Tottenham Hotspur return to Premier League action this afternoon and they’ll be looking to bounce back after a week of disappointing results.
Nuno Santo’s side saw their unbeaten start to the 2021/22 campaign ended at the hands of Crystal Palace last weekend and then in mid-week, they had to come from behind to salvage a point against Rennes in the UEFA Europa Conference League.
The Portuguese head coach has had to deal with plenty of injury and team selection troubles for both matches but ahead of kick-off in today’s London derby against Chelsea, he has been given a timely boost.
He has been without the services of his three South Americans – Giovani Lo Celso, Davinson Sanchez and Cristian Romero – after spending the last ten days in Croatia in a bid to avoid the UK’s quarantine regulations following the international break.
The trio arrived back in the country on Saturday, just in time for this massive encounter.
Spurs are short on centre-backs heading into the match, so Nuno may well need to turn to the pair of them despite not training with their teammates for around three weeks.
Eric Dier is dealing with an injury problem, whilst Japhet Tanganga is suspended after being sent off at Selhurst Park. It leaves Nuno with the inexperienced Joe Rodon and the aforementioned duo.
And he should turn to Romero as he will certainly know about the threat on offer from the Blues.
Last season’s Serie A ‘Defender of the Year’ is yet to start a Premier League match since arriving on an initial loan from Atalanta in the summer but he has experience up against Romelu Lukaku, who has already bagged four goals in four games this season.
In two matches against the Belgian colossus last season, the 23-year-old managed to stop the former Inter Milan talisman from scoring, which is certainly a positive sign.
Romero led the league for interceptions (3.1) per game, so he certainly has an impressive ability to read the game and then act, so given Spurs’ recent defensive issues – conceding five in their last two matches – he should come straight into the starting XI.
Lauded as “phenomenal” by Italian football expert Conor Clancy to This is Futbol, the £31.5m-rated Argentinian colossus must be unleashed at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium today as he could be the man to help stop the free-scoring Belgian.
It could be a risky but game-changing call from Nuno.