Tottenham Hotspur have one final game before Christmas as they welcome Premier League rivals West Ham United to north London for a Carabao Cup quarter-final.
And with a place in the last four up for grabs, it leaves manager Antonio Conte with plenty to ponder in terms of team selection.
Last time out, the Lilywhites were held to a 2-2 draw to ten-man Liverpool, whilst they defeated Burnley and Wolves to make it this far in the competition.
The Italian head coach has a largely fully-fit squad to choose from, so it will be interesting to see what decisions he may make ahead of kick-off, particularly with his midfield, where a rarely-seen trio of Dele Alli, Harry Winks and Tanguy Ndombele all featured on Sunday.
It’s the latter who could make way, surprisingly, as he was the most underwhelming of the three players, who all had a point to prove to Conte.
He was not only the first player to be substituted, coming off for Oliver Skipp in the 64th minute, but he too was their third lowest-rated player (6.4) as the French dynamo struggled to have much of an influence on the game.
Yes, he provided an assist for Harry Kane’s opener but as explained by the Evening Standard’s Dan Kilpatrick, he was otherwise ‘largely a passenger’ who offered ‘little defensively’ and more than once was caught ‘overplaying in dangerous positions.’
Across his hour on the pitch, Ndombele managed only 11 passes and 30 touches, which shows that he was barely involved. For further context, goalkeeper Hugo Lloris managed more in both regards, and he’s stood between the sticks all game, not in an advanced midfield role.
Meanwhile, Spurs’ embarrassing defeat to NS Mura last month saw ex-midfielder Jamie O’Hara dub the £55m man “absolutely shocking“, which only goes to show his vastly-contrasting performances in Spurs’ colours.
Conte cannot afford to carry someone in a game of his nature. Having been knocked out of the UEFA Europa Conference League, this tournament could be the north Londoners’ only genuine chance of silverware, so it must be taken seriously.
As such, the 52-year-old must be ruthless with the club’s inconsistent club-record signing. He must be dropped this evening.