Dele Alli is Tottenham’s main goal threat with Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min injured but his form has dipped and he’s in hot water with the FA… ahead of a season-defining run of fixtures, Jose Mourinho needs him back firing
- With Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min injured, Dele Alli is as important as ever
- Alli is Spurs’ third top scorer and statistically their biggest goal threat right now
- Jose Mourinho has not handled Alli well amid a poor run of performances
- But he will know how crucial it is that Alli’s rediscovers his best form again
- Spurs face season-defining run of games and play top-four hopefuls Wolves next
Harry Kane has scored 25 per cent of all of Tottenham’s goals this season. Son Heung-Min 23 per cent.
Next highest on that list is Dele Alli. Out of those three, Alli is the only player currently fit and expected to be available for the next month.
Even those who seem to suffer with sudden empathy deficit disorder when it comes to Jose Mourinho will recognise that he is in an unenviable position.
Jose Mourinho needs to get Dele Alli back firing ahead of an important run of fixtures
Alli has scored 12 per cent of all of Tottenham’s goals this season and is third highest scorer
Throw Christian Eriksen into the mix, who has scored four percent of all of Tottenham’s goals this season – despite joining Inter Milan last month – and Mourinho is without the lion’s share of his attack.
Essentially, Tottenham can only bring swords to a gunfight at this moment in time. Pardon the line straight from the Michael Owen book of commentary, but winning games is tough when you haven’t got goalscorers.
They have however got one marksman in Alli. He’s not an out-and-out goal-getter like Kane, obviously, and he doesn’t score as regularly as Son, who plays further forward. But statistically, he is Tottenham’s next biggest goal threat and so their main one right now.
And yet, last weekend when Tottenham travelled to Chelsea in a Champions League six-pointer, Mourinho started him on the bench.
Son Heung-min is expected to be out for most of remainder of the season with an arm injury
Tottenham’s top scorer Harry Kane will also be on the sidelines for at least the next month
Tottenham were beaten 2-1 and subsequently lost ground in the race for a top-four spot. There was no method to the madness on this occasion.
Those suggesting it was Alli’s time out for throwing his toys out of the pram like a petulant child after being substituted against RB Leipzig would be guilty of discounting what Mourinho actually said when asked about the incident.
‘I think he was angry with his own performance, not with me,’ Mourinho said. And since when has it been a crime to rage at oneself?
Mourinho publicly flanelling Alli before Tottenham’s crucial game with rivals Chelsea didn’t appear to be a well-measured move either.
Trying to understand how the mind of Mourinho works can be like attempting to solve a crossword blindfolded, but you’d assume given Tottenham’s situation, he’d be leaning on Alli right now and not pushing him away.
Alli has gone off the boil recently and was furious with his own performance against RB Leipzig
Alli also brings assists to Tottenham’s team with five for the season – their third highest
The 23-year-old doesn’t just bring goals, but creativity and intensity as well – he has the third most assists for Tottenham this season (5).
Mourinho doesn’t need telling about the influence Alli can have on this side. After all, it was the England midfielder who he singled out as one of his most important projects during his first press conference as Tottenham boss.
And since his arrival, Alli’s output has risen sharply, although it’s taken a bit of a dip in recent weeks with just one goal in his last 13 games.
Mourinho still knows exactly how crucial Alli’s form could be their top-four chances and is expected to restore him to the side for Sunday’s game with Wolves.
This is a significant period of the campaign and Tottenham are at the beginning of a season-defining run of fixtures.
They’ve already stumbled out the gates after last weekend’s loss and if they fail to beat fellow top-four hopefuls Wolves then Tottenham will really be teetering.
Alli is probably Tottenham’s most important player that is fit and needs to step up to the plate
His insensitive coronavirus video hardly screamed someone ready for more responsibility
If there was ever a time for their key players to step up, now would be it.
Looking at who Tottenham have their disposal, it’s hard to argue that anyone other than Alli can provide the attacking spark for this team bar maybe Giovani Lo Celso, who has come on leaps and bounds since the turn of the year.
But Alli’s recent thoughtless coronavirus joke – which landed him in hot water with the FA – hardly screams the actions of a man ready to take on greater responsibility.
Alli turns 24 in April and should theoretically be entering his peak years. Instead, he is grappling to sustain the astronomic promise of his early career and facing uncertainty over his role in the England team.
Gareth Southgate has overlooked Alli in recent squads but the 23-year-old has dragged himself back into contention after a slow start to the season.
The Tottenham man actually has more goal involvements than Mason Mount, James Maddison, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Ross Barkley this season with 10 in total.
The stats show that after Kane and Son, Alli is Tottenham’s next best attacking player
Alli will take some extra inventive to rediscover his form from the upcoming England games
His stats show he is performing on a similar level to other midfielders in the England frame
Jack Grealish is the only other player in Alli’s position with more (13) in the picture for an England call-up.
But his passing and creativity statistics are lower than his counterparts while his overall performances have noticeably been below-par in recent weeks.
Alli would admit he hasn’t been his best and Mourinho knows he has so much more to offer.
Tottenham are currently just four points off the top four and can take the ascendancy in the race with positive results over the next month or so. For that, Spurs need Alli firing again.
The incentive is there and with England internationals coming up in March, there is even more reason for Alli to rediscover his best form.
How timely that would be for Tottenham and Mourinho.
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