Tottenham Hotspur achieved a feat on Saturday which both of Manchester’s giants have failed to emulate so far this season: beating Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Premier League.
In a peculiar Saturday evening kick-off, Tottenham recorded a 3-2 victory over Wolves in a pulsating encounter which had just about everything – other than a successful three goal turnaround of course.
Mauricio Pochettino’s side were in potent mood in the final-third and they raced into a three goal lead courtesy of goals from Erik Lamela, Lucas Moura and Harry Kane.
Not only did the former slam home Tottenham’s opener in a manner which you would expect of a player in such red-hot form, he also played a delicious ball with his weaker right-foot to provide Kane with the opportunity to score the killer third goal.
It was yet another inspired performance from a player whose importance to the club is rising with every passing fixture, and he earned a place in BBC pundit Garth Crooks’ team of the week as a consequence.
But Crooks used the opportunity to place Lamela’s form in the context of Pochettino’s squad selection, with Dele Alli cited as a player who could suffer from the Argentine’s exceptional improvement.
‘Last week I told you Erik Lamela had the ability to force Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino to place Dele Alli onto the bench for a period of time.
‘The Argentine’s performance against Wolves simply reinforced what I already knew. If Alli knows what is good for him he should treat the challenge as a compliment.
‘Competition for places has always been in the best interest of the team and the player on the bench can learn a lot. Mainly how to win his place back.’
While there is no doubt that Pochettino will need to call upon both Alli and Lamela throughout the campaign, Lamela’s recent performances prove that the Spurs boss may well be faced with a selection headache when both players are fully fit.
The implication from Crooks is that Lamela should get the nod over Alli at this moment in time, and the England international needs to take a leaf out of his teammates book in order to return to the starting eleven.
That’s a fair assessment based on how superb Lamela has been in a number ten role as opposed to the right-wing berth which he has occupied throughout the majority of his career in north London.
Selection dilemmas of this nature are healthy for the squad dynamic and should positively contribute to Alli’s continuous development, but it will be interesting to see how Tottenham line-up when Pochettino has no injury concerns dictating his selection choices.
Either way, Alli may be facing the biggest threat to his first-team place since he broke onto the scene.
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