Conte must find the right balance in the midfield
WATFORD, ENGLAND - JANUARY 01: Harry Winks of Tottenham Hotspur comes on to replace teammate Oliver Skipp during the Premier League match between Watford and Tottenham Hotspur at Vicarage Road on January 01, 2022 in Watford, England. (Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur under Antonio Conte have been some what of a mixed bag so far.

Inconsistent performances have gripped the team, partially down to the situation in the middle of the park.

Even in last nights defeat to SouthamptonSpurs struggled to control the midfield area.

The Saints had 23 shots last night, with an expected goals of 2.26.

Every time the back three cleared the ball, it was up to Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Harry Winks to keep it under control, but they continually failed.

With Conte and his staff vying for a top 4 finish, the Italian must find the best solution to beat their rivals.

Under Nuno Espirito Santo and now the Italian, Oliver Skipp has been a vital part to the North London midfield.

Despite this being his first full season as a key Spurs player, he has been a shining light within a struggling side.

Whenever he plays, he offers dynamic skills to make the team flow. He has the highest pass percentage amongst the Spurs squad, with his figure standing at 90.1%. 

However, Skipp has sometimes struggled to be a consistent feature under the former Chelsea manager. His inexperience has led to him being rotated for the likes of Hojbjerg and Winks in recent months.

At the moment, the Englishmen is currently injured with a groin injury, however, before the game against Southampton, Conte said:

"I hope to have him back very soon. The medical department told me two weeks but I hope to have him available in a week or 10 days maximum because we're talking about an important player for Tottenham Hotspur."

This news will come as a blessing of disguise for Spurs fans with many classing him as the club's most important midfielder.

  • In with the new, out with the old

On deadline day, Rodrigo Bentancur became Fabio Paratici's first January signing for an initial €19m. Since then, he has featured twice for the Lilywhites, including last nights shock defeat against Ralph Hasenhüttl's men. 

However, the Uruguayan's Premier League debut was relatively strong.

With his first two touches, he flicked it back behind the defender before playing the pass. He then played a stunning to Lucas Moura which the Brazilian failed to capitalize from. 

The former Juventus midfielder gave the Spurs side a new form of creativity in the middle of park. The 24 year-old made the right decisions at the right time.

Both Hojbjerg and his counterpart Winks, gave the ball away on countless occasions, whilst Bentancur was calm and comfortable in most situations.

He seems to be an upgrade on his fellow rivals, making the possibility of a start against Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday more likely.

  • The way forward for Conte

It is unclear how Spurs' midfield will change for the remainder of the season.

The situation may change depending on the formation, with the Italian consistently changing from a 5-2-3 to be 5-3-2.

However, when  Skipp returns from injury and Bentancur becomes more settled within the squad, Spurs fans will expect the duo to feature regularly. 

Either way, whoever plays in the middle of the park for Tottenham will know they can be easily dropped with four first team midfielders vying for a starting spot.

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