Antonio Conte’s Tottenham Hotspur side head into Wednesday evening’s Premier League meeting with Brighton & Hove Albion in something of an inconsistent run of form, with Spurs having won four and lost six of their last ten fixtures across all competitions.
However, with Graham Potter’s side also being in something of a slump at present, having lost their last five consecutive league outings, the Italian manager will know that tonight’s trip to the Amex presents Tottenham with the perfect opportunity to get back on track following their gutting 3-2 defeat at Manchester United last time out.
Indeed, in the loss at Old Trafford, a number of the 52-year-old’s starting XI had a game to forget – none more so than left wing-back Sergio Reguilon, with the Spaniard’s performance in both a defensive and offensive capacity costing Spurs dearly in Manchester.
As such, it would appear a wise move for Conte to drop the 25-year-old for the Brighton clash, something which – with Ryan Sessegnon remaining sidelined due to injury – could provide the former Inter Milan coach the chance to experiment on his left-flank.
Despite having been a bit-part player since Conte’s arrival in North London back in November – starting just one Premier League fixture under the Italian – Steven Bergwijn would appear to be something of an ideal candidate at left wing-back.
Indeed, with Conte having enjoyed a great deal of success in utilising wingers in slightly more reserved roles previously, such as Victor Moses at both Chelsea and Inter Milan, as well as Ashley Young and Ivan Perisic at the San Siro, the 24-year-old Netherlands international undoubtedly boasts a number of traits are favourable for the position.
According to FBREF, the £17m-rated forward ranks in the top 15% of wingers in Europe’s big five leagues for non-penalty goals, the top 7% for non-penalty xG, the top 26% for shots and the top 26% for assists per 90.
Aside from these impressive attacking metrics, the £73k-per-week dynamo also ranks in the top 11% for passes completed, the top 9% for progressive passes, the top 27% for dribbles completed and the top 2% for clearances.
Furthermore, the player who Nuno Espirito Santo dubbed a “unique” talent has previously earned praise for his defensive work in the Tottenham side, with Alasdair Gold stating of Bergwijn’s display in the 2-0 win over Arsenal back in December 2020:
“Bergwijn did an incredible amount of work. He did so much of the dirty work, as you’d call it, the defensive side of the game, but also making the runs that allowed the space for Son and Kane.
“If you watch both goals back – Son’s goal, when he’s coming down the left-hand side, cutting inside, the space is there because Bergwijn has dragged two Arsenal players away with him on a run on the right-hand side.
“Likewise, for the second goal, Bergwijn ran off to the right-hand side, very clever run, taking defenders with him and that left the space for Son to move into and then, secondly, for Kane to come around into space to fire in. Bergwijn was excellent.
“Mourinho gave him a little namecheck after the game, which I thought was really important and for me, he showed why he’s picked in these big matches.”
As such, considering Reguilon’s poor form and Sessegnon’s absence, it would appear highly advisable for Conte to unleash Bergwijn at left wing-back this evening, as the Dutchman could very well prove to be a revelation in the position.