After a mundane first half, Tottenham finally came to their senses and earned three points against Wolverhampton. Spurs, perhaps for just a moment, rise to the top of the table but great improvements are required in order to maintain that position. Before continuing the celebration, let's first look at the flaws we saw today.
Unfortunately, Heung-min Son is still struggling in terms of goal scoring. Many fans are already on his back and call for Richarlison to start, but I am not ready to hit the panic button just yet. Last season, Cristiano Ronaldo and Jamie Vardy scored 18 goals and 15 goals, respectively, which was good enough for 3rd and 6th in the golden boot race. Both are yet to find the back of the net so far this season (Note: This was written immediately after the conclusion of the Spurs game. Thus this could change following the conclusion of the weekend). Maybe a better example would be Harry Kane's start to last season in which he went scoreless in the first six games and scored once in the first 13 games. Son clearly isn't playing at the world-class level we saw last season and although he should be held accountable for that, I wouldn't be surprised if he goes on a tear as Tottenham meet Nottingham Forest, West Ham, and Fulham in the following three weeks.
Spurs fans have hailed Conte as a tactical genius but there is clearly a problem in the midfield. Once again, the midfield of Bentancur and Højbjerg was outnumbered and for significant portions of the game, they were outmatched. Perhaps Kane could be the one to help carry the burden by taking on the role of an attacking midfielder. He certainly has the passing ability to do so. Switching to a traditional back four seems unlikely as both Eric Dier and Ben Davies appear less confident when placed in a back four. Not to mention Cristian Romero is expected to miss the next two matches. These may not be optimal solutions, but there is clearly trouble in the Tottenham midfield and Conte will have to prove his genius and solve it.
My man of the match once again goes to the left wingback, Ivan Perišić. It seems like Perišić can do no wrong on the pitch. His defense is sound and his offense is lethal. Following a pair of poor corner kicks from Son, Perišić stepped up and delivered a dangerous ball that Davinson Sanchez couldn't put away. Not much later, he flicked on a corner kick. This time, Harry Kane headed it past Wolves goalkeeper, José Sá. Another phenomenal Perišić performance does come with some concerns, the main one being his age. At 33 years old, one must wonder if it is in Tottenham's best interest to rely on the Croatian to be amongst their best performers week in, week out.
Other notable contributions include Tottenham's own Harry Kane who scored the lone goal of the game. The header was his 185th Tottenham goal and set the Premier League record for most goals with a single club. A truly remarkable feat for a truly remarkable player. Dejan Kulusevski showed flashes of brilliance yet again. The Swede's left foot cross nearly resulted in his second assist of the season. Lastly, Davinson Sanchez should receive some shine for stepping in for Romero. The difference was definitely notable but at the end of the day, Sanchez held a clean sheet.
With a few weeks left in the transfer window, Tottenham fans will be drooling over potential signings. However, I believe this season's spark will come from Richarlison. Every time the Brazilian steps foot on the pitch, you can feel the electricity. Today, in about twenty minutes of action, he had two impressive solo runs, one of which saw him nutmeg a defender before arriving in the box. Richarlison gives the Spurs versatility in a way few players can. With the ability to play across the front three, Tottenham have countless ways to lineup. Maybe he comes on for Son like today. Maybe next week he'll come on for Kane. I wouldn't be surprised if he comes on for Kulusevski and Conte shifts to a 3-5-2 with Kane in the center. In short, we may not know where Richarlison will play but we know that when he does play, he'll change the game.
How do you feel about this energized Tottenham side? How long will they stay at the top?
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