I do not think so much interest has ever focused solely on the foot of one man since Aldo Duscher face-planted David Beckham with his ferocious Champions League challenge in 2002. No perhaps that is not fair. How can we forget the furore over the broken foot of Wayne Rooney in 2006 after being trod on by Paulo Ferreira?
But now it is the sprained ankle of Gareth Bale that has everyone all a fluster; in specific regard to this coming weekend.
Will Bale be fit to play Manchester City on Sunday?
Tottenham Hotspur take on Manchester City at White Hart Lane on Sunday and after recent results it is a truly massive game for both teams. Spurs’ form has dipped dramatically since their victory in the North London Derby looked like sealing a Champions League spot. In fact at the time I remember a few pundits even suggesting they might just catch City in second place.
That did not happen and along with plummeting out of the Europa League to Basel their fortunes in the Premier League have not been helped by dropping points against Liverpool, Fulham and Everton which has seen AVB’s men drop to fifth place in the league table.
To make matters worse their star man Gareth Bale has been injured.
The Welshman is largely expected to be awarded both the PFA Player and Young Player of the Year awards for this season after an extremely impressive campaign.
With that in mind it was no wonder there was such panic when he crumpled to the ground against Basel in London; the victim of an awkward landing courtesy of a Philipp Degen challenge.
But this week there has been conflicting reports about his fitness. Some have been saying he is definitely out, others he is 50-50 whilst today it seems he will almost certainly play a part in the game despite reports of a set-back in his recovery.
For City it is also vital that Bale is not firing on all cylinders. They have done well to come back from the brink after defeat to Everton with three wins on the bounce, including one against their neighbours, seeing them close the massive chasm to Manchester United to something slightly more manageable.
However dropping points at Spurs would leave United just a whisker away from lifting the trophy; possibly at the Emirates in a weeks’ time.
While it is obviously a team game there is little doubt that a lot of clubs fates this season could hinge on the ankle of one individual player.
image: © apasciuto