Tottenham Hotspur

Last chance wasted: Ange must now bin 3/10 Spurs dud who was worse than Van de Ven –

This struggling midfielder has played all his cards and must be ditched for the end-of-season run-in.

Tottenham Hotspur suffered a chastening defeat on Tyneside as Newcastle United took full advantage of an outfit lacking direction, purpose and presence.

Ange Postecoglou deserves plaudits for his work in north London after being appointed as Antonio Conte’s successor last summer, arriving at a Spurs side that had lost its place in European competition and would imminently, and predictably, lose its talisman in Harry Kane.

And while, at the moment, Tottenham perch in fourth place, this was a stark illustration of the mountainous task still ahead for the craggy-faced Australian, who will next host neighbours Arsenal in the Premier League, the Gunners chasing titles in both the Premier League and Champions League.

Although Tottenham made a strong effort to move over their 3-0 defeat to Fulham and ensure that it wouldn’t happen again, it is worrying that Spurs have regressed on foreign ground once more. However, injury-ravaged Newcastle were unforgiving and hungry, and Tottenham were defeated.

After joining Tottenham from German Bundesliga team Wolfsburg in a £43 million deal last summer, Micky van de Ven has been an almost unstoppable defensive force, revitalizing a backline that had collapsed the previous campaign. However, he had a rough afternoon against Newcastle.

Micky van de Ven’s performance vs Newcastle

Tottenham’s 4-0 defeat at St. James’ Park had clear shades of last season’s woes when Eddie Howe’s side thrashed Spurs 6-1 as they edged closer to a stunning top-four finish.

Van de Ven was signed last summer to prevent such scenarios from recurring but he was right at the epicentre this weekend, culpable for both of Newcastle’s opening goals, left in a spin as Alexander Isak broke free to fire on goal before slipping again as Anthony Gordon capitalised on Pedro Porro’s skewed clearance, landing in his path.

Penning his post-match player ratings, reporter Alasdair Gold gave Van de Ven a 4/10 score and wrote: ‘Slipped over at crucial moments for both of Newcastle’s first half goals. Tried to get back for the third but couldn’t stop Isak. Made a couple of blocks but this was not a good day for the defence or the attack.’

It’s important to remember that the 22-year-old has simply been met with a tough test after such exemplary performances in his first year on English shores, even said to be “out of this world” by pundit Jamie Carragher earlier in the campaign.

There’s no denying that Van de Ven struggled against a slick and singular Newcastle side, but Postecoglou will not be alarmed given the centre-half’s usual constancy.

Micky van de Ven for Tottenham

The same cannot be said for Yves Bissouma, however, whose poor performances are now becoming something of an issue.

Yves Bissouma’s game in numbers

After joining Tottenham for a reported £35 million, Bissouma struggled the previous season, starting just eleven Premier League games. However, under Postecoglou, he has solidified a prominent place.

The Mali international has been inconsistent lately, despite his recent improvements at Tottenham this season. Aaron Stokes, a journalist, once called him a “monster” and stated he was destined for a “big six” club.

According to Sofascore, Bissouma was benched against Newcastle after just 57 minutes of play. Spurs labored, winning four of his seven contested duels, making three tackles, and completing 90% of Bissouma’s passes, but they were unable to establish control in the center midfield battle.

Yves Bissouma

While Van de Ven is the obvious scapegoat given his direct blunders for the Magpies’ first two goals, Bissouma indeed endured another torrid afternoon and was actually branded with a 3/10 match rating, worse off than his Dutch teammate.

Gold said: ‘Made an early important clearance near the Spurs goalline from a corner but he looked off the pace for long periods as well. Came off with Bentancur and Son.’

It’s patently clear that he’s not making the desired impact in Postecoglou’s system and, while it’s something of a bold move, he must now be axed.

Ange must now axe Yves Bissouma

Bissouma is unquestionably one of Tottenham’s most talented and technically proficient players but he is simply failing to make good use of his skill set and is actually hampering his team right now.

The 27-year-old ranks among the top 1% of midfielders across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for pass completion, the top 12% for progressive passes, the top 13% for successful take-ons, the top 5% for tackles and the top 7% for interceptions per 90, as per FBref.

However these metrics are misleading when observing Bissouma’s post-AFCON performances, and having once again been poor against Newcastle on Saturday Postecoglou must now unleash someone such as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg from the outset.

The thing is, Bissouma has started eight Premier League matches in succession, failing to make a positive impact in nearly every single affair. Hojbjerg was introduced after the break during Tottenham’s 3-1 victory over Nottingham Forest one week ago and excelled in instilling control and composure in the centre of the park.

Yves Bissouma: Recent PL Match Ratings
Fixture Score Match Rating
Newcastle United (A) 4-0 loss 3/10
Nottingham Forest (H) 3-1 win 6/10
West Ham United (A) 1-1 draw 7/10
Luton Town (H) 2-1 win 5/10
Fulham (A) 3-0 loss 3/10
Sourced via

Gold’s recent match ratings above depict the full picture: Bissouma is languishing well below expectations and with so much at stake in the Premier League, he must now be ditched.

Aston Villa face Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday evening, and while they have a tough task in stifling the free-flowing Gunners, Spurs have squandered a fine opportunity to create some space in the race for Champions League qualification.

Bissouma cannot be allowed to mar a promising campaign any longer; he’s wasted his last chance in the starting lineup.

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