Jose Mourinho will still be without Tottenham Hotspur’s leading talisman Harry Kane when his former club Chelsea come to town later this evening.
He’ll be wanting to see a reaction from his side after suffering back-to-back defeats in the Premier League, leaving them outside the top five despite once holding the top spot in mid-December.
Beating their arch-rivals, who have momentum from the appointment of Thomas Tuchel, will be even harder without the 27-year-old top goalscorer but Mourinho can at least alleviate the pain by unleashing back-up striker Carlos Vinicius.
That’s why he was signed in the summer, after all.
We’ve already outlined why a U-turn over Dele Alli is needed in the coming weeks with no Giovani Lo Celso return in sight and a severe lack of creativity, but the Brazilian loanee should join him among the starting XI at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with no Kane.
If you bring back an attacking outlet capable of laying on the goals, then it’s only right that there’s a proper striker there to convert said chances, and that would also keep Heung-min Son in his favoured left-forward role.
The 25-year-old has very much been limited to a bit-part role, but it was astonishing to see him not named in the lineup at Brighton on Sunday.
Whenever given a chance, he has delivered so far, even if it’s against lower league or perceived weaker opposition. As per Transfermarkt, Vinicius has bagged six goals and has also provided three assists in only 541 minutes of action.
That is a goal contribution once every 60 minutes.
During the short amount of time we’ve seen him feature, he’s earned glowing praise from Glenn Hoddle, who dubbed him “exciting” and Peter Crouch, who told BT Sport 2 (26th November, 09:55 am) that he’s a “fantastic backup” to Kane.
Former Spurs boss Harry Redknapp has even urged to see more of him. He told Stadium Astro:
“They tell me the Brazilian boy is a fantastic player, the centre forward, people at the club,” before adding: “He was the leading scoring in Portugal last year and people tell me he’s a top, top player. Maybe it’s a chance to play him now.”
Chelsea’s team news is also encouraging in terms of why Vinicius could make an immediate impact as they could well be without central defender Kurt Zouma, who has been a regular this season.
On his own, Kane averages 0.58 per 90 minutes whilst against Sheffield United, their last win, Spurs recorded an xG of 1.28, as per Understat.
So evidently a striker is needed tonight. His involvement could genuinely be a game-changer for Mourinho and his chances of stopping the rot.