How the substitutes changed the game for Tottenham
Almost immediately, you could see more of the game shift with Dier and Bentancur on the pitch, as each brought something the player they replaced had not.
Bentancur brought the energy Bissouma was lacking
Although Bissouma played 45 minutes as part of a three-man midfield, and Spur’s ball dominance increased as the game continued, the greater activity from Rodrigo Bentancur was evident. In just 32 minutes, Bentancur had just one less touch and attempted three fewer passes than Bissouma in nearly an hour, whoscored.com.
Bentancur’s activity and work rate were a terrific introduction when Spurs were trying to clamp down on the Cherries and dominate the game.
Whereas Bentancur’s industry helped flip the game for Tottenham, with Dier, it was his willingness to get forward and play in spaces where Sanchez will not. Sure Sanchez was getting forward during set pieces, but Dier got forward in open play.
Dier got forward in attack in a way Sanchez cannot
On nearly his first play in the match, Eric Dier overlapped around Emerson Royal, pushing Spurs further up the pitch. Although that play did not result in anything special, it laid the groundwork for future changes. If Dier could get up the pitch overlapping with the wing-back, then Tottenham could use an inverted wing-back to provide both a right-footed and left-footed crossing option.
Sessegnon stays on the right, while Perisic goes left
Having earned a few more minutes with his goal, Sessegnon had bought Conte the time to see how Bournemouth would defend. He responded by finally bringing on Ivan Perisic, only for Royal and not Sessegnon, who moved to the right side.
Many would see this as an indictment on Royal; instead, it was part of Conte’s tactical gambit to leverage Dier’s willingness and ability to go forward and provide an alternative to get the ball into the box. With Lucas Moura also in the mix, Tottenham needed a left-footed option.
Why have three right-footed crossing options when Dier and Lucas could provide right-footed crossing options and Sessegnon could provide a left-footed alternative?
This same basic premise held when Perisic came over to the right, given his ability with his left foot. Later, when Sessegnon was finally substituted, Bryan Gil came on, giving Tottenham that inverted option on the right.
A left-footed option was an excellent compliment to Dier overlapping and Lucas Moura dropping deeper. Suddenly Tottenham had far more opportunities to get the ball into the box on the right.
The goals won the game for Tottenham; however, the willingness to push forward and alter our normal patterns changed the game. That, along with the class and industry from Bentancur, helped Spurs snatch all three points.