Opinion: Tottenham look better under Nuno now and this is why

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Nuno Espirito Santo
Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur over the past two games against Aston Villa and Newcastle versus Tottenham Hotspur in the consecutive defeats to Palace, Chelsea and Arsenal… well, it’s like night and day.

I don’t just say this because Spurs recorded a couple of wins. I’m talking about the quality of play in general. Nuno’s side are pressing higher, working harder and, most importantly, creating more chances.

I believe this comes primarily from a change in formation, as well as improvements in fitness and simply allowing the manager time to embed his style.

Against Villa, Nuno moved from a flat 4-3-3 to a 4-2-3-1, dropping Dele to the bench and pushing Tanguy Ndombele up into a number 10 role. This has been needed.

In the 4-3-3, Tottenham were passing the ball around a flat and rigid three-man midfield, only ever going sideways while the front three were left isolated up top.

Now, Ndombele occupies that pocket between the lines, serving as a link between defence and attack. While he wasn’t great against Villa, Tanguy was the linchpin today, the driving force in everything good from Spurs. In short, he ran the show.

Ndombele offers an outball between the lines, then looks for the runs of Kane, Son, Moura, and overlapping Reguilon and Emerson. It gives Spurs more positive movement, rather than side-to-side boredom.

What’s more, Ndombele happens to be an extremely talented football. If he could recreate the effort, graft and output of today in even half of his Premier League games, he could become one of the best number tens in the division.

Watch this space…

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