Despite bouncing back to winning ways before the international break, a lot of doubts continue to loom over the latest edition of Tottenham Hotspur.
Nuno Espirito Santo was eventually brought in to replace Jose Mourinho during the summer. The former Wolves man was initially rejected by Spurs which tells you everything about how well that hunt was carried out.
But with three games played they sat top of the table and a large number of naysayers had been silenced. However, many were also convinced cracks were being papered over.
Three consecutive and convincing defeats to Crystal Palace, Chelsea and Arsenal showed that fears over a lack of creativity from midfield, a lack of game plan and a lack of form for Harry Kane seemed justified.
So it is safe to say that the 2-1 victory against Aston Villa was a big one. Not only did it give Nuno some valuable breathing room, it also showed that some fighting spirit remains, having fought to regain the lead.
Still, one problem persisted: the midfield. A pairing of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Oliver Skipp was chosen to start against Villa, with Tanguy Ndombele just ahead. While Hojbjerg found the net, only one key pass was created between them.
Is it time for Nuno to panic then? Will he have to wait until January to improve on such a glaring and repeatedly costly weakness? Not necessarily.
International breaks are largely unpopular, particularly among the manager’s of top-flight clubs who want to shelter their starts from injuries. But the latest did supply the Tottenham boss with a potential solution.
Argentina clashed with Uruguay in a World Cup qualifier in Buenos Aires and while it was Lionel Messi, Rodrigo de Paul and Lautaro Martinez who found the net in the 3-0 win, it was Giovani Lo Celso who arguably impressed the most.
The midfielder contributed two assists in an imperious display. Impressive enough on it’s own. But arguably more imposing was the eight chances (key passes) he created throughout the 90 minutes.
To put that into perspective, between Hojbjerg, Ndombele and Skipp have provided just six key passes between them in the top flight so far this season, according to WhoScored. Lo Celso beat that total in just one game.
In the Premier League, he has only been entrusted with two starts so far. But there is every chance his creativity is the perfect accompaniment to Hojbjerg’s combativeness.
Source by Football London