Jose Mourinho’s side return to Premier League action later this evening as they welcome defending champions Liverpool to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
It was only on Monday night that we last saw Spurs in action as they made it into the FA Cup fifth round with a come-from-behind victory over Championship minnows Wycombe Wanderers.
Mourinho needed his substitutes to make an impact in the second half despite fielding a pretty strong XI.
Eventually, a trio of late goals sealed a 4-1 win at Adams Park, though the scoreline was certainly flattering given it took until the 86th minute to break the deadlock.
And one player who started that game ought to be axed when an elite-quality outfit travel to the capital tonight…
With Liverpool in town, Mourinho needs to name his strongest lineup possible, and that simply doesn’t involve Davinson Sanchez.
The 24-year-old has endured quite a turbulent 2020/21 campaign so far.
He’s fallen heavily out-of-favour in the Premier League, starting only six of their 18 outings and since the shocking West Ham comeback in October, in which he scored an own goal, the one-time club-record signing has been snubbed from the travelling squad nine times, per Transfermarkt.
Though Sanchez has started two of their last four matches in the competition, Mourinho must resist the temptation to give him another run-out as Liverpool have the sort of quality that could punish his inconsistencies.
Indeed, he looked fine against Fulham, a team struggling in a relegation battle, while against Wolves, he was protected in a back three.
Mourinho already knows that the Colombian can be a liability. Indeed, his Manchester United actually targeted him at Ajax during the Europa League final in 2017. He revealed that they tried to block Matthijs de Ligt so Sanchez would have more of the ball, thus creating “trouble” for him.
While during Amazon’s ‘All or Nothing’ series, the Special One questioned his mentality.
Sanchez is alarmingly shaky at the back, and it is often his pace that can compensate for some lapses in concentration – former Spurs boss Tim Sherwood dubbed the centre-back “a mistake waiting to happen” in October.
That echoes similar comments from the Hotspur faithful, who as recently as their Carabao Cup semi-final were calling him a ‘liability’ and wanting him sold.
Of all of Spurs’ current central options, Sanchez is dribbled past most frequently, averaging once per 90 minutes.
By comparison, Man United’s Harry Maguire has been a rock, only being dribbled past 0.45 times per 90. Similarly, in the leakiest defence in the division, Semi Ajayi is only dribbled past 0.58 times per 90, via FBref.
That only goes to show why he cannot be trusted with the likes of Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah in line to start in north London tonight.
Both Mane and Salah attempt 3.48 or more dribbles per 90, and successfully pull them off over 50% of the time – that spells a recipe for disaster, it truly does.
Valued at €40m (£36m) by CIES Football Observatory, the £75k-per-week enigma does have some good qualities such as his speed and the fact that he averages more tackles per game (2) than any other Spurs centre-back.
But the Reds are a side capable of exposing his weaknesses. They aren’t a Fulham.
Mourinho has Joe Rodon, Eric Dier and Toby Alderweireld to choose from, so there is no need to risk the inconsistencies of Sanchez in this crucial crunch match.
AND in other news, Spurs’ “unplayable” monster must be unleashed on Liverpool tonight…