When Tottenham spent big on Serge Aurier during the summer, the natural assumption was that he’d eventually be integrated into the team at the expense of Kieran Trippier and particularly for the big games, where his natural athleticism and dynamism would pay dividends in counter-attacking scenarios on wide pitches.
Perhaps that was Mauricio Pochettino’s plan after parting with Kyle Walker, knowing the Lilywhites would have to modify their game to make the best of a year-long stay at Wembley, and Trippier’s ineffectual performance against Chelsea at the start of the season appeared to justify it.
But since then, the England international’s form has been nothing short of imperious and particularly in the heavyweight encounters. While Aurier struggled to impact in the 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford last Sunday, Trippier grabbed an assist against Liverpool the weekend previous in an impressive all-round display and it was a similar case last night as Real Madrid travelled to Wembley.
The European champions weren’t quite themselves but that shouldn’t away from a stunning Spurs performance in which Trippier played a key role, ranking first throughout the Tottenham team for chances created – including the assist for Dele Alli’s opener – and tackles.
That highlighted how Trippier made vital contributions both in and out of possession, and tellingly of how influential he was on Tottenham’s overall performance, none of Mauricio Pochettino’s players had more touches of the ball.
No doubt, Aurier – who Transfermarkt value at £13.5million – is a talented defender who adds much-needed depth to Tottenham’s squad. But the longer Trippier’s form continues, the more Pochettino will struggle to justify starting the Ivorian in the important games he was seemingly brought in for.
In many ways though, that’s a good headache for the Lilywhites to have – and perhaps the biggest testament to both is how quickly Walker’s been forgotten about in north London.