Tottenham Hotspur can secure a place in Europe next season with a win over Aston Villa this evening.
Ryan Mason’s side will seal at least a seventh-place finish with three points in North London but he has plenty to ponder in terms of team selection following their win over Wolves on Sunday.
There are questions over Gareth Bale’s fitness, whilst Ben Davies is unlikely to play for the club again this season, though the 29-year-old interim could welcome back Serge Aurier after he was a surprise absence at the weekend.
Japhet Tanganga deputised in his absence and did his chances of keeping his place no harm but there is reason to brutally axe him from the starting XI tonight.
Villa may have only won two of their last 12 matches but they will be buoyed by the return of skipper Jack Grealish after a lengthy spell on the sidelines – he’s a massive part of Dean Smith’s squad and is certainly their biggest threat.
Last season, he was amongst the Premier League’s most creative players. In fact, only Kevin De Bruyne (136) created more chances than Grealish (91). And that was on top of providing eight goals and six assists.
Despite missing the bulk of their games since late February, the 25-year-old playmaker is still on track to better those returns as he sits on six goals and ten assists, whilst averaging a whopping 3.2 key passes per game, which is an increase of 0.7 from last term, via WhoScored.
He’s third overall for chances created (76) once again – four more than Spurs’ best creative outlet, Heung-min Son.
Tanganga has shone whenever he’s featured for Spurs since his debut last year, even impressing Jurgen Klopp on debut. ”
“I didn’t know about him and it was a surprise. Our matchday analyst told me about him. He played well,” he told reporters, via football.london. “It was nice when the crowd cheered his name. It was his first Premier League game? Very impressive.”
Whilst former Spurs stars Gary Mabbutt and Darren Bent have also waxed lyrical about him. The former calling him an “excellent player” in an exclusive interview with Football FanCast, and the latter dubbing him “very, very exciting” to Football Insider.
However, given Grealish’s undoubted ability, the young 22-year-old gem could face his toughest test yet, so it may be wise for Mason to make the ruthless call and go for more experience, with Aurier back in training.
The £7.2m-rated England U21 international has to be an unfortunate casualty tonight, otherwise, the Spurs caretaker risks him getting torn apart by one of the Premier League’s best wide playmakers.