Opinion: Davies vs Lenglet: Who should start for Spurs against Man City?

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Clement Lenglet
(Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)

There were a few grumbles over the summer when Tottenham missed out on key left-centre back targets and, in the end, Frenchman Clement Lenglet was brought in on loan from Barcelona.

The signing at the time felt a touch underwhelming, with it seemingly signalling Davies would solidify his spot in the starting 11. Fast forward to now and it’s Lenglet who’s found himself starting and impressing on that left-hand side.

In his first start at Fulham last Saturday, it was clear to see what the Barcelona loanee was brought in for. Lenglet’s quality on the ball has always been a strength and it was showcased brilliantly in Tottenham’s 2-1 victory.

In comparison to his Welsh teammate, there’s not much between them so far in performance. Lenglet completed 49 of his 55 attempted passes against Fulham (89%) while against West Ham Davies completed 53 of his 61 attempts (87%).

Both carry the ball well and the left-centre-backs’ ventures forward have been a key element in Conte’s system since his arrival. Against Marseille in the Champions League Lenglet completed 45 carries and 42 against Fulham, with Davies completing 50 against West Ham but just 20 against Nottingham Forest.

Both match up similarly statistically but where Davies may have the edge is in his defensive actions. Lenglet has yet to be truly tested, while Davies has been a revelation since Conte’s arrival.

Davies is constantly throwing his body on the line and showing the passion and commitment the Italian manager demands from all his players. This was demonstrated perfectly in the 94th minute against Marseille when, already on the floor, Davies managed to throw his head in the way of a shot to save Hugo Lloris from being called into action.

Saturday’s opponent, Manchester City, offers the biggest challenge so far this season for Tottenham, especially with their new forward Erling Haaland, who has 10 Premier League goals in six matches (BBC Sport).

Perhaps with this in mind, Conte could opt for Davies and his defensive quality. But it’s certainly interesting that Conte subbed both Romero and Lenglet off in the 72nd minute against Marseille, a potential rest for two players in his plans for Saturday?

If you ask me, I think given the substitution alongside Romero, Conte intends to give Lenglet a chance to solidify himself at left-centre back.

Whatever happens on Saturday, Tottenham have two solid options on the left side of defence and Spurs fans will feel a level of confidence in both. But regardless of who plays, Tottenham are in for a tough test against the current title holders!

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