The timing of the tournament is not ideal from Spurs’ perspective and they will selfishly hope to have the forward back sooner rather than later
Tottenham are still fighting on four fronts at the beginning of 2019 and the games are piling up as they compete for glory.
Mauricio Pochettino’s men are challenging for the Premier League title, the FA Cup and are in the semi-finals of the Carabao Cup, with Champions League last 16 action against Borussia Dortmund to come in February.
After a busy festive schedule, there is no let up for Spurs, but their task has been made somewhat more difficult due to the fact that one of their best players, Heung-min Son, will be unavailable for a number of weeks.
The forward, who already missed a number of games in August due to his participation in the 2018 Asian Games, has been selected by South Korea for the 2019 Asian Cup, meaning he could potentially miss five games in what is a crucial period of Pochettino’s charges.
How many games Son will miss exactly depends entirely on how well South Korea fare at the continental tournament, which concludes on February 1.
He missed his country’s first match against the Philippines as he helped Spurs to a 1-0 win over Chelsea in the first leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final, but he will be available for their upcoming bout with China, which takes place on January 16.
So which Spurs games could he miss?
|Jan 20||Fulham vs Tottenham||Premier League|
|Jan 24||Chelsea vs Tottenham*||Carabao Cup|
|Jan 26||Crystal Palace vs Tottenham*||FA Cup|
|Jan 30||Tottenham vs Watford*||Premier League|
|Feb 2||Tottenham vs Newcastle*||Premier League|
*Depending on how South Korea perform
Spurs fans will be glad to learn that Son will be available for the crunch clash against Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s resurgent Manchester United at Wembley on January 13.
“It’s not easy for me to leave the team at this important time,” Son told Sky Sports. “I feel very sad and sorry but I want to win this game [against United] and go with confidence to Dubai.”
South Korea have qualified from Group C and progress to the knockout stage of the Asian Cup, meaning he will miss the Premier League game against Fulham on January 20.
Should they reach the quarter-final, the 26-year-old will be absent for the decisive second leg of the Carabao Cup semi-final against Chelsea and, most likely, the FA Cup fourth-round tie with Crystal Palace.
A place in the semi-final of the Asian Cup for South Korea will keep Son out of Spurs’ league game at home to Watford and reaching the final will rule the forward out of the Premier League encounter with Newcastle United.
In the worst possible scenario from a Spurs perspective, Son will be back for the Premier League game against Leicester City on February 10.
Son is not the only high profile star who will be competing at the Asian Cup and thus potentially missing a sizeable period of club football.
Newcastle United will be without Ki Sung-yeung, who is also in the South Korea squad, and Yoshinori Muto, who has been called up by Japan.
Brighton have to make do without their first-choice goalkeeper Mat Ryan, who is representing Australia and they will also be unable to call upon Alireza Jahanbakhsh, who is playing for Iran.
PSV duo Trent Sainsbury and Aziz Behich are also in the Australia squad, as is Celtic star Tom Rogic. Southampton must make do without Japan captain Maya Yoshida.
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