The Italian head coach will certainly want to see a reaction from his team as they have slipped to fifth in the standings, some five points behind fourth-placed Manchester United.
Spurs’ defensive troubles are well-documented, having gone behind first in ten straight matches now, but they have struggled in the final third too – against Villa, they managed only two shots on target, whilst their dominance against Brentford saw just two goals scored from 15 shots and 61% possession, via Sofascore.
Harry Kane and Heung-min Son were off the pace at the weekend, whilst Conte handed Bryan Gil a rare opportunity to impress, with Dejan Kulusevski absent through injury.
That’s an experiment that may not happen again as the “lightweight” Spaniard – as once dubbed by youth coach Harry Brooks – struggled to impose himself on top-flight opposition in his first start of the season.
‘Struggled to get into the game and was too often shaken off the ball too cheaply,’ is how Evening Standard journalist Nick Purewal described Gil’s outing and it’s an all too familiar story ever since his £22m move from Sevilla in 2021.
27 appearances have seen the 21-year-old dynamo return just the solitary assist and it’s not as if he did much whilst out on loan to fellow LaLiga outfit Valencia last season as he managed the same feat in 17 outings, as per Transfermarkt.
Patrick Vieira’s men will be buoyed by their 2-0 victory over AFC Bournemouth – a team that caused Spurs some trouble back in late October as Conte needed a last-minute winner from Rodrigo Bentancur to pick up a 3-2 victory after the Cherries had gone 2-0 up.
Gil, who “struggled to make an impact” against Villa – in the words of journalist George Sessions – must therefore be axed from the starting XI ahead of tonight’s kickoff.
Despite previously being lauded as a “game-changer” by Sky Sports reporter Jamie Weir, it’s becoming increasingly obvious that the diminutive £40k-per-week ace just isn’t up to the physicality or the standard of the Premier League and as such, he must take his place on the bench at Selhurst Park.