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Can This Tottenham’s Bulldozer Keep Up The Good Work In The Second Half Of The Season?

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Moussa Sissoko

Can Moussa Sissoko turn it around in the second half of the season?

Tottenham made few additions to their squad during the summer transfer window, with Pochettino keen on mounting a stronger title challenge this term after watching his side falter at the very end of last season’s campaign despite a being impressive for much of the campaign.

Part of the recruitments the north London club secured to achieve their aim was former Newcastle skipper Moussa Sissoko. The 27-year-old arrived on summer transfer deadline day for £30million, but despite his record fees, he hasn’t been able to live up to expectations, once publicly drawing the ire of the club’s manager as a result.

However, his most recent performances have looked encouraging and Sissoko’s name could start appearing on Tottenham’s starting lineup sheet consistently from now if he continues making impacts off the bench.

At the moment, no other substitute has provided more assists (2) in the Premier League than the France international this season, with the latest coming on Sunday after he helped create the chance that allowed Rose secure the winner for Tottenham’s win against Burnley.

While his involvement in Tottenham’s campaign for the first half of the season hasn’t been the most worthwhile, considering he has only contributed 2 assists in 5 league starts and 5 appearances as a substitute, what many will be eager to know is if Sissoko can take his new-found form to the next level as the second phase kicks in.

Since arriving from the Saint James’ Park, Sissoko has created 12 other goalscoring chances apart from the 2 assists he has registered in the league. He has also been able to complete 84% of his total attempted passes, completed 17 of his 26 attempted take-ons and averaged 1 defensive action per 90 minutes.

His defensive contributions however have been nothing to write home about, as he has only been able to win 2 tackles of an attempted 13 and win only 4 of 14 headed duels. Pochettino added Sissoko to his squad in order to see more energy in the final third, but that hasn’t been the case.

Though it can be argued that Sissoko’s evident initial struggles are partly down to a change of environment and having to adapt to a different playing style, but even while at Newcastle last season, his performances were marred with inconsistencies.

In 37 Premier League appearances for the Magpies in 2015-16, Sissoko created 56 chances, scored a goal and averaged 2 defensive actions per game. He won 51% of his tackles, 48% of his headed duels, while he completed 47% of his take-ons.

Despite a commendable personal campaign, Newcastle couldn’t survive their relegation battle. However, it was an inspired Euros 2016 performance that served as an audition for prospective suitors that made him land the Tottenham deal.

In his 6 games for France, Tottenham’s bulldozer created 5 chances, registered 3 shots from 6 attempts on target, completed 90% of his passes and averaged 1 defensive action per game as the hosts reached the final.

His stand-out and consistent top-notch performances at the European Championships were 5-star and eye-catching enough, but he is yet to produce anything close to those in the Tottenham colours.

If he does, you can expect Spurs to benefit immensely from this powerhouse of a midfielder. So, the question shouldn’t be if he can produce spectacular displays for the club in the second half of the season and finally live up to the hype, as the quality is there. Being able to do so on a consistent basis should be the mission Sissoko should aim for.