Just 14 minutes after Tottenham posted their line-up for the Premier League match at Burnley the decision was announced that it had been postponed.
Due to the snow-laden roads and traffic around Turf Moor, the Tottenham team had turned up not long before the announcement and after throwing a couple of snowballs they had to head back to London.
However, the fact that Spurs boss Antonio Conte had already named his first starting line-up in the aftermath of the horrendous performance in Slovenia in midweek gives us something to analyse.
Here are five things we learned from the team and squad the Italian had chosen on Sunday:
Faith in Sanchez
Davinson Sanchez had a poor game in Maribor on Thursday night and made to look like a rookie defender as he struggled to deal with NS Mura’s only two real attacks.
For the first goal he raced way past Tomi Horvat and then slipped over as he belatedly tried put the brakes on, allowing the Mura man to cut inside and curl a shot inside the left-hand post.
He was lucky to be kept on the pitch despite Conte making two centre-back changes and managed to get turned inside out far too easily in the final seconds for Amadej Marosa’s dramatic winning goal for the Europa Conference League’s lowest ranked team.
Sanchez had been one of Spurs’ better defenders earlier this season but Thursday night brought one of his worst performances in a long time, albeit he was playing slightly out of position on the left of the back three.
That Conte put him straight back into the starting line-up and on the right of the back three on Sunday suggests he still has faith in the Colombian and believes that alongside Eric Dier and Ben Davies he would have done a better job on that side.
He would also have changed the dynamic of the defence, making it more like Conte’s old Chelsea defence, with only the left-sided centre-back providing some additional attacking thrust.
A January exit for Rodon?
There’s a fair bit of sympathy to be had for Joe Rodon’s situation at Tottenham.
He’s rarely put a foot wrong at the club since he joined a little over a year ago, yet with Spurs’ constant changing of managers during that time the 24-year-old has never been able to get a run of games under any of the four as they’ve often gone with experienced heads who have struggled to keep clean sheets.
Then on Thursday Rodon got his second start of the Conte era and found himself brought off after just 54 minutes, despite Sanchez having a stinker alongside him.
A few days later and the Wales international wasn’t even in the matchday squad at Burnley, still travelling up for the postponed match as the club’s 21st man, present in case of injuries or illness.
Rodon has played more times for Wales than for Spurs and he is believed to be growing frustrated with his lack of game time.
The centre-back is understood to be open to a loan move in January in order to get time on the pitch but much could depend on whether Spurs bring in a new centre-back, particularly if Cristian Romero’s injury proves to be serious.
Japhet Tanganga also found himself back on the bench but the Spurs academy product has started six Premier League matches this season.
Rodon hasn’t started a single one, making just the one appearance from the bench against Crystal Palace and that’s where his frustration will come from.
There was one returning face for Tottenham on Sunday afternoon.
While Romero and his compatriot Giovani Lo Celso remain out of action following another disastrous international break with Argentina, Steven Bergwijn was back for Spurs.
The Dutchman had reported ill at the club on Wednesday morning and missed out on training that day and subsequently the flight to Slovenia.
Bergwijn had a great international break with his crucial goal and assist for the Netherlands to send them to the World Cup.
Whatever was making him unwell appears to have passed and he was ready to play his part against Burnley. Now he needs to show Conte what he can do and find some consistency under the Italian.
Conte’s Skipp love
football.london wrote earlier this month that Oliver Skipp had quickly caught the eye of Conte, as he did with Nuno Espirito Santo in pre-season.
The Italian agrees with staff at Spurs and his predecessors, including Jose Mourinho and Mauricio Pochettino, that the England U21 international can be the future of the club and when the Italian speaks people listen.
It says a lot that as soon as the 21-year-old was available from suspension, Conte picked him in Slovenia and once again days later to face Burnley.
Skipp was one of Spurs’ better players in Maribor, even if that’s not saying much in a poor team performance, but Conte clearly felt he needed him against Burnley despite him playing 90 minutes against Mura.
It also said plenty about Harry Winks, who was completely fresh for the match, but found himself back on the bench with Skipp being available.
Injuries can present opportunities, but, as with Rodon, Winks could be looking for a January move if the situation remains the same.
No doghouse for Sessegnon
It would have been simple for Conte to go old school and try to teach Ryan Sessegnon a lesson after his needless sending off in Slovenia by leaving him out of Sunday’s squad.
However, the Italian has clearly judged the situation for what it was, a young player overeager to be back after so many hamstring problems and letting his enthusiasm get the better of him.
Nobody would have been harder on Sessegnon than the player himself after the match and Harry Kane said the wide man was “devastated” by his moment of madness.
Conte has high hopes for Sessegnon and he lavished praise on the 21-year-old ahead of the match.
That he had a daft moment will not have shaken that belief and that bodes well for Sessegnon as he looks to fight for the left wing-back spot in the months and seasons ahead.
Source by Football London