Tottenham have looked on another level recently, with impressive wins appearing to come as second nature to the North Londoners.
The team has adopted a new formation, with three at the back, which has given unprecedented freedom to the full-backs.
It’s been a revelation. The side still has the best defensive record in the league with only 14 goals conceded thus far, and the second best goal difference only behind league leaders Chelsea.
However, with the news that Vertonghen could be out for between six to ten weeks, Pochettino could be forced to amend a winning formula without one of his defensive heroes.
He is faced with a few options.
It would make sense to stick with the system that’s brought about so much success since Christmas, so the natural option would be to stick Kevin Wimmer in the mix.
The Austrian has only made seven club appearances in all competitions this season though, but has looked competent when called upon.
Additionally, in the absence of Alderweireld last season, it can’t be forgotten that it was Wimmer who filled in more than adequately.
Wimmer could be a good fit as a straight swap but hasn’t much game time under his belt. The alternative option in a back 3 would be to play Ben Davies in the left-full-back position.
Tottenham are in the incredibly fortunate position of having two top left-sided defenders in their roster, which could come in handy.
As a natural left-back, however, Pochettino must ensure that Davies doesn’t wander out of the more central position, or leave the left flank exposed in any attacking endeavours he might undertake.
A final option would be to revert back to a 4-2-3-1. This could be a viable option, but Pochettino would lose the new found extra attacking dynamic that Rose and Walker have established.
Presumably, Dier and Alderweireld would resume their defensive duties with the full backs taking on a deeper role.
It could either be regarded as the negative option, or the safe tried-and-tested option, which you could argue wouldn’t be unwise against opposition like City.
That said, with both sides recently being on the end of very different results, it’d be maddening not to see a positive decision made in Vertonghen’s unavailability.
The manager will more than likely stick with the back three, to try and preserve the fluidity which has recently proved so fortunate, but is certainly faced with a selection headache for a couple of months now.