No Ndombele again
Nuno Espirito Santo made a couple of changes to his Tottenham team for their final pre-season friendly of the summer against Arsenal.
Captain Hugo Lloris and Davinson Sanchez came into the XI, with Giovani Lo Celso named on the bench for the first time this summer after helping Argentina win the Copa America in Brazil last month.
However, there was no spot in the squad once again for Tanguy Ndombele.
With Spurs tweeting out a video on Saturday of the Frenchman getting down to business on the training pitch, many expected the ex-Lyon man to be named in the squad but he once again missed out on selection.
Back for the first day of pre-season training at the start of July, the Frenchman, who has recently become a father, hasn’t played a single minute all summer after missing out in all five games so far.
Having not played at all in such a big year for the player after two frustrating campaigns, it’s hard to see when he will be back in the action in the league as he will be nowhere near full match fitness.
Nuno makes his Winks call
Espirito Santo’s past few team selections have hinted at how Spurs could line up on the opening weekend against Man City.
Mainly opting for a 4-3-3 setup so far with Dele Alli as part of the midfield trio, the ex-MK Dons man does push up to form an attacking quartet when the team are in possession.
Starting alongside Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Oliver Skipp once again, the new head coach appears to have made his mind up in terms of the youngster.
Excelling in his year on loan at Norwich City, the England U21 international has come back and carried on his good form over the pre-season period.
Skipp has now started ahead of Harry Winks in the previous two games and that does suggest that, as expected, he has leapfrogged his teammate in the midfield pecking order.
Given Ndombele’s absence so far this summer, Skipp will be in with a very good chance of starting next Sunday against Man City whereas Winks will more than likely be on the bench.
Sanchez takes on Alderweireld’s old role
So far this summer we have seen a handful of exits from Tottenham as part of Fabio Paratici’s squad overhaul.
Two weeks ago Erik Lamela bid farewell to Spurs after eight years as he linked up with Sevilla, with Toby Alderweireld heading to Al-Duhail the same week.
During his time in north London the Belgium became known for playing a long, searching ball to pick out Spurs’ attackers, something they profited from numerous times from 2015 onwards.
Well, Alderweireld’s exit may not necessarily mean the end of the long ball from the backline as Sanchez brought out his former teammate’s old trick a number of times in the first half.
Firstly seeing Son Heung-min volley wide after Arsenal failed to deal with his pass over the top, the Colombian then picked out Steven Bergwijn with a pinpoint pass.
It was brilliant play from the ex-Ajax man but Spurs fans may not see it that often over the course of the season given his future is in doubt.
What Alli did to upset Arteta
Putting in the hard work over the summer after barely featuring under Jose Mourinho, Alli has made his mark in pre-season with a couple of goals.
Having one last opportunity to make a case to Espirito Santo ahead of the league opener against Man City, the 25-year-old certainly looked up for it at home to Arsenal.
The attacking midfielder really put himself about and was unlucky not to open the scoring towards the end of the first half when he hit the post after Son teed him up.
Prior to hitting the woodwork Alli did find himself in the referee’s book after a late tackle on Nicolas Pepe.
It wasn’t a good challenge from the Spurs man at all and Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta made his feelings known to the referee as he went straight to the touchline to demonstrate and he almost found himself on the pitch.
Not long after the restart Arteta was involved again as he and Hojbjerg exchanged words when the Dane tried to keep the ball in play and came close to catching the Spaniard, who in fact was outside his technical area.
It may have been a friendly but it was far from that out on the pitch.
Tanganga’s role in Son’s strike
Son may have been the hero against Arsenal following his goal but Japhet Tanganga deserves huge credit for his part in the strike.
Starting at right-back ahead of Matt Doherty, the academy graduate pushed upfield to help out in attack and did incredibly well to win the ball off Pepe in the corner.
Then linking up well with Lo Celso in the box to put the ball on a plate for Son, his teammates certainly appreciated his role in the opener.
Rather than everyone flooding over to celebrate with the goalscorer, six Tottenham players instead headed towards the defender and congratulated him for his incredible piece of play.
He certainly deserved it after a solid outing at right-back.
Source by Football London