A pundit thinks Antonio Conte will have found out a lot about two Tottenham players after they were run ragged by a Newcastle opponent on Sunday.
Newcastle beat Tottenham 2-1 in north London thanks to goals from Callum Wilson and Miguel Almiron. Wilson capitalised on a Hugo Lloris effort before finishing into an open net from 30 yards out.
Almiron joined him on the scoresheet in the first half as the winger skipped away from Ryan Sessegnon and Clement Lenglet before finishing on his left foot.
Tottenham did score in the second half when Harry Kane got the better of Kieran Trippier from a corner and headed in at the far post.
However, it wasn’t enough and Spurs were handed their third league defeat of the season. They remain in third place, though Newcastle are gaining ground and occupy forth, just two points behind Conte’s men.
Newcastle’s win came as a result of several top performances. Sven Botman was solid at the back, Bruno Guimaraes was great in midfield and Almiron and Wilson caused Spurs problems in the final third.
Pundit Noel Whelan thinks Conte will be angry with the way Guimaraes controlled the likes of Yves Bissouma and Oliver Skipp in midfield.
The Spurs duo simply could not handle their Newcastle counterpart. That is despite him barely sleeping in the days leading up to the game due to the birth of his son.
Antonio Conte left frustrated by pair
“Conte will have found a lot out about Skipp and Bissouma,” Whelan said in an interview with Football Insider.
“We knew Bruno Guimaraes is a fantastic player, but he completely bossed the midfield against Spurs. He’s got that desire, that tenacity.
“Skipp, Bissouma, and the midfield as a whole just couldn’t compete with him. And that will really disappoint Conte.
“Bissouma is one of the best defensive midfielders in the Premier League on his day, and Skipp got his opportunity. But I don’t think he really took it.
“It’s an area which is so important to winning games over a whole season. Conte needs players who can command and boss that area.
“Yesterday, they just weren’t at the races. Guimaraes, however, was brilliant. He just gets better and better.”
Spurs were without usual central midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg due to him suffering a thigh problem.
Hojbjerg has been one of Spurs’ best players this season. But even he might have struggled to deal with Guimaraes given how influential the Brazilian is for Newcastle.
As Whelan mentions, the Newcastle clash was a good opportunity for Skipp to impress in Hojbjerg’s absence. However, the 22-year-old couldn’t keep up with Guimaraes and won’t have done his selection chances any favours.
Conte admits Hojbjerg is ‘really tired’ and that he doesn’t know whether the midfield enforcer will be fit for Spurs’ next game. They face Sporting Lisbon in the Champions League on Wednesday night.
If he remains unfit, then Conte will probably have to go with Skipp and Bissouma in midfield alongside Rodrigo Bentancur again.
Newcastle, meanwhile, face Aston Villa in their next match. That will take place on Saturday afternoon.