Tottenham Hotspur romped into the next round of the FA Cup with a routine victory over non-league minnows Marine on Sunday evening.
Jose Mourinho’s top-flight big dogs avoided potentially the worst upset in the competition’s history, which was hardly a surprise given the strength of Spurs’ starting XI compared to the lowly eighth-tier outfit – and when you can bring on Gareth Bale as a substitute, it says it everything you need to know.
A 13-minute hat-trick from fringe striker Carlos Vinicius, a sublime free-kick from Lucas Moura and even a goal from 16-year-old prodigy Alfie Devine secured the third-round triumph.
There was a rare start for Dele Alli too, and despite his lack of game time and intense speculation over his future in north London, the 24-year-old delivered an absolute masterclass in the heart of Spurs’ engine room.
However, he did himself a world of good and made quite the statement in the process.
Before he was withdrawn in the 65th minute, Alli was on for the most touches of any Spurs player but in the end, settled for 83 of which 54 were accurate passes (86%), via SofaScore.
The creative midfielder, currently valued at €40m (£36m), also made five key passes, created two big chances, had four successful dribbles and won 80% of his ground duels.
Even though Vinicius was the man to score three of their five goals, it was Alli who pulled strings from further back, summed up by him delivering the assist for the opener that got Spurs finally off and running.
Dan Kilpatrick at the Evening Standard described him as “the architect of Tottenham’s romp,” grading his performance an 8/10 in his post-match ratings.
Alli has been linked with an exit from N17 since with former Spurs manager now taking the helm at Paris Saint-Germain as per the BBC, but after a display like that, Mourinho would be a fool to let him depart.
He could have a major part to play as they still remain in a healthy position in all domestic and European competitions.
That showing should serve as a stark warning that he has so much more to give, especially in the no.10 role.
He just needs to be given that opportunity more often – a nice but huge dilemma to have with neither Tanguy Ndombele nor Giovani Lo Celso featuring on the night.
AND in other news, Spurs transfer target dubbed “very rare” can become their next Ricky Villa…