Tottenham Hotspur secured safe passage through to the fourth round of the FA Cup on Saturday afternoon, with Antonio Conte‘s side besting League One outfit Portsmouth 1-0 at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
However, while it is true that the 53-year-old fielded something of a rotated starting XI against Spurs’ lower-league opposition, the Italian will undoubtedly be slightly disappointed in his team’s failure to put the result to bed, considering just how close the contest remained until the final whistle
Indeed, both Emerson Royal and Oliver Skipp had glorious chances to find the net, except the former saw his header come back off the upright, while the latter inexplicably blazed over when unmarked from 12 yards out.
Furthermore, with both of the aforementioned duo having found themselves on the substitutes’ bench more often than not in recent weeks, neither of their overall performances against Pompey will have done much to convince Conte that they would be worthy of a starting berth against Arsenal next week, with Skipp particularly disappointing this afternoon.
Indeed, over his 90 minutes on the pitch, the £22m-rated talent largely failed to stamp his authority in the middle of the park. He had 54 touches of the ball – four fewer than his opposite number Joe Morrell – completed 39 of his 44 attempted passes (just four more than Morrell) and ceded possession of the ball on nine separate occasions.
The £40k-per-week midfielder was also beaten by an opponent once, lost five of his seven duels – a failure rate of 71% – and was lucky to not receive a red card in the 28th minute after something of a horror tackle on Michael Morrison.
Rather unsurprisingly, the 22-year-old’s display saw him earn a well below-par Sofascore match rating of just 6.5 – the worst of any Spurs player to feature on the day – while Evening Standard journalist Dan Kilpatrick also awarded the youngster a five in his own player ratings for the match.
Furthermore, football writer and Tottenham supporter Andrew Gaffney stated his belief in a post on Twitter that Skipp appeared to be “wearing square boots” against Portsmouth, while Tom Thorogood also dubbed the midfielder’s showing as “terrible” on Twitter.
It is true that Skipp was a last-minute addition to the Italian’s starting XI today, but if this was the academy graduate’s big chance to impress his manager ahead of the north London derby next week, it was one that the England youth international very much failed to grasp.