In their final pre-season friendly in front of an impressive crowd at Spurs’ new stadium, Mauricio Pochettino’s side were beaten by Inter on penalties after a 1-1 draw during the initial 90 minutes.
Lucas Moura opened the scoring with a fine finish inside five minutes before a beautifully worked goal from Inter new boy Stefano Sensi levelled things up before half-time.
Heung-Min Son came close after the interval but neither team really threatened in the second 45 minutes, and it took two saves from Samir Handanovic in the shoot-out from Christian Eriksen and Oliver Skipp to separate the sides.
In a game which lacked intensity and quality for long periods, we take a look at the winners and losers of Spurs’ final game before their opening Premier League game against Aston Villa next weekend.
Winner: Lucas Moura
Despite this defeat, several Spurs players have impressed in pre-season and none more so than Moura.
The Brazilian’s career at Spurs started slowly, but after ‘that’ hat-trick away at Ajax it appears he believes he is capable of anything. He took his goal extremely well after a strong surge by Erik Lamela (who has also impressed in pre-season) and was constantly a threat throughout his time on the pitch.
One thing that Spurs have often been accused of is a lack of pace and dynamism going forward, particularly on the flanks. Moura has shown this summer that he is ready to offer exactly that to Pochettino’s men. If he is able to replicate his pre-season form over the next year, Tottenham could be in for an exciting season.
Loser: Kyle Walker-Peters
Following the departure of Kieran Trippier to Atletico Madrid and injuries to Serge Aurier and Juan Foyth, this was the perfect opportunity for Kyle Walker-Peters to impress in front of his home crowd. He failed to take this chance.
Despite undoubted ability on the ball, the youngster lacks defensive awareness. He was at fault for Inter’s (albeit well worked) equaliser and the Italian side seemed to get the majority of their joy down his flank. The Spurs back four was not threatened too often, but they looked far from comfortable when they were.
The young full-back also allowed Marcelo Brozovic to cut in on his right and nearly score a screamer past Hugo Lloris, only to be denied by the woodwork. There was some hope that Walker-Peters may be able to step up and fill the void left by Trippier (who Spurs fans believe is far from irreplaceable). Unfortunately, today would suggest he is not ready just yet.
Winner: Sebastiano Esposito
In an Inter side that looked void of quality at times, it was Sebastiano Esposito’s delightful skill which opened up Spurs’ defence for their equaliser.
It was a deft touch around the corner which totally caught Walker-Peters and Davinson Sanchez by surprise and the finish from Sensi was equally impressive.
Esposito is just 17 years of age but has not looked out of his depth at all in pre-season so far. He impressed against PSG and was equally impressive today, constantly buzzing around and making his presence known to the defenders Spurs used.
With Mauro Icardi’s Inter career seemingly over, someone must step up and take his place in the side. With the transfer of Romelu Lukaku now looking unlikely, could we see Esposito take on the responsibility? If he continues at this rate, Conte surely can’t ignore him for long.
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Loser: Davinson Sanchez
Another uncertain future, another young defender, another disappointing performance.
Davinson Sanchez finds himself in a near-identical situation to Walker-Peters. Toby Alderweireld may not be at the club much longer and, at just 23 years of age, Pochettino will surely have had Sanchez in mind as the potential replacement for the Belgian.
However, like his defensive partner, Sanchez struggled. He was equally to blame for Inter’s equaliser and the normally imposing Colombian looked timid at times: Ivan Perisic comfortably outmuscled him in a duel which you would expect Sanchez to dominate.
He was in and out of the team last year and today showed why. He is still young and has some learning to do, but time may be running out for him to prove that should be in Spurs’ long-term plans. This season will be huge for Sanchez.
Winner: Antonio Conte
Antonio Conte was very sought after in Italy and Inter will be delighted that they got their man.
Make no mistake, this side is in transition and their performance was far from vintage, but Conte will have been delighted that his side were able to get a result against a very strong Spurs side.
One of the criticisms of Conte at Chelsea was his ‘boring’ style, as the Blues often ground out results with their famous three-man defensive system. Employing a similar tactic today, Inter frustrated Spurs and were well worth their eventual victory on penalties.
It’s early doors, but Conte will have taken a lot of promise from their pre-season campaign. They were able to hold Juventus, PSG and Spurs all by the same scoreline without their top scorer and without Diego Godin today, who is carrying an injury.
If they can sign a couple of attacking reinforcements before the window shuts, keep an eye on them in the Serie A title race next season.
Loser: Ivan Perisic
Last summer, it seemed that Ivan Perisic had the world at his feet. Fresh from scoring in the World Cup final and impressing on the world stage, the Croatian decided to continue plying his trade in Italy despite immense interest from Europe’s elite.
Last season saw him produce a decent return of eight goals and four assists in the league, but the forward has struggled to replicate the form which saw him become so influential in Russia.
Again, today, he struggled. For such a star player in his team, it seems that Perisic often doesn’t do enough to justify the responsibility he is clearly given. He often went missing in London and one would be forgiven for thinking it was Sensi or Esposito who had the world at their feet last summer, not Perisic.
Capable with both feet, tall, quick and versatile, one would think Perisic could and should be spoken about with the likes of Paulo Dybala and Dries Mertens in Italy.
But today showed his main issue: consistency. It’s only pre-season and Conte will surely stick with him, but Perisic needs to improve if he wants to build on his previously glowing reputation.