace.
According to football.london, Doherty has already undergone scans on his knee and they have since revealed the defender has ruptured his medial collateral ligament in his knee – leaving him sidelined for at least 12 weeks. While that is a blow for Spurs, it also means the right-back has little to no chance of representing his country in the Nations League matches in June.
It remains unclear whether Doherty will have surgery on his knee as part of his rehabilitation from the injury, but the news comes as a huge blow to Conte who is clearly a huge fan of the right-back. Pressed for comment on the severity of the knock after the Villa game, the Spurs boss insisted how important the Irishman is to his side.
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“I hope nothing serious, I hope,” the Spurs boss said on Saturday. “The doctors are going to check on him tomorrow. I hope nothing serious because he wanted to try to continue to play but then at the end he preferred to come out. I hope so because Matthew is an important player for us and I hope this injury is not serious.”
In Doherty’s absence, Spurs will now have to rely on Brazilian international Emerson Royal who has endured a mixed start to life in North London having joined the club in the summer from FC Barcelona. With seven matches left to play, Spurs are firmly in the driving seat when it comes to securing the much-coveted fourth spot.
Arsenal sit three points behind their North London neighbours with an inferior goal difference, but do still have one game in hand over Spurs. The situation is more bleak for United, who now find themselves six points adrift of Conte’s side having played the same amount of games.
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