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Nuno Espirito Santo delivers potentially early NLD blow, as Arsenal await Tottenham this weekend

Nuno Espirito Santo has delivered an early blow ahead of this weekend’s North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham – on Steven Bergwijn.

Bergwijn, 23, had made an exciting start to the Premier League campaign. His pace and direct style has suited Nuno’s desire to play on the counter.

The Netherlands international was excellent in the 1-0 win over Manchester City, and started all three Premier League wins. But he is now injured.

Indeed, missing the 3-0 loss to Palace, he returned against Rennes – but was withdrawn just 30 minutes into the game. He was absent on Sunday.

Clearly, Bergwijn has been important to Nuno’s Tottenham. Speaking ahead of a clash at Wolves in the cup, Nuno said Bergwijn could miss Arsenal.

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“He has an ankle injury. It’s very painful and the decision was to protect his foot. The injury needs to settle down,” Nuno told Football London.

“I cannot answer that [if he will face Arsenal]. It is painful to see them out. But at the same time we’re hopeful they recover and can rejoin the group.”

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Potential Bergwijn blow: Tottenham star’s importance rapidly increasing

Jose Mourinho regularly used Bergwijn. It was a big question mark during his tenure as Spurs fans asked why, given his lack of goals and assists.

But the ex-PSV star’s work rate, speed and defensive work as an attacker makes him a crucial asset to Tottenham. He has been excellent this term.

The longer he remains at Tottenham and the more he plays – 56 games so far – he grows with importance. It is a proper blow, if he misses Arsenal.

It means Spurs will have to play Dele Alli, perhaps, out wide – but he lacks the pace and counter-attacking abilities that Bergwijn boasts.

For Bergwijn on a personal note, though, he will be pleased to see that his performances are becoming noteworthy among the fanbase.

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