Antonio Conte’s side are in the midst of a pretty hectic run of games right now, this will be match number four of seven in a three-week period, with defending Premier League champions Manchester City to come this weekend.
It would make sense for the Italian to, therefore, rotate his starting XI, which he somewhat did for the 2-1 win over Fulham at the weekend.
However, there’s one name that shouldn’t feature amongst it very often, yet he appears to be the current first-choice in the role, that being Emerson Royal at right wing-back, who does more harm than good for this side.
The Brazil international currently sits on just one goal contribution from the Lilywhites’ opening six matches and ranks as one of Conte’s least creative options, having averaged 0.3 key passes per game so far, via WhoScored.
That’s just not what you want from your wing-back in a system like this as much of the side’s influence in the final third will come down to the likes of Emerson, Ivan Perisic and Ryan Sessegnon.
It’s perhaps little surprise that Conte was seeking a replacement for him within three months of his arrival in the dugout, with The Times once noting the Italian’s reservations of the 23-year-old when it came to attacking prowess and quality.
His final ball delivery was even described as “seriously shocking” by journalist Olatomiwa Tobi back in January, for example.
And then defensively, he can be a little suspect at times, ranking second for fouls per game in the current squad.
Emerson ended last season as Spurs’ ninth-best performer, having only provided one goal and one assist across 31 league appearances, so his level of performance recently is certainly above his mean and he should be expected to come back down to earth, sooner rather than later.
In one particularly disappointing display, former Tottenham vice-captain Jonathan Woodgate described the ex-Barcelona flop as “horrendous“, whilst reports claim that the LaLiga giants were stunned by the north Londoners’ willingness to pay as much as €30m (£26m) for his signature in summer 2020.
As such, Conte must look to axe the underwhelming Spurs right wing-back in favour of someone like Matt Doherty or summer signing Djed Spence as tonight could be the perfect opportunity to get some minutes under their belt and even make the point of them being the better candidate for the role.
Emerson is a liability waiting to happen most weeks, so he should not be the first-choice option going forward.