Nuno Espirito Santo has hinted at key Tottenham change vs Man City after surprise Arsenal call

Tottenham will go into the 2021/22 Premier League season in confident mood following an impressive display in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Arsenal.

Managing a 2-2 draw away at Chelsea in their previous game after finding themselves 2-0 down, Nuno Espirito Santo’s Spurs team performed well against their north London rivals and should have won by more than one goal.

Son Heung-min got the crucial strike at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium late on after some wonderful play by Japhet Tanganga, with Dele Alli hitting the post in either half prior to that and Sergio Reguilon also flashing a shot wide of the target.

Only making a handful of changes to the team that drew away at Stamford Bridge with Hugo Lloris and Davinson Sanchez named in the side, Tanganga moved across to right-back with the Colombian coming into defence to partner Eric Dier.

Tanganga’s inclusion at right-back meant Matt Doherty missed out on the team as he took his place on the bench for the clash.

Although Espirito Santo made a host of changes in the second half as he tried to give his players a decent amount of minutes ahead of next weekend’s Premier League opener, Doherty wasn’t one of the six substitutes introduced by the head coach.

Potentially having Sunday’s game against Man City in his mind as he opted for Tanganga at right-back for the first time in pre-season, the England U21 international may have played himself into the side after an assured performance.

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Good defensively as he kept the Gunners at bay, Tanganga then showed that he can also have an impact in the final third after playing a huge role in Son’s goal.

Battling well up against Nicolas Pepe to come out on top in the far corner, the versatile defender then teamed up with Giovani Lo Celso in the box and subsequently put the ball on a plate for the South Korean to find the bottom corner.

Tanganga’s game unfortunately did end up on a bit of a sour note after coming off with a knock in the final five minutes.

Rather than plumping for Doherty to take his place at right-back as expected, Espirito Santo instead made a surprise call by opting for Serge Aurier even though he’s very likely to be playing his football away from N17 come the end of August.

Given the need to be strong defensively against City next Sunday as £100m man Jack Grealish is one of a number of quality options who could operate down their left, Tanganga may be the one who gets the nod due to his defensive qualities.

Handed a start at right-back by Jose Mourinho in Tottenham’s last league outing against Man City back in February, the 22-year-old did well in the 3-0 defeat and came in for plenty of praise from the Portuguese head coach following “a complete performance”.

Japhet Tanganga caught the eye in Tottenham's 1-0 win over Arsenal on Sunday afternoon
Japhet Tanganga caught the eye in Tottenham’s 1-0 win over Arsenal on Sunday afternoon

Quite clearly knowing a lot of his team going on his pre-season selections so far, Espirito Santo still has a handful of key decisions to make, including who starts in defence, before City come to town.

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Not only needing a win on the back of Wednesday’s draw away at Chelsea to go into the new season in confident mood, the head coach also saw a very good performance from his team and it left him feeling very pleased come the full-time whistle.

“Good game, good game. Tough one, tough one,” he said in his post-match press conference. “We started really well with good combinations and recovering the ball well. Then we lost a bit of control and possession until we had the chance to adjust.

“We finished the game really well in terms of fitness and intensity. That’s a good sign for players in the way they are preparing themselves. Finishing games stronger is what we will try to improve and keep on going.

“Amazing reception from the fans, fantastic in our home. It’s important to feel good at home and the amazing supporters push us all the way. So a big thank you to them.”

Now facing an important week at the club as he prepares for the visit of the champions, Sunday’s 1-0 win over Arsenal may have helped him make his mind up over the right-back decision.

On a day when Doherty couldn’t make his case as he watched on from the bench, Tanganga did his chances no harm at all.

Source by Football London

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