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Paulinho out for month, what it means for Tottenham’s midfield

Tottenham Hotspur v Stoke City - Premier League

during the Barclays Premier League match between Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City at White Hart Lane on December 29, 2013 in London, England.

Paul Gilham

Tottenham has revealed midfielder Paulinho will face at least four weeks on the sidelines after suffering “significant ligament damage” to his ankle.

The injury occurred in Spurs’ 3-0 victory over Stoke City on Sunday when the Brazilian midfielder went down under a tackle by Charlie Adam in the 60th minute.

Tottenham’s official website broke the news:

“Following a MRI scan, the club can confirm that Paulinho has sustained significant ligament damage to his right ankle after a heavy challenge from Charlie Adam during Sunday’s win against Stoke City.

“The Brazil international was forced off as a result of the injury and is expected to be sidelined for at least four weeks.”

While Paulinho has enjoyed a solid start to life in the Premier League - scoring two goals and notching two assists in 17 appearances - he has yet to realize his full potential. With phenomenal change of pace, skill, creativity and an insatiable hunger to barn-storm the box with late runs, Paulinho has the potential to be one of the best center midfielders in the league. On too many occasions, however, his swash-buckling style has left Spurs exposed defensively.

And while no Spurs fan will be happy over the loss of Paulinho, the silver lining is the stability that could come to shape in the middle of the park during his stint on the sidelines. Under Tim Sherwood’s favored 4-4-2 formation, expect Spurs to roll out a defensively robust midfield pair from the likes of Etienne Capoue, Mousa Dembele and Sandro while also having the flexibility to work in more creative types like Christian Eriksen and Lewis Holtby.

Paulinho’s injury means he will be out for a number of key matches including this weekend’s FA Cup derby with Arsenal, as well as the New Year’s Day trip to Manchester United. He is also likely to miss Premier League fixtures against Crystal Palace, Swansea and Manchester City.

Follow @mprindi