2-2 draw with FC Basel, making their second leg much trickier. A further concern has to be Aaron Lennon, who returned from his hamstring injury for this game but had to be taken off at 24′, apparently having re-aggravated the same injury. It was 0-0 at the time, so it’s not as if this was a strategic decision to conserve him for the Sunday match with Everton. Except for Lennon, their key players played the entire match. After a match that they had to fight tooth and claw for a full 90′ plus 5′ of stoppage time, only to come away with a disappointing draw, Spurs might be feeling a little depleted. Chelsea went ahead early on a goal from Torres and seems to have had a more leisurely match as Rubin Kazan never really could make it into much of a match. Chelsea will probably be fine for hosting Sunderland on Sunday. The bad news for Spurs, however, goes from bad to worse.
In stoppage time, Gareth Bale went down with a late ankle injury serious enough to get him stretchered off. It looked serious when it happened, and, given the importance of the game (Spurs fielded a full-strength squad), it’s highly unlikely that he was merely going into histrionics to earn some rest. I’d post the video but it’s enough to turn one’s stomach; Bale’s leg gets turned a bit by a Basel defender just enough to see Bale turn his right ankle so far that the outside of his foot seems to touch the ground while his leg is still perpendicular to the ground. Just take a moment right now to see if you can calmly and slowly flex your own ankle that far. Now picture it happening to you suddenly with the full weight of your body moving at speed, forcing it to happen. Ugly stuff. I’m not even going to speculate on how this affects the Prem League just yet. Too soon for that. Bale will go in for a scan on Friday. For now, just wish the lad well. As much as I want to overtake Spurs, I want them at full-strength when we do, and, in what is becoming a bit of a refrain for me, I don’t want to beat anyone thanks to injuries to their players. This could be disastrous for Spurs—Bale will almost certainly miss a few matches, including Sunday with Everton. If I’m a Spurs fan, I’d happily trade a loss or two for Bale to be able come back sooner rather than later. Even as an Arsenal fan who is supposed to detest all things Tottenham, I want to see him come back. I’ll even go so far as to say God speed, Gareth.