Although we will not have games that count until Boxing Day, Tottenham Hotspur has two friendlies on the horizon as the World Cup end nears.
An unprecedented break means teams will have to do unprecedented things. Normally, friendly matches are not an option when a team is in the middle of the season. However, this is not a normal season, and as such, Tottenham Hotspur has lined up a couple of opportunities to keep the team sharp and ready for Brentford on Boxing Day with two friendlies.
Spurs have managed to schedule to very different friendlies, serving two different purposes. First, comes a match against Scottish side Motherwell and then Spurs will play French side OGC Nice. Interestingly, both teams sit ninth in their respective leagues, and both games will be available on the Spursplay streaming service.
Beyond those similarities, we should expect the games to be quite different for the fans and the players involved.
Motherwell represents an opportunity for Tottenham squad players
The Motherwell game should excite fans for a couple of reasons. First, the game is soon, with Spurs hosting the Well this Friday, December 9. For those with the service, the match should relieve a longstanding need for some Tottenham action. Maybe more important for the team is that Motherwell is an opportunity.
A dozen Tottenham players were called to the World Cup. Less, Pape Matar Sarr, and Joe Rodon, 10 of the 12 command major minutes in the squad. Although only half of the 12 are still playing, the other six will not participate on Friday. This means many squad players will have a chance to play real minutes.
Players like Yves Bissouma and Oliver Skipp, who have seen limited action in the midfield but are going to be needed, will have a chance. Additionally, one would hope it would also be an opportunity to see some players we never see, like Djed Spence or Japhet Tanganga.
Whoever Antonio Conte selects will not be the regular starting XI.
Nice will be a tune-up for Boxing Day Return
Whereas Motherwell will occur soon, the Nice match will make us wait. Spurs do not play Nice on Wednesday, December 21, three days after the World Cup and five days before our Boxing Day date with Brentford.
At that point, only those players who made the final four would likely not be back with the club, and the match would not be about taking a look at players. Rather, the match would be about getting sharp for a real game less than a week later.
Several of the regular starters who are not available this weekend will certainly be available then. Barring injuries, we should expect players like Pierre Hojbjerg and Heung-min Son to be among those who take on the French side at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
While the games will not count in the big picture, for the players who get to play in each, they are important, and for our fans, they bring some welcome action in the middle of a long drought.