Tottenham Hotspur will be looking to advance into the Europa League quarter-finals as they head to the Croatian capital for the second-leg of their Round of 16 tie with Dinamo Zagreb this evening.
Jose Mourinho’s side hold a 2-0 lead thanks to Harry Kane’s double last week but the Portuguese veteran will know all too well how dangerous that scoreline can be in football.
Therefore, it gives him plenty to think about in terms of team selection ahead of kickoff.
There is, however, one decision that he needs to make above all and that’s dropping Matt Doherty from the starting XI after an abysmal performance in the north London derby on Sunday.
Having joined in a £15m deal in the summer, the 29-year-old has struggled to live up to expectations in north London, so much so that Mourinho is unconvinced over his chances of becoming a star under his stewardship.
According to ESPN, Doherty’s future is under threat with the Spurs boss considering making the Irishman available for transfer at the end of the season.
Now valued at £26m by CIES, the former Wolves man has been usurped in the pecking order by the often calamitous Serge Aurier – the very player he was supposed to replace – with Japhet Tanganga also getting game time over him, too.
There was the silly red card against Leeds United, reports of Mourinho berating him against Liverpool, and now an utterly abject display against the side he supposedly supports in Arsenal.
Doherty is the one holding Spurs back defensively.
He has started just 12 matches in the Premier League this season, though three of those have come in their last three outings, so it suggests Mourinho has preferred him to Aurier and Tanganga – at least in recent weeks.
Only twice since the turn of the year has Doherty managed above a WhoScored rating of 6.6, with shocking performances being recorded against Leeds (5.87), Liverpool (5.79) and even against West Brom (5.99).
This trend returned in yet another big game – Arsenal (6.56). He also lost possession 15 times, the second most of any Spurs player, and was dribbled past twice, as per SofaScore.
Another slight against Doherty’s record is his poor ability to stop the opposition. He averages 1.3 fouls per game in the Premier League. Only two other players to start ten or more matches have averaged more for Spurs, as per WhoScored.
Both Aurier and Tanganga have featured on the bench recently, meaning they are fit and ready, so there’s a clear and obvious replacement staring Mourinho right in the face.
He must drop Doherty tonight.
AND in other news, Spurs swoop for £34m-rated beast would deal big blow to Oliver Skipp…