The Lowdown: Spurs top Group D…
The Lilywhites have now finished top of their Champions League group, in what is a mighty relief for both Spurs supporters and manager Antonio Conte.
Tottenham were made to work relentlessly hard on the final matchday away to Ligue 1 giants Marseille and were staring at group stage elimination when Chancel Mbemba netted the opener on the stroke of half-time.
Much like their comeback against Bournemouth in the Premier League last weekend, Conte’s side were made to dig deep, but a second-half equaliser from Clement Lenglet and a dramatic Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg winner ensured that Spurs reigned victorious.
The north Londoners will look back on their group campaign with satisfaction, although some results, like their 1-1 draw at home to Sporting Lisbon in late October, prompted some criticism.
The Latest: Agbonlahor slams Royal after footage…
After seeing footage of a failed no-look pass from Emerson against Sporting which went out of play for a goal kick, former Aston Villa striker Agbonlahor has moved to strongly criticise the Brazilian.
The talkSPORT regular claims that he would have never played Spurs’ right-back ‘again’ after that moment if he were in the dugout and not Conte.
Agbonlahor explained to Football Insider: “He’s got a trampoline foot. To be giving it the eyes when you cannot even pass when your eyes are on the ball is a disgrace.
“If I was the manager, I’d have never played him again. I would have taken him off and never played him again. It was the most embarrassing thing I’ve ever seen.
“There are only a few Premier League players that have got the right to be doing a no-look pass. A Christian Eriksen, a Bruno Fernandes, those sorts of players. Not Emerson Royal.
“I don’t understand what he does well. He can’t defend well, he can’t attack well, and he’s not good on the ball.
“He’s not a defender who should be playing in a team who are trying to get into the top-four and playing Champions League football.”
The Verdict: Harsh?
There is a reason that Conte has largely favoured the 23-year-old in his crucial right wing-back role.
You could argue that Emerson has displayed bundles of energy with a real work ethic from out wide, and the combative ace has also averaged Spurs’ third-highest rate of tackles per 90 (WhoScored).
One misplaced ball certainly shouldn’t warrant him being dropped indefinitely, but one aspect of the South American’s game which could be improved is his delivery in the final third.
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