Tottenham Hotspur will be looking to clinch their first trophy in 13 years when they face Manchester City in the Carabao Cup later this evening and interim boss Ryan Mason has plenty to ponder ahead of kick-off.
Aside from the uncertainty surrounding Harry Kane’s involvement at Wembley Stadium – he is being monitored “hour by hour” – the 29-year-old caretaker is facing a huge task as the Premier League leaders have won this very competition each of the last three seasons, and five of the last seven, too.
Mason took over from the sacked Jose Mourinho on Monday and won his first game in charge at Southampton, coming from behind to clinch all three points. It wasn’t the greatest performance by any means, though he can be forgiven as he had less than 48 hours with this squad.
Now, having had a little bit more time with the team, Mason should be able to implement his ideas and that now leaves him with a big decision to make.
Against Southampton in midweek, Spurs’ midfield was overrun and outplayed – the trio of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso just did not work, with the Dane sitting a little deeper behind the two big-money 2019 summer signings.
It was the latter, Lo Celso, who was arguably the poorest of the lot. It’s no wonder he was hooked by the 79th minute and given the lowest rating (6.3) by SofaScore.
The £36m-rated dynamo has frequently been lauded behind the scenes since his move from Real Betis last season but a combination of injuries and poor performances should certainly put his place in the line-up at risk.
By comparison, even Matt Doherty (6.71) and Serge Aurier (6.97) have managed better and that’s a telling story in itself as the pair are often the target of criticism from the fanbase.
On Wednesday night, Lo Celso proved to be weak – losing 82% of his midfield battles – and completely wasteful – losing possession 14 times, as per SofaScore.
That merely continues a recurring trend with the £100k-per-week star, as he hasn’t been rated above a 7/10 since November in the top-flight. Indeed, he’s been rather shocking for weeks now.
Mason must show no mercy and ruthlessly axe the Argentine from his starting XI this evening. A bold, but necessary, call.
AND in other news, Levy could revolutionise Spurs by securing landmark double swoop…