After a confident win over Everton last weekend, Tottenham came crashing back down to earth with a humbling defeat at Manchester United midweek.
Despite entering the break level, Antonio Conte’s side was clearly second-best, offering little in terms of attacking threat – even struggling to enter the United half.
Minutes after the restart, Fred’s deflected effort opened the scoring for the hosts, and after more continued pressure with little in response from Spurs, a fine finish from Bruno Fernandes all but wrapped up the points for United.
Wednesday night was bleak for Tottenham fans
Starting in a 3-5-2 was certainly the right call, as we needed to compete in what was always going to be a tough midfield battle – which we ultimately lost, with injuries to Dejan Kulusevski and/ or Richarlison proving detrimental late on.
At 2-0 down, a triple substitution introducing Lucas Moura, Ryan Sessegnon, and Davidson Sanchez was hardly awe-inspiring, clearly emphasising exactly why Richarlison and Deki’s absence is so impactful.
Granted, it’s unlikely that with 10 minutes to go either would have changed the game, but having them available at an earlier stage could have helped Spurs regain an attacking foothold in the match.
But, what’s done is done, and the important thing now is the Conte and the squad bounce back this weekend, as we welcome Newcastle in what could prove to be an important game.
With just four league games until the World Cup break, any points picked up stands us in good stead for what will be a hectic second half of the season.
Albeit having played a game more than most around us, Spurs remain third just four points off the top; eager to pick up another win at home this weekend to extend our winning run.
However, Sunday’s visitors will certainly pose a challenge, as Newcastle arrive in fine form, unbeaten in their last six games and keeping clean sheets in their past two.
Paraguayan forward Miguel Almiron is the Magpie’s star man at the moment, as four goals in as many games including the winner midweek against Everton makes him one of the league’s in-form players.
Fortunately for Spurs fans, winger Allan Saint-Maximin and club-record signing Alexander Isak remain side-lined, meaning Eddie Howe’s side will likely start with a frontline of Jacob Murphy, Calum Wilson, and Almiron; the same line-up as each of their last four.
As for Tottenham, the aforementioned injuries to our forward players should see Conte start in the 3-5-2 yet again, a system that in truth, may match up well against Newcastle’s three-man midfield.
After facing a suspension for the previous league three games, Emerson Royal is back available for selection. Still, given Matt Doherty’s performance in his absence, the Irishman would be unfortunate not to retain his place.
Conte will be well aware of the need to pick up three points this weekend, as with Chelsea and Manchester United improving, maintaining our points gap ahead of the World Cup may be pivotal upon the restart.
This is bound to be a tough game for Spurs, but the quality we possess in Kane and Son should be enough to see us emerge victors.
After Wednesday’s setback, hopefully, Tottenham can return to winning ways this weekend as we enter the final stretch of the first half of this split campaign.