Antonio Conte must turn to the rarely-seen Tanguy Ndombele for Tottenham Hotspur’s upcoming festive fixtures, once they are able to return to action.
Sat just outside the top four and in need of a win in their final Europa Conference League group game, Spurs could do with someone of his calibre in the final third.
Conte and co are in need of some sort of saviour as his squad could be depleted going forward due to a viral outbreak amongst the Lilywhites camp this week – according to football.london, as many as seven first-team players have tested positive by a lateral flow test.
Provided Ndombele isn’t one of those, which he is unlikely to be after footage surfaced of training this week, he could hold the keys to Spurs enjoying some success in an absolute time of need.
He would provide the north Londoners with a player capable of driving the ball into the final third, and that’s what will be needed to boost their chances of transforming their fortunes in attack.
Only Norwich City (10.7) have managed fewer shots per game than Spurs (10.9), via WhoScored, whilst they are inside the bottom seven teams for expected goals (17.83 xG), even though they are on the cusp of a top-four spot.
Despite only starting five top-flight games, Ndombele is among Conte’s most prolific ball-carriers, having averaged 2.4 successful dribbles per 90 minutes, which is only bettered by Lucas Moura (3.5) of those who have played more than 400 minutes this term.
Ndombele was once dubbed a “world-beater” who can be “unplayable” on his day by former Spurs teammate Joe Hart and it’s that level of performance that we need to see from him more often and consistently.
That said, he clearly poses a level of technical ability greater than the bulk of his teammates, which is why his presence is needed on the pitch, especially in the final third, in such a crucial run of fixtures.
The £26m-rated midfielder must start in Conte’s XI going forward.