Matt Doherty has been in the form of his life these past six weeks. The Dubliner has been a pivotal figure in Antonio Conte's Tottenham renaissance. As Arsenal and Manchester United stutter to the finish line, Spurs are surging into the Champions League qualifying places. Under Conte's tutelage, 'the Doc', as Spurs fans call him, has stepped out of the shadows at White Hart Lane to become a fan favourite.
Sadly, Doherty will not play any further role in Spurs' season as he ruptured his MCL injury playing against Aston Villa on Saturday evening. He's out for 12 weeks.
The injury also rules him out of Ireland's Nations League games in June. Doherty has been the most consistent performer for Ireland under Stephen Kenny and it's just so demoralising to see the injury occur while Doherty is playing so brilliantly.
Tottenham fans are especially aggrieved by the nature of the injury.
Doherty was injured in a tackle by Matty Cash in the seventh minute of the match. Doherty was claiming a pass along the touchline when the Poland international set upon him with a scissoring challenge. The tackle was aggressive and - to use a polite word - clumsy. Cash wins the ball with his right foot and sends it out of play. However Cash's left leg cut in just behind the right knee of Doherty and both of Cash's legs are at the line of Doherty's knee as he clears the Irish international out.
Referee Graham Scott did not adjudge the tackle to be a yellow card offense. Doherty was subbed off minutes later.
— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) April 9, 2022
Spurs fans were angry with the tactics used by Villa in the game. Steven Gerrard had been critical of his team for making slow starts but they absolutely tore into Spurs in the first half. There were a number of hefty challenges including one on Dejan Kulusevski by Tyrone Mings. Both Mings and Cash won the ball, and Villa fans on social media are arguing that football is, by nature, a contact sport.
However Spurs fans were not impressed, and vented frustrations last night on social media when the severity of the injury was confirmed.
Matt Doherty being out for the season is a damning indictment of Matt Cash’s preposterously excessive tackle on him for which, as I recall, he did not even receive a yellow card. For the record, Mings’ attack on Kulusevski was worse imo. Lucky not to be two players down tbh 🙏🏻
— Colin Wright (@colinwright1959) April 10, 2022
Agression by Aston Villa players in the recent spurs game was OTT…Matty Cash has put Matt Doherty out for the rest of the season and Young’s crude lunge from the back on Kane could have had the same result..
Both should have been given Red!!
— john brookhouse (@johnbrookhouse1) April 11, 2022
The level of vitriol aimed at Cash on social media from Spurs fans is a sign of how much they've embraced Doherty over the past two months.
It's very cruel on Doherty, who tried to play on for another five minutes, before heading to the showers. The incentive of playing in the Champions League would no doubt motivate him during the rehab process. Spurs sit in fourth with a game at hand on Arsenal. We hope to see Doherty back on the field soon.