S Mura was founded the day after Sergio Aguero’s title-winning goal for Manchester City in 2012, but even Tottenham’s easiest Europa League opponents on paper will pose tough questions to Nuno Espirito Santo under pressure.
The main one is who will play up front against the Slovenian minnows tonight. Harry Kane is Nuno’s only senior striker but has started the last five games and if he needs to rest, surely now is the time.
Kane, however, continues to strive for peak fitness and form, with his only goals this season in the Conference League and League Cup play-offs, so Nuno may deem tonight as the perfect opportunity for the England captain to take his flight. .
But the risks of playing Kane in every game are well established, so something has to give – before his ankles do.
The only other recognized center-forward in Nuno’s squad is 17-year-old Dane Scarlett, a bright prospect but still inexperienced at this level.
Scarlett barely touched as Spurs lost 1-0 in the play-off first leg against Portuguese club Pacos de Ferreira and another tricky question for Nuno is whether the teenager starts in a changed squad at this point. stage of its development. could do more harm than good.
Lucas Moura and Heung-min Son can substitute up front, but it’s truly extraordinary that Spurs haven’t put more effort into signing a replacement for Kane, a recurring theme in the 28-year-old’s time at the club. .
This is the third season since Kane’s breakthrough in 2014-15 that he’s the only center-forward recognized in Spurs’ books and, despite all of his relentless desire to play every minute, you have to wonder about the impact. on Kane’s body and whether the club has to some extent failed him by not providing more consistent support or competition.
Despite all of his limitations, lender Carlos Vinicius was more than capable of delivering in the Europa League last season, directly contributing to nine goals, including three assists, in as many appearances in the competition. Spurs could have done it with a like-minded assistant this season.
Whether tonight or in Sunday’s must-see home game against Aston Villa, Kane’s chances of kicking off his season can be improved by playing alongside Bryan Gil, who has been one of the few bright spots in the sad defeat at Arsenal last weekend.
The Spain winger, 20, also impressed in the EFL Cup victory over Wolves and will be increasingly hard to ignore in the top flight if he puts in another solid performance tonight.
A close to the sideline who likes to get noticed, Gil has been described as a throwback, not least because of his Beatles-style haircut and mustache.
“I think [that description] has a grain of truth, ”he said ahead of the game.
“I like to play one-on-one, I like to keep the space in the center and I think that describes football ‘old-fashioned’ but I think I have also adapted and I like to play inside.
“[The coaching staff] asked me to work hard and put in a lot of effort.
“I’ve been asked to gain weight, improve my fitness and learn English. I’m focusing on that and adjusting.”
Nuno, who is under pressure to improve both his style and his results after three straight losses in the League derby, will again be without Steven Bergwijn and Ryan Sessegnon tonight.