Tottenham will be looking to continue their strong recent form with another three points against North London rivals Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday – and if Jose Mourinho wants to give his side the best chance of victory in the derby, he should axe Eric Dier.
The centre-back was restored to the starting line-up for Spurs’ game against Dinamo Zagreb in midweek, and whilst he helped the Lilywhites to keep a clean sheet in their 2-0 victory, Mourinho should revert to a partnership of Davinson Sanchez and Toby Alderweireld for the game at the Emirates.
Dier has struggled for consistent form in the Premier League so far this season, having averaged a fairly disappointing 6.71 WhoScored rating across his 21 appearances in the top flight.
This rates the 27-year-old below both Alderweireld and Sanchez in terms of Premier League ratings this season, whilst he hasn’t featured in any of Spurs’ last three wins in the top-flight, so it would be a mistake to ruin the winning dynamic which has seen Mourinho’s side put themselves back in with a chance of securing a top four spot this season.
Spurs went top of the Premier League with a 2-0 win against Mikel Arteta’s side earlier in the campaign but the Gunners are enjoying a decent 2021 so far, which is partly due to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s return to form.
The former Borussia Dortmund man has nine goals in all competitions since the turn of the year and would have perhaps fired Arteta’s side further up the table if it weren’t for their defensive issues.
The Gabon international scored the equaliser in the last meeting of the two sides at the Emirates and will almost certainly be the danger man on Sunday.
After Alderweireld was rested in midweek, it seems likely that he will come back into the side, so if Mourinho doesn’t axe Dier, he would presumably start alongside the Belgian in the centre of Spurs’ defence.
Considering Dier hasn’t recorded a rating of more than 7 from WhoScored since early January, it wouldn’t make sense for Mourinho to select him in defence for such an important fixture – and with Aubameyang looking particularly dangerous at the moment, you worry that he could ruin the former Sporting Lisbon man if he is handed a start.
Therefore the Portuguese boss must axe him and go with Alderweireld and Sanchez as his centre-back pairing.