Tottenham Hotspur will still be licking their wounds after being knocked out of the Carabao Cup on penalties by Chelsea on Thursday, as well as the FA Cup at the hands of Crystal Palace. However, football moves fast and with Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son still unavailable, Mauricio Pochettino will need to carry on getting by without his two main go-to frontmen.
With the two main goalscorers gone, Pochettino has to look to both Lucas Moura and Fernando Llorente to score the goals and lead the line. Llorente may have scored at Stamford Bridge, but Lucas Moura shouldn’t be overlooked and in this TT battle, we’ll be comparing Pochettino’s options as they prepare for a tough run of fixtures without their main stars.
It’s roughly one whole year since Lucas Moura swapped Paris for London in a £23 million move. The Brazilian’s goals have been a welcome bonus to the current squad in North London and his ability to play up front as a false nine makes him an interesting player for Pochettino to deputise in the absence of Harry Kane, especially seeing as he’d never played there prior to his Tottenham days.
Lucas’ record of nine goals and six assists in his 40 games for Tottenham is a modest return, however, when you consider that the vast majority of those games have come with him playing on the right-hand side of a midfield three behind Harry Kane, it becomes more impressive. His ability to play on the shoulder of the last man is an asset to Poch, and it would be no surprise to see him used their to great effect in Kane’s absence.
TT GRADE: A
From a false nine to a real old school number nine, Fernando Llorente couldn’t be more different as a striker to Lucas Moura. The Spanish World Cup winner may be past his prime, but when you give him the service he thrives off he will still score goals. That was evident against Chelsea when he headed home a Danny Rose cross which ultimately sent the game to penalties.
However, whilst Llorente may be a monster in the air, the way he plays couldn’t be more anti-Pochettino. The target-man slows down Tottenham’s fluid passing moves in the build-up to goals and whilst his ability in the air is unmatched amongst the Spurs squad, his ability to hold the ball up is lacking, making him a very one-dimensional option and someone who’s easy to snuff out.
TT GRADE C
There’s no doubting that Fernando Llorente is a much more natural striker than Lucas Moura, however, with Pochettino’s Tottenham famed for their fluid passing and intense pressing, the Spaniard just doesn’t fit the mould of a striker in his system. His goals at Tottenham have been very useful, and his cup record is mightly impressive, but he just doesn’t have the attributes that Lucas has.
When Lucas Moura is firing, he’s near impossible to stop, ask Jose Mourinho, and for that reason, he has to be the man that Pochettino turns to in his current crisis. When Kane and Son return, Lucas will still play a major role in the squad whilst Llorente will not and for those reasons, there’s no way that Lucas Moura can be losing this TT Battle.
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