Tottenham Hotspur had to sit on its embarrassing 1-2 defeat against Mura a little longer, as last Sunday’s match against Burnley was postponed due to snow. While the conditions were certainly not ideal for football, having to make up the fixture later on is not an appealing situation, especially as the club enters the busy festive period.
The one bright side is that it gives Antonio Conte a little more time to work with his squad in training. The new manager continues to overhaul his side’s fitness and implement his tactics, as he also tries to work around some injuries. A few extra days without a match can only do so much, but anything helps in early days.
Brentford is doing fairly well for a newly promoted side, off the relegation zone so far and owning a neutral goal differential. Last season’s Championship playoff winners had lost four straight, but a draw against Newcastle and surprising win over Everton have the Bees trending in the right direction.
Tottenham Hotspur (7th, 19 pts) vs. Brentford (t-11th, 16 pts)
Date: Thursday, December 2
Time: 2:30 pm ET, 7:30 pm UK
Location: Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, England
TV: Peacock Premium (USA), Amazon Prime Video (UK)
Prior to the 1-0 win over the Toffees, Brentford had allowed at least two goals in each of its last four matches. Spurs have only scored multiple goals in three of their 12 league fixtures, though the victory over Leeds did see the team notch their highest xG (2.0) of the season, so perhaps Conte can unlock some offense.
It is becoming more clear about how the manager is attempting to do that. Lucas Moura seems to have a home in the front line, which does make some sense given his desire to drive the ball forward. The goals have yet to really come in this set up, but much of that still falls on Harry Kane, who did score in the Conference League at least.
Even without a suspended match, this time of year makes it difficult to keep track of the table due to teams having played an uneven number of times. That being said, Thursday (and the next couple fixtures) are really must-wins if Tottenham wants to get back into the top four, which looks very doable.
- Though this is Brentford’s first season in the top flight in quite some time, the London neighbors did meet under a year ago. Spurs fielded the first team in the League Cup semifinals and came through with a 2-0 win behind goals by Moussa Sissoko (?!) and Heung-Min Son.
- With Cristian Romero out, I postulated that Japhet Tanganga would take his place in the back three. Before the match was postponed last weekend, it was announced that Davinson Sanchez was actually given the nod, despite a poor performance against Mura. The Bees are not lethal in attack but are not toothless either, so Sanchez will need to clean up his game to keep Conte’s trust.
- Brentford are the second of the three promoted team Spurs will have seen this season. Norwich come to town this Sunday to round out the circuit, while Nuno Espirito Santo and company held onto a 1-0 win against Watford to make it three straight successes to open up the league campaign in August.