Ange Postecoglou faces a few personnel decisions as Tottenham gets set for a potentially tricky away encounter at Bournemouth on Saturday.
After a convincing performance at home against Manchester United, most of the starting team should remain unchanged for Saturday’s away encounter on the south coast.
While that might be the case, Ange is still faced with a few difficult choices leading up to his team’s second away outing of the new season.
Here’s who the Aussie gaffer may decide to go with for Saturday’s lunchtime affair:
Goalkeeper: Guglielmo Vicario
Everyone knows who Tottenham’s first-choice keeper is.
The Italian was superb against United, showcasing remarkable agility and shot-stopping prowess. He was also poised on the ball, offering Tottenham an extra man in possession, precisely what Ange had in mind when he signed the 26-year-old.
Right back: Pedro Porro
Pedro Porro was outstanding against United.
Aside from coughing the ball up twice deep in Tottenham’s half before the interval, Porro was one of Spurs’ best players.
Emerson Royal played well in the opener at Brentford but was exposed several times, one of which led to Brentford’s second goal. However, Royal was excellent going forward in Tottenham’s opener, even scoring a sweetly struck long-range effort.
But Porro did more than enough to retain his spot in the first 11. I wouldn’t be shocked to see Ange continue rotating his two right backs, but it makes more sense to provide Porro a run of matches in the first team until he falters or needs a rest.
Left-back: Destiny Udogie
Destiny Udogie has decisively won the left-back role. It’s his, and he is not going anywhere. The 20-year-old was exceptional in Tottenham’s first two encounters, particularly the contest at home against United. The confidence, fearlessness, and poise he showcased on the ball looked to be from a player five years his elder.
Expect Udogie to keep improving, a frightening proposition for the opposition.
Centre-back: Cristian Romero
Cristian Romero had three blocked shots, four clearances, one interception, and one tackle against United. He was a rock throughout.
Yes, his younger, less experienced teammates were particularly nervy in the opening 20 minutes, but Romero demonstrated his wealth of experience, steadying the ship.
His first full match with Micky van de Ven followed Ange’s script, as the new partnership was influential in securing the first clean sheet of the season.
Centre-back: Micky van de Ven
Aside from a somewhat nervy opening 15 minutes, Micky van de Ven was solid in Spurs’ 2-0 win last weekend.
He lost his mark twice in the opening half, with Marcus Rashford and Bruno Fernandes feasting on open close-range headers. However, Rashford drifted into an offside position while Fernandes ballooned over.
Otherwise, van de Ven exuded confidence and will only improve as he becomes more accustomed to life in N17 and the Premier League.
He had one of each of the following against United: interception, blocked shot, clearance, tackle.
Central midfield, No. 6: Yves Bissouma
Like several of Tottenham’s starting roles, No. 6 is already spoken for. Yves Bissouma was Tottenham’s player of the match in the first two contests. Exceptional doesn’t do his performances justice.
Against United, he had five tackles, one interception, three clearances, one blocked shot, an 88% passing accuracy, two shot attempts, and a progressive dribble. He also runs tirelessly and injects an untold amount of physicality and guile into midfield.
Central midfield, No. 8: Giovani Lo Celso
This is the one that will stir debate. Does Giovani Lo Celso come in for James Maddison, whose minor MCL strain should prevent him from featuring?
The best like-for-like replacement for Maddison, Lo Celso is reportedly disgruntled after not featuring in the first two matches.
Speculation of Gio’s potential exit might sway Ange, possibly convincing the gaffer to instead experiment with Kulu in the No. 8 role.
Even so, Saturday provides an idyll opportunity for Ange to see what Gio is made of. It will also allow another look at the player before the club decides whether he should stay or go.
Central midfield, No. 8: Pape Sarr
He is another player who has made one of the No. 8 roles his own. I can’t see any reason Sarr won’t start against Bournemouth. Aside from Bissouma, Sarr was Spurs best player against United. He’s young, energetic, confident, and tireless.
He also plays with an excessive amount of confidence for a young lad. Ange ripped off the shackles Antonio Conte had placed on him. Now we’ll get to see how dominant a player he is. Of course, there will be teething problems, expected given his tender age.
Right winger: Dejan Kulusevski, Left winger: Son Heung-min, No. 9: Richarlison
The attacking trifecta had much more success against United than at Brentford on opening day. Dejan Kulusevski and Sonny were brilliant in the home opener. Sonny made four key passes, creating several golden scoring opportunities.
Kulu was back to his best, driving down the byline and creating havoc. While his final ball/shot let him down more than he’d like, his cross led to Sarr’s opener. He also had one key pass and two shots on target.
Richarlison didn’t have any clear-cut goalscoring opportunities and was too soft in possession on several occasions. However, he made some intelligent plays and needs more time to prove he has what it takes to lead the front line.
Sonny, though, is a solid alternative option in the middle, which Ange might employ more often in the future if Richarlison doesn’t start creating chances soon.
- Published on 08/24/2023 at 6:00 AM BST
- Last updated on 08/24/2023 at 6:00 AM BST