Tottenham Hotspur is not going to solely reclaim their spot on the high of the Premier League desk with victory over Fulham this night, however set up a two-point lead following Arsenal’s draw in opposition to Chelsea on Saturday.
Since Ange Postecoglou‘s appointment in the summertime, Tottenham have been reborn as a thriving outfit, with sights set on a return to the Champions League after ending within the high 4 throughout simply one of many previous 4 seasons.
And with six victories from eight matches, Spurs are presently having fun with their greatest begin to the league season since 1960/61, when Invoice Nicholson’s aspect clinched the membership’s second top-flight title.
What is the newest Tottenham workforce information?
In opposition to Fulham, Tottenham will definitely must have their wits about them however might be fuelled by each Heung-min Son and Cristian Romero’s returns from minor accidents sustained on worldwide responsibility.
Midfield engine Yves Bissouma, nevertheless, will sit this one out as a consequence of suspension, having picked up two yellow playing cards within the win over Luton City two weeks in the past.
Brennan Johnson, who signed from Nottingham Forest for £47.5m in the summertime, could possibly be concerned after lacking the previous two video games with a hamstring damage, however Rodrigo Bentancur, Manor Solomon, Ivan Perisic and Ryan Sessegnon are all nonetheless sidelined.
Postecoglou claimed this week that whereas Bissouma’s absence might be a blow, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is a “ready-made alternative“, with the Dane now slated to make his first begin of the season.
Will Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg begin vs Fulham?
Hojbjerg has been one thing of a stalwart for Spurs since signing from Southampton for simply £15m in 2020, however has fallen by the wayside underneath Postecoglou’s stewardship.
The 28-year-old battler has additionally attracted the eye of European giants similar to Atletico Madrid and Juventus of late, who’re each excited by his providers although must meet Tottenham’s €30m (£26m) ballpark valuation.
It, due to this fact, stays to be seen whether or not or not he’ll nonetheless be on the membership by the tip of the January switch window if that curiosity materialises into one thing critical.
|22/23 PL Gamers Most Passes (premierleague.com)|
|#||Participant||No. of Passes|
|3||Virgil van Dijk||2,581|
Whereas Bissouma, who has been described as a “monster” by journalist Aaron Stokes, is among the foremost midfielders within the Premier League at current, Hojbjerg very a lot holds the qualities to function that ‘ready-made alternative’.
A superlative distributor of the ball, the £100k-per-week ace concluded the 2022/23 league time period with probably the most accomplished passes of any Tottenham participant and the sixth-highest in your complete division, as proven by the desk above.
Fulham usually are not clicking in entrance of objective at current and Hojbjerg’s inclusion will suffocate and frustrate, stopping build-up play whereas, in tandem, choosing out clever passes to push the frontline into hazard areas.
As per FBref, he ranks among the many high 15% of midfielders throughout Europe’s high 5 leagues and European competitions over the previous yr for passes tried, and the highest 18% for cross completion and progressive passes per 90, incomes reward for his “phenomenal” attributes by figures similar to former boss Jose Mourinho.
Fulham’s struggles in entrance of objective this season have been evident, with simply eight strikes scored from as many matches – solely the underside three and Crystal Palace have scored fewer.
And with a metronomic presence within the centre similar to Hojbjerg, Marco Silva’s workforce’s fluidity might be successfully stifled and permit the forward-thinking friends, such because the prodigious Alejo Veliz, to make their mark.
Ought to Alejo Veliz play vs Fulham?
This season, the “fearsome” centre-forward, as he has been dubbed by former coach Adrian Dezotti, has solely made two senior appearances for Spurs, although he’s rising into his pores and skin with every passing week.
Dezotti has additionally pronounced the proficient striker to be a “strategist”, and his intelligence and ingenuity might pay dividends in opposition to Fulham’s defensive block.
As per FBref, the Argentinian prospect ranks among the many high 14% of positional friends over the previous yr for targets scored, the highest 1% for clearances, and the highest 13% for aerial wins per 90.
An arresting mix of qualities, highlighting his robustness and tenacity, however the latter, his aerial metric, distinguishes the 6 foot 1 phenom as a expertise with the making of a very formidable ahead, one who boasts the innate placing skill to marry with a ‘full’ sport that his capped by his heading ability.
Profitable 4.95 per 90, Veliz provides a really totally different menace to his captain, Son, who wins simply 0.18 per sport. In fact, the South Korean star’s skills lie elsewhere, however deploying him on the left and permitting Veliz to strut his stuff within the centre could possibly be worthwhile in opposition to a resolute Fulham backline.
With Veliz having featured throughout each of Tottenham’s previous two Premier League matches – albeit briefly – the indicators are there that Postecoglou is starting to anticipate a extra distinguished function for his South American sensation.
Though, there isn’t any rush to make him a pivotal member of the squad if he’s not capable of hit the bottom working, as a consequence of his age and inexperience at this degree.
Fulham rank twelfth within the division for headed clearances this time period with 73 – one behind the Lilywhites’ 74, in actual fact – and whereas they’re no pushovers aerially, Veliz can inflict harm because the focal frontman.
Fulham are a workforce reliant on their aggression in closing down opposition and cohesion as a collective unit, and the implementation of this sport plan underneath Silva’s management has paid off spectacularly over the previous few campaigns.
However Postecoglou’s squad holds sufficient firepower within the journal to blow the Cottagers away tonight, and with Hojbjerg’s composure within the center and Veliz’s dominance within the skies, Spurs will preserve their unlikely – but very a lot intact – early title cost.