Five things learned as Edwards chases Tottenham in the Sporting draw
Tottenham’s chances of advancing to the Champions League round of 16 remain alive after drawing 1-1 with Sporting CP at home. The performance left much to be desired, although the point could prove crucial after Frankfurt’s 2-1 victory over Marseille.
Marcus Edwards came back to haunt his old club in north London, scoring the first goal of the night in the 22nd minute. The 23-year-old dodged past several Spurs defenders before launching a vicious strike past Hugo Lloris. and went to the farthest corner. Rodrigo Bentacur then climbed higher from a corner to head in a crucial equalizer in the 80th minute, just minutes after Sporting had squandered several chances to double their lead.
Antonio Conte displayed a frustrated figure on the sidelines throughout the match, although his team lacked the aggressiveness their coach had. Spurs thought they had managed to secure a historic win late in the game after Harry Kane struck from close range in the 94th minute, but an extended VAR review saw the winner annulled due to the England international being offside, and Conte received a red. card after appealing the decision.
The draw means Tottenham remain top of the group, thanks to results elsewhere, heading into the final round of group stage matches and Conte must provoke a reaction from his side if they are to do well in the competition. But what else did we learn at night?
Conte continues to trust his 3-4-3
Conte’s team selection against Sporting certainly suggested that he is not entirely convinced by the 3-5-2 system he has implemented recently. The Italian opted to return to his tried and tested 3-4-3, mainly at the expense of Yves Bissouma, who fell to the bench in place of Lucas Moura.
With a three-man attack, Tottenham looked more threatening going forward and their attacks had more purpose compared to when Kane and Son were leading the line. However, it came at the expense of their dominance in midfield, with Edwards’ goal showing why having a holding midfielder, such as Bissouma, to clean up loose balls should still be considered an option.
Lucas Moura is still considered an option
Towards the latter stages of the transfer window, reports emerged that clubs were eyeing Lucas Moura. Although the Brazilian international seems to have a future in north London and could be a rotation option for Conte going forward considering he started over Bryan Gil on Wednesday night.
Lucas lacks the star quality and presence that Richarlison and Dejan Kulusevski bring, though his direct style of play is something Tottenham have lacked when looking for another option. With Spurs games set to pile up, the 30-year-old’s return from injury could be understated news that could help them in the later stages of the campaign.
Marcus Edwards puts on the shop window
History was set and Marcus Edwards certainly did his bit for Sporting. The side was electric, once again, against Tottenham and showed that his former team made a serious mistake by letting him go in 2019.
The England Under-20 international has been linked with a return to the Premier League on several occasions, and his performance on Wednesday night showed why clubs would be interested. Edwards’ pace and tight control make him a defensive nightmare and he could prove a valuable asset to any team competing on the European stage if he leaves Sporting.
Rubén Amorim justifies the interest
Sporting manager Ruben Amorim has been linked with several vacancies so far this season, including Brighton and Wolves, and his tactical set-up against Spurs showed why. His team was solid defensively, but also versatile in attacking, and he was willing to build attacks slowly, as well as rush into the counterattack.
Chelsea reportedly held talks with Amorim before appointing Graham Potter, sounding him out as a long-term option, and his managerial potential makes it clear why. If Amorim can continue to impress as Sporting, he will surely have a good chance of landing a prominent role in one of Europe’s top leagues.
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