While Tottenham Hotspur have been in excellent domestic form under the management of Antonio Conte, going undefeated in seven Premier League games since the 52-year-old’s arrival in north London back in November, the Italian will nevertheless be hoping for a much-improved performance from the 1-1 draw with Southampton last time out when they face Watford this afternoon.
Indeed, despite Mohammed Salisu being sent off in the first half at St Mary’s, Tottenham badly struggled to break down the Saints, with Harry Kane’s 41st-minute penalty being the only time they made their attacking play count.
This lack of attacking edge was certainly not helped by the lacklustre displays of a number of Spurs’ more creative players, with Dele Alli’s showing alongside Son Heung-min in attacking midfield, as well as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg’s performance in the middle of the park, being particular lowlights at St Mary’s.
Indeed, over the course of his 62 minutes on the pitch against Saints, the £22.5m-rated Dele failed to have any real impact on the game whatsoever, completing just 17 of his 24 attempted passes, a success rate of 71%. He had no shots at the Southampton goal, failed with his one attempted dribble and was dribbled past twice by an opponent.
The £100k-per-week 25-year-old also gave away the ball on 12 separate occasions and lost six of his 10 duels, with these returns seeing the player who Jose Mourinho previously claimed was “creating problems” in the Spurs side earn a SofaScore match rating of a mere 6.6. That ranked him as his team’s third-worst starter on the day.
As such, with Conte undoubtedly hoping that Tottenham can kick off 2022 with a return to winning ways against Watford on Saturday, it would seem advisable for the 52-year-old to axe the former England international from his starting XI at Vicarage Road, as Dele could quite easily cost Spurs dearly once again.