Tottenham Hotspur return to Premier League action this weekend and it’ll be no easy task as Nuno Santo looks to build on their victory last time out.
The north Londoners head to the northeast to face Newcastle United at St James’ Park, where there is expected to be an electric atmosphere as it’ll be the first game under their new ownership.
Spurs defeated Aston Villa to put an end to their run of three successive heavy league defeats but they will need to continue that form with a result away from home today.
Nuno has been under increasing pressure in recent weeks and that leaves him with a tricky dilemma in terms of team selection – he’ll have to get it spot against the Magpies.
For all of the positives against Villa, there were still some aspects that could be improved on, particularly in the final third. It was actually the first time the side had bagged more than one goal in the top-flight this season.
Despite that, Spurs still sit second-bottom for average number of shots per game (10.4) in the Premier League – even the three teams in the relegation zone have fired off more attempts, whilst they also rank third-bottom for expected goals (7.25 xG).
The Portuguese head coach opted for Tanguy Ndombele in the no.10 role right before the international break but it’s a decision that failed to pay off as the Frenchman, who was not selected by Didier Deschamps last week, barely had an influence in the attack.
One is meant to be the team’s playmaker.
Furthermore, Ndombele won just 50% of his midfield battles, proving to be ineffective and rather weak.
That has very much been the tale of the £36m-rated dynamo’s time in N17. A player, who on his day can be a world-beater, but those occasions are far and few between.
His performances when it really counts have been inconsistent, to say the least, but according to Joe Hart, the 24-year-old club-record signing is an exceptional talent.
During Spurs’ FA Cup clash with Wycombe Wanderers last season, the backup goalkeeper waxed lyrical about his former teammate to BT Sport pundit Rio Ferdinand.
“I said to Joe, how good is he? And he said ‘this kid is a world-beater, he can do anything.’ He just turned around during the game and said ‘this kid is unplayable’,” he claimed (via football.london).
Right now, however, it could be argued that the ex-Lyon star is holding Nuno’s side back as they cannot afford him coasting through some matches and then delivering in others.
It could be wise for the Portuguese to be ruthless and axe him at Newcastle this afternoon.
AND in other news, Nuno Santo hints at Spurs injury blow ahead of Newcastle clash…