Giovani Lo Celso has run through half his loan with Tottenham, but his marquee moment with Spurs is yet to come.
For the second time in as many opportunities, Jose Mourinho had turned to his Argentine play-makers for a spark. And on came Erik Lamela and Giovani Lo Celso. Like him or not – Lamela certainly splits opinion. You know what you are going to get from him; some mazy dribbles, an odd shot or two and a lot of irritating of the opposing team with his harrying defending. Alternatively, Lo Celso is an unknown wildcard for Spurs as he continues to adapt to life in England.
Lo Celso had a solid season for Real Betis, playing 46 games, starting 38 and coming on as a substitute an additional eight times. Lo Celso was a marvel in the Europa League, scoring five goals and assisting another in just seven games. He also showed a propensity to draw the attention of officials with four cards, and even had to sit out a game for accumulation of yellows.
He was not quite as impactful in La Liga, but still infuenced his team with nine goals, five assists, and five yellow cards in 32 matches. This included the third goal in Betis’ 3-4 win over Barcelona, along with a brace in a 2-1 victory over Villarreal. Lo Celso finished the year with 16 goals, six assists and 10 yellow cards. At least you knew he was on the field.
Fast forward to the present and we have started to see glimpses of what Lo Celso can add to this team. First his card for standing up for his mates and barking for a booking himself. The support both he and Lamela give to the team speaks volumes about what they both bring to the pitch. There were two moments in the Liverpool game, where, on a different day we’d all be talking about the impact Lo Celso had on the match.
The first, around the 74th minute mark when Lo Celso went sliding in on a challenge in the attacking half, winningit back for Lucas Moura. Tottenham had a few good opportunities to score and this was one of them. On a different day, Son blasts it past Alison instead of lashing it over.
The second opportunity was, frankly, heartbreaking, as it almost seemed impossible for Giovani to miss. At about 81 minutes, Serge Aurier laid in a perfect cross to Lo Celso, who came running up to the back post. Lo Celso made what appeared to be clear contact with the ball. Lo Celso’s volley inexplicably cut across the mouth of the goal, flying out of bounds and well past the goal.
Despite the missed opportunities, Lo Celso’s effort and contribution were noticeable in the loss. The good news is the tackle leading to an opportunity will hopefully be the first of many, and if you keep putting yourself in position eventually you will score. Let’s hope that comes sooner rather than later,