Tottenham Hotspur makes the cross-country trip to Newcastle on Sunday to visit a United side at St James Park who mostly has played with the togetherness their club name insinuates.
Cristian Stellini will play the exact same eleven and bench he’s played in previous weeks. Therefore, there’s no need to speculate or expect to see Arnuat Danjuma take Dejan Kulusevski’s place or maybe a tactic switch or formation change to ease the pressure on our two central midfielders.
In previous games, Oliver Skipp has been chewed out by sections of Tottenham fans for the offence of not being up to standard. Whilst he’s had miserable moments, he deserves to be cut slack as he has to deal with a counterpart of Pierre Emile Hojbjerg. A player who flirts with playing imperative passes leading to goals, then throws his hands in the air every two minutes and chases a referee around the pitch is unserious about the game around him.
Eric Dier may continue to look utterly average whilst Cuti Romero wanders around the pitch, looking simultaneously remarkable and reckless. Yet, the pair are as likely as each other to be at fault for a goal, though. This Conte-Lite set-up and the limbo state of its lack of actual in-game tactics and match control allows the defence to be terrifyingly vulnerable throughout any game.
Harry Kane, bless you, and good luck. You’re almost all we’ve got. At least Heung-Min Son has begun scoring again. The one positive since Antonio Conte departed, and the one who may or may not even have a coaching badge took over, is Son has been allowed to run at players again, rather than having to exist with his back towards the goal, feeding off the odd loose ball in the 6-yard box.
He’s either been allowed to do such a thing, or he’s finally not listening to the ‘coaching’ staff and doing what he knows best. If it’s the latter, I do salute you, Son.
No matter how humorous I find these final games until this wretched season’s lights finally go out, I feel sorry for some of the players I’m quick to dig out.
How can we expect players like Kulusevski to find form if he will be run into the ground playing a system that keeps the ball away from the attackers unless we’re on a counter-attack? And poor Danjuma, who’s had an actual impact in the three games he’s been allowed to feature in briefly. He’s sat and watched Lucas Moura get minutes ahead of him! For goodness sake, it’s 2023. Amsterdam and that hattrick at home to Huddersfield was a happy accident four years ago.
I’m anticipating a painful 3-1 defeat. Good luck to those traveling, and whatever happens, enjoy the day. Don’t let Tottenham ruin the spirits of a good weekend away.