Journalist Paul Brown doesn’t think either Dele Alli or Tanguy Ndombele should have started Sunday’s north London derby defeat at Arsenal.
Why did they start?
Following two Premier League matches without scoring and two horrendous defeats to Crystal Palace and Chelsea, Nuno Espirito Santo opted to play an extremely attacking team at the Emirates.
Ndombele and Alli lined up alongside Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in a three-man midfield. On paper it looked an exciting proposition, but those three started against Chelsea seven days earlier and got ripped to shreds in the second-half.
With Arsenal always likely to counter-attack with pace and quality, Tottenham’s back four badly needed some protection, and that was never going to come from either Alli or Ndombele.
But even in an attacking sense, Alli has been directly involved in just two goals in nine games across all competitions this season, whilst the Frenchman’s goal against Wolves in the Carabao Cup last Wednesday was his first since his spectacular effort at Sheffield United in January, which means they added little at both ends of the pitch.
The Tottenham boss said that he took full responsibility for the defeat and admitted that he made some wrong decisions in regard to his team selection.
Brown wasn’t surprised that Santo held his hands up and felt that neither should have been named in the starting line-up.
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What did Brown say?
He told GIVEMESPORT: “He did say, I picked the wrong players, so he was saying I made a mistake I shouldn’t have picked them. So, you can read that as a criticism to the players, but at least he’s accepting that he made a mistake himself. And I think he’s right.”
Who should have played?
With Harry Winks and Giovani Lo Celso badly out of form, Santo was left with very few options in the middle of the park.
Winks hasn’t been used since his poor performance at Crystal Palace earlier this month, whilst Lo Celso simply hasn’t cut the mustard during his time in England.
But Oliver Skipp, a Tottenham academy graduate that understands what the north London derby means and someone that has done little to be being dropped from the side, simply should have started. Skipp might not offer the same quality or passing range as Ndombele, but that type of game was made for the young midfielder, who proved that with his second-half showing.