Gareth Bale may be unavailable on Sunday
According to a report by Goal.com, Tottenham Hotspur's Gareth Bale has sustained a hamstring injury that may prevent him from featuring on Sunday in the match versus Manchester United. The winger apparently suffered the injury on Tuesday in preparation for Wales' international friendly versus Costa Rica the following day -- a match in which he missed. The report states that Bale has a Grade 1 tear -- which is the least severe on a three-grade scale -- and if that diagnoses is accurate, recovery typically takes 10-21 days. Quite obviously, this would leave him doubtful for Sunday's clash at White Hart Lane.
Bale -- the reigning PFA Player of the Year -- is a key player for his side's attack as he features both as a direct winger down the left touchline and also in a free role at times behind a lead striker. The former role is when Spurs deploy a 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 system while the latter role occurs when Bale plays behind a lone striker -- and ahead of three central-midfielders -- with the freedom to roam between the lines. Spurs will already without midfielder Scott Parker due to his sending-off last weekend in their 2-5 away defeat by Arsenal FC in the North London derby. This perhaps will limit Spurs' option of a 4-3-2(in free roles)-1 shape as their only viable options in central-midfield would only be Luka Modric, Sandro, and Jake Livermore. I suppose they could put Niko Kranjcar in the middle but we all saw how much of a disaster that can be at Old Trafford in August. If Spurs seek a deputy for Bale in a 4-4-2/4-4-1-1 shape, then either Kranjcar or Danny Rose would be the most likely candidates on the left flank. Both Rafael van der Vaart and Kyle Walker also missed midweek international matches due to ankle knocks but their status for Sunday is unknown at this time.