Are Spurs a better team without Antonio Conte?
I feel it is within every Tottenham supporter’s right to credit themselves the title soothsayer, subsequent to the incremental increase in the difficulty of trying to predict which Spurs team will show up on a given day.
For the masses who truly love and support the Lillywhites, the game versus West Ham brought with it well-needed and deserved stability. An ultimately routine victory saw Tottenham leap into the top four for the first time since New Year’s Eve, and now find themselves with a seemingly wide-open season.
Spurs are currently perched slightly above contenders Newcastle, who had failed to nip anything away from challengers Liverpool.
Despite having to watch the game from the comfort of his home, such a radical improvement from a fairly uneventful first half would surely suggest Antonio Conte had his say.
A change in the team’s general demeanor was immediately noticeable. The actions of the collective became increasingly incisive, aggressive and deliberate.
By contrast, Tottenham was far removed from the cumbersome outfit whose only serious first-half threat had come at the end, with Richarlison’s shot being routinely blocked by the legs of Lukasz Fabianski.
A shrewd and dominant second-half performance brought forth the inevitable victory – the fruit of their labour.
The Spurs Faithful thoroughly enjoyed coaxing Emerson Royal to shoot whenever he received the ball, after the wandering right wing-back opened the scoring from 14 yards out.
His goal was the byproduct of exemplary vision, creativity and dynamism between our two marauding fullbacks.
Højbjerg’s deep, curved and weighted pass beyond Coufal and Ogbonna plunged through the nucleus of the Hammer’s defense, sending Davies well on his way to play the Brazilian in on goal.
Stellini had opted to demote Son Heung-min to the bench, who himself has acknowledged the poor run of form he’s had this season.
Rather than allowing negative narratives to cloud his judgment, a freshly introduced Son calmy and charismatically slotted home merely four minutes after his introduction, running unto a razor’s edge pass from Harry Kane.
“We knew Sonny’s response would be perfect because he’s a perfect guy.”Cristian Stellini
The Tottenham assistant manager had suggested that Sonny had not been fully fit since the World Cup and needed managing carefully.
“You have to take a decision. It’s difficult with a player like Sonny but we have to do it because we have a lot of matches and the risk is that you lose a player for a long time.”Cristian Stellini
Stellini acknowledged Spurs, demolished at Leicester and outdone in Milan on the back of eclipsing Manchester City, need to “be consistent in this kind of performance”.
If Tottenham are to truly challenge for a place amongst the elites of domestic football, performances such as the one verses West Ham would need to be heightened and fine tuned.
Conte’s presence seemed to appear vicariously through the volumes of Stellini, barring the overly elaborate nature.
He remained in constant contact with his assistant throughout the entire fixture, consulting over substitutions and tactical setups.
Antonio is also expected to miss next week Sunday’s meeting with London rivals Chelsea, as he continues on his journey to recovery.
May his return be greeted with renewed mindsets and galvanised spirits.
“It was an important game in an important moment,”Cristian Stellini
, and Spurs must not relinquish this grip we have found.
Thoughts on the game:
- Emerson Royal continues to impress, displaying an overall spike in growth. His decision making continues to improve and as such, it is being shown in his performances.
- Ben Davies given the room at wing back brings dynamism to the left. He is strong defensively and has the requisite skill sets to attack when necessary. The decision gave the team added balance offensively and defensively.
- Christian Stellini’s calmness by nature may be an important cog in Tottenham’s in game mindset. it was obvious that his more gentle approach prompted more ‘riskier’ passes from the team overall. Maybe the players are less reluctant to make the sure pass knowing they have more freedom to be themselves. He is now six for six as a substitution manager in his career.
- Skippy’s youthful exuberance is irreplaceable in midfield.