On Sunday night, when Tottenham plays Liverpool in the Premier League, Antonio Conte will have a limited selection of offensive alternatives to choose from.
With Son Heung-min requiring surgery, Antonio Conte’s attacking options are severely constrained. After taking a knock to the face during the first half of Tuesday’s Champions League triumph over Marseille, the South Korean international was confirmed to need surgery to stabilise a fracture around his left eye 24 hours later by Tottenham.
The loss of Son for Sunday’s Premier League match against Liverpool forces Spurs’ head coach to make a tough choice on how to best use his attacking options. Due to the absence of Dejan Kulusevski (hamstring injury) and Richarlison (calf injury), Conte and his coaching staff will need to come up with a strategy for when the Reds visit N17.
Who, therefore, might possibly start for Tottenham this weekend in lieu of Son? In this article, football.london explores three alternatives.
Putting Lucas Moura in the attack
After Son was substituted off against Marseille on Tuesday, Yves Bissouma was brought into the starting lineup to give the Lilywhites a midfield three. With little offensive options, Conte may elect to stick with the formation against Liverpool.
That would put Lucas Moura in a position to work alongside Harry Kane in the attack. Despite the Brazilian’s extensive right wing expertise, he has been forced to play in the middle for Spurs in Kane’s absence on many occasions.
However, Liverpool’s defence has been suspect this year, so Lucas’s speed might be decisive if given an opportunity to get through and score. He played well in his 45 minutes against Bournemouth on Saturday and would be eager to continue that success if given the opportunity.
An Elevated Position for Perisic
Since Conte’s debut at Tottenham a year ago, the team has mostly played in a 3-4-3 configuration, with occasional 3-5-2. Due to offensive injuries, the latter formation may be used this weekend against Liverpool.
If the manager insists on playing a 3-4-3 formation despite having no other options, he may switch Ivan Perisic from left wing-back to the attack. The Croat has experience playing there, and adding him to Tottenham’s roster would improve their quality and experience in the final third.
Perisic may be Conte’s sole choice in a front three if he decides to go that route, since Bryan Gil is not yet ready for a Premier League start in Conte’s views despite seeing increasing minutes off the bench recently. If his teammate is played higher up the field, left wing-back Ryan Sessegnon would get the nod and start.
Play his tottenham wildcard
After a week of great cameo performances, Tottenham supporters can’t wait to see more of Bryan. On Sunday, he could get more playing time against Liverpool, but it’s probable he’ll have to settle for a bench role again.
Unless, of course, Conte uses his Spurs wild card and starts the Spaniard from the get-go. Ahead of the Bournemouth game, he said that Bryan is a “very nice potential but physically is not that powerful,” therefore it’s unlikely that he’ll start him.
There is a clear reluctance to throw Bryan into the fire in the Premier League at the moment, especially against weaker opponents, but starting him against one of the league’s best teams, Liverpool, would be a huge vote of confidence in the kid. For the 21-year-old to prove his worth to his boss, all he needs is playing time right now.
Bryan may yet receive some valuable playing time if the home team needs additional offensive firepower due to the absence of many key attackers.
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