Adrian Clarke looks at key tactical points and players who can be decisive in Matchweek 17.
Tottenham Hotspur’s push for a top-four finish resumes at Brentford on Boxing Day, and they will hope Kulusevski picks up where he left off before the FIFA World Cup 2022 break.
The Swede provided assists in each of his last three Premier League appearances and is Spurs’ leader in that department, creating five goals in total so far.
Considering Kulusevski has made just seven starts in an injury-disrupted campaign, that is a terrific return.
Averaging an assist every 122.8 minutes, the 22-year-old is supplying goals at the fastest rate in the league.
|Kevin De Bruyne||126.1|
*minimum three assists
Kulusevski has developed a tremendous rapport with Harry Kane. Whenever Kane drifts inside from the right with the ball on his left foot, he comes alive in search of a goal.
The Swede has already provided three assists for Kane, two from well-weighted passes and the other from a superb far-post cross at a short corner.
Spurs will be eager for Kulusevski and Kane’s reunion to bring about an instant impact as they look to improve on their 0-0 draw on their last visit to Brentford.
Eight of the 17 chances Kulusevski has made this season have been for Kane.
|Hojbjerg, Richarlison, Bentancur, Sessegnon||1|
Within Antonio Conte’s structured 3-4-3 system of play, it is important for Kulusevski to offer up moments of individual spontaneity.
He is a player who likes to carry the ball, attempting 4.98 dribbles per 90 minutes.
Last time out, a thrilling 4-3 win against Leeds United, Kulusevski set up the winning goal for Rodrigo Bentancur by beating his man brilliantly before cutting the ball back from the byline.
This footage... 🔥 pic.twitter.com/c6rbIiLCPi— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) November 12, 2022
He consistently took on his markers, making 11 dribbles during the course of that match.
If he does not get tight enough to stop Kulusevski running with the ball, Brentford left-back Rico Henry will need to ready himself for a stern examination on Boxing Day.
It will have been a source of frustration for Conte that Kulusevski has missed six matches through injury. Minutes-wise he has featured for only 45.5 per cent of the campaign until this point.
*min 300 minutes
Statistically Kulusevski has been Spurs' most creative player in open play, producing 2.35 chances per 90 minutes.
It is crucial he stays fit in the coming weeks and months.
In the absence of Richarlison and Bentancur, who are both injured, Conte needs Kulusevski to hit the ground running.
Part 2: Gibbs-White can make the difference against Man Utd
Part 3: Revitalised Salah offers Liverpool a dual threat
Part 4: Rodri can bring calm to chaos at Leeds