There are a lot of problems at Tottenham Hotspur right now.
Nuno Santo’s side crashed to their third straight heavy Premier League defeat, this time at the hands of arch-rivals Arsenal in the north London derby and the pressure is starting to mount on the Portuguese.
They are now leaking goals for fun, whilst their struggles in the final third are a major cause for concern.
As per Understat, the Lilywhites rank second-last for expected goals after six matches (5.47 xG) and they also sit last for average number of shots per game (9.3) – even the bottom three of Norwich City (10.2), Burnley (12.2) and Leeds (14.2).
Ever since Christian Eriksen departed N17 for Milan, Spurs have struggled to find a replacement capable of providing plenty of goals, quality set-pieces and assists from attacking midfield.
Arguably, one of the biggest disappointments has been Giovani Lo Celso, following a £55m move from Real Betis in August 2019.
This is some way off the level of Eriksen during his time in north London. By comparison, the Danish playmaker averaged a goal or assist every 151 minutes across a whopping 305 appearances.
After the 25-year-old was signed, plenty of outlets, such as 90min and The Times, tipped him up to fill the void left behind by the Inter Milan star but as evident above, that’s just not worked out whatsoever.
Having been described as a “technically gifted” and “exciting” player by teammate Harry Winks and “phenomenal” by Jose Mourinho, some comparisons could be made to former Spurs flop Adel Taarabt, someone who had undoubted quality in the final third but more often than not, went missing whenever given a proper opportunity.
Indeed, the Moroccan sensation was once dubbed “a wizard” by ex-Lilywhites boss Martin Jol, whilst another former boss in Harry Redknapp claimed he was “three stone overweight,” merely highlighting just how polarising he was during his time at the club.
Luka Modric even went as far as suggesting that he thought Taarabt would one day play for either one of La Liga’s biggest giants, Real Madrid or Barcelona.
These are two teams that have also been interested in Lo Celso in the past, so there are further similarities.
After signing as a teenager, Taarabt failed to deliver any contribution of note in 15 senior appearances for Spurs and whilst the £26m-rated Argentine midfielder is some way ahead of that already, his recent form and creative drought is certainly putting him in danger of being the next big midfield flop at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.