With the most congested portion of the Premier League season rolling around, Tottenham Hotspur will have to face the festive period preparing for a New Year that will eventually be without one key attribute for a time.
Between Christmas Eve-eve, and just after the first week of the January, Spurs will have a monstrous six fixtures to play, with four Premier League matches back-to-back over an eleven day stretch.
Then, in mid-January, talented star Son Heung-min will miss at least three key Spurs fixtures after being called up by his home national of South Korea to participate in the Asian Cup.
The tournament, being held in the United Arab Emirates - despite their extremely questionable human rights record - takes place from January 5th until February 1st.
Korea coach Paulo Bento has this week named his final 23-man squad, but has allowed Spurs’ Son to miss the first two group games of the competition. He is expected to join up with the squad after January 13th, following a meeting with Manchester United.
Son would then likely miss matches against Fulham and Watford in the league, intersected with a return meeting with Chelsea in the League Cup.
However, if Korea do progress all the way, it is unlikely that Son would be able to feature for yet another EPL fixture the following day, on February 2nd, against Newcastle United.
His absence will likely give Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino yet another headache.
Not only does the Argentine manager have to contend with constant speculation linking him to taking the job at Manchester United at the end of the season, but with Vincent Janssen still not having a return date after not yet recovering from a foot injury, Fernando Llorente looking for a way out in the New Year, Harry Kane will have to remain his only out and out forward, unless some shrewd winter signings arrive in January or their is youth promotion.
This week in the League Cup Quarter-Finals, Son more than ably deputised for Harry Kane, who was omitted from the starting line-up.
The England captain came on just before the hour mark, setting up Dele Alli for a second against Arsenal, with Son having already put the visitors 1-0 up at The Emirates, and through to the last four.
Spurs will face London rivals Chelsea on January 8th in the EFL Cup Semi-Finals first leg.