Opinion: Mourinho found a Dele Alli solution and undid his good work

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

It has been an up and down couple of seasons for Dele Alli at Tottenham, perhaps largely influenced by the high bar set by himself during his early Lilywhite career.

After moving from MK Dons to North London, the then-teenager slotted straight into the first-team and scored ten goals in 46 games for Spurs in the 2015/16 season.

This was then bettered by his career-best campaign the following year, as Dele scored 22 goals in 50 games, followed by 14 goals in 50 games in the 2017/18 season.

Unfortunately, these numbers dropped to just seven last season and the midfield man currently has eight in the 2019/20 campaign (Wikipedia).

A large part of this supposed downfall came in the form of injuries, as the midfielder managed only 38 games in 2018/19. Pochettino also opted to move him into a deeper role or even out on the left-wing at times.

When Mourinho came in as the new head coach, he changed things up by putting Dele back to his favoured number 10 role, which was rewarded by a flurry of three goals and two assists in the Special One’s first four games in charge (Transfer Markt).

However, since then, perhaps due to the injuries to Kane, Sissoko, and Ndombele, Dele seems to have drifted into the old routine of central midfield or left midfield.

Until the game against Norwich last night, the goals and assists had been drying up for the England man.

I would argue that Dele should still be playing that centre-forward role and that Spurs would look much better with him up front and Son/Moura playing off him.

Of course, the best option by far would be to sign a new replacement striker, put him up top, then have Son and Moura on either wing and Dele as a number ten.

We know his best position and we know how effective he can be there, so let’s play him there.

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