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What next for Tottenham after Molineux defeat?

Tottenham were not expected to be battling it out at the top of the Premier League this season following Harry Kane’s departure to Bayern Munich and there will be plenty of people predicting that they will soon fall down the table now they have lost a couple of games.

New manager Ange Postecoglou will have plenty of time to ponder on his team conceding two injury-time goals to lose at Wolves due to the international break, and the popular Aussie will have to come up with some ideas as to how his team will cope with some key injuries.

The first setbacks

Tottenham went into their Monday Night Football date with Chelsea unbeaten but it was their former boss Mauricio Pochettino - now in charge of Stamford Bridge - celebrating after a 4-1 win.

Spurs got off to a great start when Dejan Kulusevski gave them a sixth-minute lead, but things soon turned sour when both James Maddison and Micky van de Ven left the game injured, and Cristian Romero and Destiny Udogie were sent off.

The nine men did their best to hold out and it wasn’t until injury time that Chelsea started coasting, but things got worse for Spurs on Saturday at Molineux.

Again Spurs had a great start with Brennan Johnson’s third-minute goal, but they were stung twice in injury-time by goals from Pablo Sabrabia and Mario Lemina.

Maddison’s absence may be keenly felt

While Kane’s departure grabbed all the headlines in north London over the summer, Tottenham did some good transfer business and the addition of Maddison from Leicester had the biggest immediate effect.

A creative central midfielder is something that Tottenham had lacked since Cristian Eriksen’s departure and Maddison settled immediately, scoring three goals and creating five as the quality of his set-pieces became a potent weapon.

The England midfielder, who has been ruled out until the new year with an ankle injury, has come to epitomise the attacking style that Postecoglou has installed and Maddison’s performances have helped the fans stay invested in the post-Kane Tottenham era.

Anything that would see Spurs move back to the less palatable style of Antonio Conte where they struggled to create opportunities would not be welcome, because it has not just been the results that have warmed the hearts of Tottenham supporters but their style of play too.

Van de Ven leaves a big hole in defence

Van der Ven has become a cult hero in N17 and his performances have been impressive with his pace a massive asset.

The Dutchman’s pace will be missed while he nurses his way back to action from the hamstring injury that looks set to keep him out for six weeks, but also his presence in the opposition area after he scored the winner in their 1-0 victory at promoted Luton.

The central-defensive area is also going to be a concern for the next couple of matches, as Romero will be banned for their next two against Aston Villa and Manchester City.

The Argentinian is an accomplished performer but is prone to disciplinary issues, and it has become apparent Udogie can almost be put in the same bracket following his two bookings against Chelsea.

So this is another area that the manager has to address.

Postecoglou unlikely to panic

Every season is going to provide its setbacks and Postecoglou, winner of the first three manager-of-the-month awards of the season, has enough credit in the bank already for Tottenham fans to trust him to get them back to winning ways.

Maddison will be a big loss but the new manager at least benefits from the return of Rodrigo Bentancur, who is playing his way back to full fitness after a knee injury.

His absence at the end of last season was the catalyst for Tottenham’s collapse and Conte’s departure and he has always looked a classy performer following his arrival from Juventus.

There was a feeling that Conte never let the handbrake off as far as the Uruguayan was concerned and as Yves Bissouma and Pape Sarr have impressed in the defensive-midfield roles, he could flourish in Maddison’s absence.

Defensively, Romero will be a big miss for the next two games, but Ben Davies seems a sensible option at left centre-back, where he played in the Wolves defeat.

The Welshman may not be able to bomb on like other full-backs at the club such as Emerson Royal and Pedro Porro, so that seems his natural berth and he has never let Spurs down playing there.

What seems unlikely is any frantic moves in the transfer market especially as Tottenham have eight more Premier League games before the window opens and a lot can happen.

Postecoglou will at least be content that he has a couple of decent options to plug the gaps.

Big tests coming up

One thing for sure is that Spurs face four key matches when the international break is over.

Aston Villa head to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium first and they are 7/4 to claim a win on Sunday 26th November.

Unai Emery’s team won 2-0 at Spurs on New Year’s Day, but while their home form has been particularly strong, they were poor the last time they were on their travels, losing 2-0 at Nottingham Forest.

Spurs are available at 13/10 to win the game while the draw can be backed at 14/5.

Postecoglou’s team then face a trip to champions Manchester City, who have beaten them in just two of their last eight league meetings, before home matches against West ham, which is always a keenly contested fixture, and Newcastle.

The results from those four matches will give a big indication as to what we can expect from Spurs for the rest of the season and there is no doubt that, after their last two defeats, they are going to have plenty of work to do.

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