We tell you it’s been good for months now, right?
But no. If there are no goals or help to see, or the xG is down, a footballer cannot be good.
You all laughed at us. Well, are you convinced now? Are you not having fun?
Yes, maybe a game against the worst team in the Premier League is not a chance for a player to convince the masses of their true pedigree. But Tanguy Ndombele is truly a successful footballer – anything he does turns Tottenham fans on, whether it’s his dribbling ability, passing range or odd goal.
He’s capable of the spectacular, which was most evident in Tottenham’s 3-1 win at Sheffield United on Sunday.
Spurs had just seen their lead halved by David McGoldrick after Serge Aurier and Harry Kane scored them two goals. What was supposed to be a simple victory has started to look nightmarishly like the results that have affected their season so far.
Fortunately, they went straight back into the Bramall Lane half by United with an attacking goal. Steven Bergwijn appeared in the center and moved on to Ndombele. The Frenchman sent the ball back to Dutch winger, Blades defender Chris Basham horribly out of position after charging forward to reduce danger.
Ndombele drifted into the vacant space and was chosen by Bergwijn’s lob, although really, while the ball was cute, there didn’t seem to be too much going on. The best result would be for Ndombele to bring the ball back to a center position to pick one of the runners in the middle. There wouldn’t be much reason to try a starter lob outside because you might try it 100 times in practice and fail once.
But Ndombele is the Mr of Tottenham in the whole world; much of the team is designed to produce a result that is greater than the sum of its parts, but Ndombele is one of the exceptions. It manages to bring some aesthetic appeal to a style of play that can be hard on the eyes nine times out of ten.
Bergwijn’s chipped pass bounces once on Ndombele’s left. Running out of space in the 18-yard penalty area, the former Lyon star threw the ball with the outside of his right boot towards goal.
The margin of error was extremely small. The lob execution had to be perfect to beat Aaron Ramsdale. If the trajectory had been shifted a bit in either direction, the score would have remained 2-1, with plenty of time left for an implosion.
But no. The ball fell delightfully into the far corner for Ndombele’s third league goal of the season, securing a victory for Jose Mourinho’s side before a series of difficult matches.
League games against Liverpool, Brighton and Chelsea are on the horizon and with their average form in recent weeks, Spurs must produce additional performances reminiscent of their victories over Manchester City and Arsenal earlier in the campaign.
But if Ndombele can maintain that level of form that has seen him become one of the Premier League’s best midfielders, Tottenham can be sure of his chances. As long as they take a two-goal lead, that is.
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