Antonio Conte will have plenty to think about in the next ten days with the bulk of his Tottenham Hotspur squad away on international duty.
And the Italian has several issues to solve, notably their problems in the final third, where they are amongst the poorest in the Premier League…
It’s been touted that the 52-year-old will alter his formation in the coming weeks and this could well be to accommodate a more attacking figure in midfield.
“There’s an expectation within the club that the starting XI and formation will change over the coming weeks,” claimed football.london reporter Alasdair Gold this week.
“I think the width from the wing-backs negates the need for wingers up front as well, so I think we’ll see a shift to a 3-4-1-2 and yes I reckon two or three faces in the team will be different within a month’s time.
“As for converted wing-backs, [Sergio] Reguilon and Emerson (as well as [Ryan] Sessegnon and [Matt] Doherty) have the ability to carry out the role so I’m not sure he needs to convert anyone particularly but who knows what the future holds for Lucas [Moura] and [Steven] Bergwijn if he did go down that route.”
The introduction of a ‘no.10’ or a similar type of role could help Spurs create more chances for Harry Kane and Heung-min Son to feast upon, especially as they have not registered a shot on target in nearly four hours of league football.
Similarly, no team in the Premier League is averaging fewer shots each outing than Spurs (10.1) – not even rock-bottom Norwich or the other two teams in the dropzone.
However, one unfortunate consequence of this change in tactics would see Lucas Moura axed from the starting XI as the need for wingers will no longer be necessary.
There’s an argument to be made that they aren’t anyway as Conte deploys two really advanced wing-backs on either flank.
The Brazilian has arguably been one of the Lilywhites’ standout performers this campaign.
Only Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (7.15) has recorded a better average WhoScored rating than Moura (7.04) after 11 matches. And he’s started and played the full 90 in all of them.
The 29-year-old wide man, who is now valued at £18m by CIES Football Observatory, does lead the way for dribbles per game (three) – by quite some margin too, with Tanguy Ndombele (1.6) the next best and Emerson Royal (one) the pick of the wing-backs, as per WhoScored.
Moura is also quite an industrious presence right across the pitch, so perhaps he could stake a claim at right wing-back. It would be familiar territory for Conte, that’s for sure.
The Italian converted struggling Chelsea flop Victor Moses into an astute option on the flank and he could well do the same with Moura.
As per WhoScored, the former Paris Saint-Germain star is also averaging 1.1 key passes per game, which is the second-most in the squad, as well as 1.5 shots, 1.3 tackles and 1.2 clearances per outing too.
This shows that he likes to get everywhere on the pitch and does more than just simply attack. He can contribute defensively, to a very good standard, having averaged more tackles than even centre-back Eric Dier (0.2).
It is no wonder the Englishman once dubbed his teammate a “nightmare” to train against, you only have to look at those numbers to see that.
On the above evidence, there is certainly a case to be made for Moura becoming Conte’s next Moses. It would definitely be one way to keep him in the starting XI, just as he deserves.
It would then be unfortunate for Emerson but you won’t be able to keep everyone happy in north London.
AND in other news, Fabrizio Romano reveals Conte’s potential plans for January…