Moussa Sissoko has a key role to play as Tottenham Hotspur take on Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.
The France international has risen to prominence this season and his displays have made him one of the most indispensable players in Mauricio Pochettino’s squad.
On the chalkboard
Sissoko has gone from being something of a flop at Spurs to a key member of Pochettino’s starting line-up.
This season, the Frenchman has played 28 times in all competitions and, though he is yet to score, he has proved vital in terms of setting the tone of Spurs’ press and regularly galloping through midfield, striding past challenges at will.
His display against Leicester City at the weekend, in a 3-1 win, was evidence of this.
Per WhoScored, Sissoko completed four dribbles against the Foxes, more than any other player on the pitch, and also enjoyed a pass completion rate of 90%, completing 45 of 50 attempted passes.
His was a tireless display, as he also made two key passes, along with one tackle. In total, Sissoko touched the ball 70 times, the second-most of any Spurs player. Harry Winks led the way with 101 touches.
He is fast becoming one of the most trusted players in the Spurs XI, regularly given the ball when Spurs are in need of a quick transition.
Against Dortmund, then, he will be key.
Turning defence into attack
Spurs faced Dortmund last season, too, playing them twice in the group stages.
Pochettino’s men won both games, but were particularly impressive at Wembley, running out 3-1 winners in a game where they regularly ceded possession to Dortmund.
Per BBC, Spurs had just 32% possession in the game, opting to soak up pressure before bursting forward on the break. A Son Heung-Min strike plus a Harry Kane brace gave them victory.
A similar gameplan is likely to be employed on Wednesday, particularly with the likes of Dele Alli, Kane and Danny Rose ruled out of the game.
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If Pochettino opts to allow Dortmund to have the ball, Sissoko’s rangy runs will be vital in turning defence into attack and moving Spurs up the pitch.
Of course, Sissoko will also have to be precise in his distribution if Spurs are to capitalise on his forays forward but history suggests he will not find that a problem.
If he repeats his performance against Leicester, Dortmund will be running scared – and Tottenham’s hopes of progressing to the next round of the Champions League will receive a key boost.
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