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Hot Off The Press: Tottenham Hotspur

Emma de Duve of football.london on Spurs

1 December 2021

Following a seventh-placed finish last season, Tottenham are currently sat in the same position in the Premier League table after six wins from their first 12 games. What have you made of what you’ve seen so far?

It has been a chaotic start to the season with some mixed results and already a change in manager. Most of the performances so far this season have been less than impressive and a number of players have failed to step up when they have been given the opportunity. A number of players have had the opportunity to impress their new boss, like in the game against NS Mura last Thursday, but have failed to do so and there seems to be some energy and passion lacking from the side. However with Conte's arrival, there is a lot of hope that he can make major improvements to the side and help them produce the results needed. So hasn't been a great start to the season but it can only get better!

Antonio Conte replaced Nuno Espirito Santo as head coach a month ago and, at the time of writing, has overseen one draw and one win. How has he been received by the Spurs fans so far?

As expected, Conte has had a warm welcome from the players and the fans and it's a great appointment for Spurs to try and end their ongoing trophy drought. There is a lot of work for the Italian to do at Tottenham, which he has already alluded to in press conferences, but he seems determined to help his new side improve.  Although it can be quite harsh, it is also quite refreshing for Conte to be so honest about the level of Tottenham and the acknowledgement of just how much work there is to do. It is almost a reality check the players maybe need and it has all been well received by fans.

While Harry Kane has been starring for England of late, he not been at his prolific best at club level in the first three months of the campaign. Given his international form and a change in management, have there been any signs of encouragement over the past few weeks?

It has been disappointing for Kane not to be getting goals, especially with his seven in the most recent international break. There is inevitable pressure on the England captain, with no other real option up front for Tottenham, making it even more noticeable when he isn't providing the goals Spurs fans are all used to. In the last couple of games there have been spells where Kane looks a bit more up for it and seems to be getting a few more goal scoring opportunities but it is also proving more difficult because of the lack of service he is getting. Creativity in the middle of the field is arguably Tottenham's biggest issue currently, and that is making it hard for the striker to find the back of the net. However, Conte has already praised Kane and explained that he wants to help him "make his dream come true" of winning in a Spurs shirt. Therefore, hopefully with more work with his new boss, it won't be long before he is back to his goal scoring ways.

Which player should Brentford fans be keeping an eye on on Thursday night?

Not an easy one to answer with so many players being out of form at the moment. I would say Heung-min Son and Kane because they will both want to get back to helping Spurs in that attacking third and get some more of the combination goals that have helped Tottenham so much in the past.

How is Antonio Conte likely to set up his side at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium?

A positive of the game being postponed on Sunday is that Conte has some extra time to prepare his side for the game and with his track record, there will be some intense training sessions in the run-up to the game. Unless anyone picks up knocks beforehand, I would imagine he will line-up the same as he was going to against Burnley, sticking with his favoured 3-4-3 formation. I think he will keep mostly the same team with Davinson Sanchez seeming to get the nod to replace the injured Cristian Romero and Oliver Skipp replacing Harry Winks after he was suspended against Leeds.

My predicted line-up would be: Lloris; Sanchez, Dier, Davies; Royal, Hojbjerg, Skipp, Reguilon; Son, Kane, Moura

With the last seven meetings having come in the League Cup, this is the first league match between the two sides in 72 years. What’s your score prediction?

As I said before, I think Brentford playing on Sunday and Tottenham just having that extra time to prepare could work in their favour. After a woeful performance against NS Mura in the Europa Conference League and a postponed game on Sunday, Spurs will hopefully want to and be expected to come out with some fight and desire, though Brentford will go into the tie with some confidence after their weekend result. I will remain positive and hope Tottenham can get the three points they need, so I will say 2-1 Spurs.

Tickets for this fixture are sold out. Tickets for Sunday's away game against Leeds United are still available at the Box Office only until Thursday 2 December (subject to availability).


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