Four of said fixtures resulted in defeat for Ange Postecoglou‘s side, despite taking the lead every time, with the brilliant start to the campaign ravaged by a spate of injuries and suspensions.
But Spurs have remained sanguine throughout, with the knowledge that their Australian manager holds the tools to craft a successful new era.
Now it’s about unearthing a vein of consistency. Nottingham Forest welcome the Lilywhites to the City Ground on Friday evening, with both clubs ravenous for three points…
Tottenham team news vs Forest
Giovani Lo Celso has been ruled out of Friday night’s trip to Nottingham, compounding Postecoglou’s concerns as he contends with a fragile crop of players.
Key members James Maddison, Micky van de Ven and Rodrigo Bentancur all remain out and are not expected back unit after the new year, while sidelined Ivan Perisic, Manor Solomon, Eric Dier and Ryan Sessegnon deepen the quandary.
Postecoglou and the Spurs support will be happy that, if anything else, captain Heung-min Son remains fit and firing, having flourished in his various forward roles this season.
Heung-min Son’s season in numbers
Son started in his usual left-wing position across the opening three games of the Premier League campaign and blanked, but Harry Kane‘s summer sale prompted his manager to shift him into a centre-forward position, where he plundered nine goals and two assists from 12 matches.
Described as “world-class” by Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp, the Spurs talisman returned to his natural role last time out to facilitate Richarlison‘s return as the focal frontman, and it paid off handsomely as the hosts ran riot against the Magpies.
In one of his most destructive displays of the term, the South Korean scored and made two assists, provided four key passes, won seven duels and completed two tackles and interceptions apiece, as per Sofascore.
With Richarlison returning to goalscoring form with a well-taken brace – which was dubbed “perfect” by The Athletic’s Charlie Eccleshare – surely Postecoglou wouldn’t consider rotating the stars’ respective roles? Well, with the towering Tricky Trees awaiting, perhaps it might be apt.
Where Richarlison should play vs Forest
But having recently returned from groin surgery that he claimed inflicted such pain that he stopped shooting, his strikes on either side of half-time last weekend suggest that he might now be ready to return to prominence.
But it may not be so wise to provide him with a striking role tonight, instead deploying him back on the left would be a good use of his creative skills, having assisted twice down the left channel this season.
Nottingham Forest’s 214 headed clearances this term underscores the aerial dominance from which the sticks are protected; no Premier League side has made more in 2023/24.
There is a case that the £90k-per-weekRicharlison might be a good option through the middle, ranking among the top 4% of attacking midfielders and wingers across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year, as per FBref, but Steve Cooper’s struggling players are among the finest in the skies and will possibly negate his aerial threat.
Moreover, Richarlison has yet to score against Nottingham Forest but has supplied two assists from three outings, so maybe his creativity could be channelled toward the prolific Son in the centre.