Ian Wright and Micah Richards have remarked that Tottenham still lack the creativity in the middle of the park needed to challenge the best teams in the Premier League.
Antonio Conte shifted to a 3-5-2 for the clash away at Brighton on Saturday, with Yves Bissouma coming into the team for Richarlison, while Ryan Sessegnon, Ben Davies and Matt Doherty also started in place of Ivan Perisic, Clement Lenglet and the suspended Emerson Royal respectively.
Tottenham started the game on the front foot and pressed their opponents high up the pitch, deservedly taking the lead in the 22nd minute as Harry Kane stooped to turn in Son Heung-min’s shot/cross.
The home side came into the game after Spurs’ opener but they struggled to create too many clear-cut chances.
Tottenham also had opportunities to extend their lead on the counter-attack in the second half but, despite not taking them, they managed to hold on for all three points.
The win at the Amex means that Antonio Conte’s men have now won six and drawn two of their nine Premier League games so far this season. However, neither Richards nor Wright is convinced that the Lilywhites have the midfield to control matches.
When asked by Gary Lineker if Spurs have the squad to compete with other top teams, the former Arsenal striker said on BBC’s Match of the Day: “I don’t think you can question their front-man but its that midfield (that falls short) in controlling a game, to build up rather than just counter-attacking.”
Richards then added: “(They need) an Eriksen-type player. The three in midfield are really three holders. They try to get forward but when the front three are not threatening much, they need someone in there who is going to create something for them.”
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While I can understand where Richards and Wright are coming from, the reality is that Conte does not really play with a conventional number eight.
In the Italian system, the midfielders are expected to be good in all phases of the game, with the creativity mainly coming from the wing-backs and the frontmen.
Only time will tell whether or not this is sustainable in the Premier League, given the quality of all the sides in the competition these days.
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