Tottenham Hotspur will be looking to make it three on the trot in the Premier League this afternoon but standing in their way is an in-form West Ham United, who have home comforts at the London Stadium.
Nuno Santo’s men were beaten embarrassingly in the Netherlands by Vitesse on Thursday night, so the Portuguese will be wanting a reaction in this crunch match.
Spurs have defeated Aston Villa and Newcastle United in their last two domestic outings but the Irons represent a tougher test as they could leapfrog them with a win today.
Both teams are vying for a spot in the top-six, with the Lilywhites narrowly holding the edge at this stage.
It means Nuno has to get his team selection absolutely spot on if they are to extend their fine form in the English top-flight.
And with that in mind, he ought to stick with what has been working, particularly in the final third as they have scored five goals in their last two matches, more than they managed in the six previous games.
That means it should be Tanguy Ndombele sitting in the no.10 role over the likes of Dele Alli and Giovani Lo Celso, who both were underwhelming in the midweek defeat.
Once described as “unplayable” by ex-goalkeeper Joe Hart, the 24-year-old has the capability to be a “world-beater” on his day. Indeed, he offers the Lilywhites something they do not possess in any other player, that being a dumbfounded technical ability.
Ndombele is able to drive the ball forward with his gifted dribbling skills and passing – as per WhoScored, he’s averaged 2.5 dribbles per game, whilst only three other players see more of the ball than him, having also averaged 40.3 passes per league outing too.
This sort of presence was seen first-hand last weekend when the £26m-rated French dynamo not only landed himself on the scoresheet but was also Spurs’ star man, earning a match-high 8.21 rating.
He won them three free-kicks, managed four successful dribbles and enjoyed an impressive 92.4% passing accuracy, via WhoScored.
Ndombele lost some of his closest friends during the Lilywhites’ summer exodus, with both Serge Aurier and fellow countryman Moussa Sissoko moving onto pastures new. This led to speculation over his future in north London but he’s still here and very much starting to deliver as club-record signing should.
Nuno has been praised for his trust in the midfield maverick, too.
“I thought he was brilliant against Newcastle,” claimed ex-Premier League striker Noel Whelan to Football Insider. “Even when he went in at the start of the season asking to leave the club, the manager kept the faith in him. He’s fought back and shut a few people up with his performances.”
He then added: “It was a quality 90 minutes and a really well-taken goal. He could be a real key player for them this season.”
After being absent in midweek, it should be time to bring Ndombele back into the starting XI. He has the capability of really hurting an Irons side that have appeared to be very resolute in the past week, keeping back-to-back clean sheets.
Nuno must start the French beast at the London Stadium today.