Tottenham Hotspur take a break from league action as they look to continue their quest towards silverware under Jose Mourinho with an FA Cup fifth-round tie at Everton.
The north London outfit finally ended a run of three straight defeats by beating troubled West Brom 2-0 over the weekend, thanks to the returning Harry Kane and Heung-min Son reigniting their prolific partnership.
But Mourinho is left with plenty to ponder as games are coming thick and fast once more…
One decision facing the Special One is in the attack.
Yes, we’re likely to see Kane and Son both start, but the other places are surely up for grabs.
Against the Baggies, Mourinho handed rare Premier League starts to both Lucas Moura, who played in the no.10 role, and Erik Lamela, who was deployed out on the right.
Earlier this week, we outlined why the Brazilian still has a big part to play at the club, but for the fellow South American, the same cannot be said as he underwhelmed – it was all energy with little product.
Indeed, the 28-year-old recorded the lowest SofaScore rating (6.7) of any of Spurs’ attacking players on the afternoon and that’s ultimately poor considering Albion had the worst defensive record in the top-flight by a considerable margin – their 54 goals conceded is 15 more than any other team.
Before Lamela was hooked in the 74th minute, he managed just one accurate cross from seven attempts (14%), which meant Kane had very little to feed off whilst the winger also failed to win the majority of his duels, losing five of 15 (33%), meaning the West Brom left-back had the better of him consistently.
He was even the second-most wasteful Spurs player on the pitch as he lost possession 17 times – once every four minutes.
If Spurs have serious ambitions of progressing tonight, then Mourinho ought to play Moura, Steven Bergwijn or Gareth Bale over Lamela.
As one of the final survivors from the Andre Villas-Boas era, it’s quite a surprise to see the former Roma star still standing in N17, especially as he’s among the high earners at the club on a reported £85k-per-week, which is more than Matt Doherty, Giovani Lo Celso and Bergwijn.
Teammate Eric Dier revealed earlier in this season that Lamela “is a nightmare” because “offensively he’s so good” and “when you have the ball, he kicks lumps out of you.”
But we’ve not seen that sort of claim come to fruition in a competitive encounter in a very long time.
A series of injuries and no goal in the Premier League since September 2019 tells the full story – he has missed more games (108) than goal contributions (81) since joining Spurs in 2013, and in failing to deliver against the weak and faltering West Brom, he should not be given another start this evening.
Ruthless it may be, but a wise decision.
AND in other news, Forget Vinicius: Spurs must get £36m-rated beast with an “instinct for goals”…