“The Beast in me is caged by frail and fragile bars” – Johnny Cash
Tottenham’s beast is injured, brought down by bad luck and an atrocious Loftus Road pitch. The look of pain on Sandro’s face when he fell immediately gave Spurs fans cause for concern. The concern looks justified.
After an optimistic prognosis in the days following, the injury looks far more serious. The Brazilian has undergone knee surgery in Barcelona and now the Spurs medical team will monitor him to see how long Sandro will be missing. The hope will be the injury is not as serious as the meniscal laceration which kept the midfielder out for months at the start of last season.
Sandro’s influence this season has come as no surprise considering his performances at the end of the last two years. Taking advantage of Scott Parker’s own injury absence, Sandro has been indispensable to the team. In 27 Premier and Europa League appearances, the Beast, as he is known, has won 91 tackles and made 88 interceptions and 84 clearances. While primarily seen as a defensive midfielder, Sandro has a pass accuracy of just under 85%, including two assists and 24 key passes, with a goal for good measure.
What sets Sandro apart from others is the ferociousness and intensity to his play. Fans and teammates know that he will battle all match long for the team, that the opposition will be harried and pressured into mistakes.
His absence will be felt but Spurs have their very own of Man of Steel to step in – Scott Parker. Parker for Sandro seems a role reversal of last season. The Englishman was one of the most influential Spurs players last season until he was run into the ground, exhausted through lack of rotation.
In 29 Premier League appearances, Parker won 107 tackles, made 89 interceptions and 34 clearances. His pass accuracy was just shy of 90% and this perhaps shows the difference to Sandro. Parker tended to win the ball and pass to teammate. There is not as much to his game going forward as the Brazilian.
Like Sandro, Parker harries and hassles, is relentless in closing down the opposition and puts his body on the line. While Sandro may do this with a Latin passion, Parker does this with an English hustle and bustle.
Sandro’s injury has prompted speculation of Spurs going into the transfer market in this window to bring in cover, in case something happens to Parker, but would Daniel Levy really spend for short-term cover – what happens after Sandro’s return?
There have been suggestions to bring Lewis Holtby in early, but he appears a completely different type of player. Signing another defensive midfielder seems unlikely. Instead Tom Huddlestone and Jake Livermore are likely to stay.
Parker in his appearances since return from injury has looked rejuvenated, fresh and full of running. The Beast may be down but the Man of Steel is back.
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