Tottenham Hotspur will be looking to end a 13-year wait for silverware on Sunday afternoon as they prepare for battle with Manchester City at Wembley in the 2020/21 Carabao Cup final.
It’s been a turbulent week of mixed emotion in north London, that’s for sure. Jose Mourinho was sensationally axed after 17 months in charge of the Lilywhites, then the European Super League fiasco was brought to an abrupt end.
Newly-appointed interim head coach Ryan Mason, a former midfielder at Tottenham, steered the club to a massive three points against Southampton in the midst of all the adversity to put their top-four pursuit back on the right path.
It was finally an encouraging step in the right direction, especially given that he had less than 48 hours to prepare and instil his own mark on this struggling Spurs squad.
However, in the absence of Harry Kane through injury, the Londoners looked toothless in attack despite dominating possession against Southampton.
Again, there were further signs of positivity that Mason had quickly eradicated Mourinho’s passive tactics of sitting back as Spurs held 61% of the ball, which increased as high as 64% in the second half when chasing the game.
Both goals were a little fortuitous, too. Gareth Bale pounced on a loose ball following a defensive error before Heung-min Son slotted home a match-winning penalty in the game’s dying embers.
If you took away both goals, Spurs would have had only one shot on target for all of that possession. That’s not going to be good enough against a team like Manchester City.
It leaves Mason with plenty to ponder, even more so with Kane’s involvement still in doubt. Perhaps it is time for a lifeline to be gifted to Dele Alli, who could feel rejuvenated since the exit of his tormentor, Mourinho.
Under the so-called ‘Special One’, the 25-year-old playmaker has been restricted to just 232 minutes of Premier League action all season. However, in short appearances in the Europa League, he has still contributed towards seven goals in total.
It was only in 2016/17 that Alli found the net 18 times from midfield (and had seven assists), earning a second Young PFA Player of the Year record and also gaining numerous plaudits. Former Spurs midfielder Darren Anderton compared him to Premier League greats Paul Scholes and Steven Gerrard before going onto suggest that he was “a freak of a talent” and a “real joy to watch.”
When given regular game-time, Alli has always proven to be a huge threat in attack, managing above 0.9 key passes and 1.6 shots per game in every Premier League season since his debut, barring this tumultuous stint under Mourinho.
If Mason needs a game-changer in attack, with or without Kane, then he must turn to the £26m-rated dynamo.
An Alli remontada in a cup final to bring Levy his first trophy in over a decade – it couldn’t happen, could it?
AND in other news, Spurs could find their own Marcelo Bielsa in ‘demanding’ La Liga boss…