The Ange Postecoglou revolution continues at Tottenham Hotspur, with the 58-year-old having overseen a fourth successive Premier League victory to keep his side within touching distance of leaders Manchester City.
Faced with a struggling Sheffield United side who had picked up just a point heading into Saturday’s encounter, it looked like it could be another routine victory for the Lilywhites, having hit fellow newly-promoted side Burnley for five prior to the international break.
It would, however, prove to be a far tougher test as it was the visitors who eventually broke the deadlock with less than 20 minutes left to play, with summer signing Gustavo Hamer powering his side into a shock lead in north London.
To their credit, the in-form hosts responded spectacularly with two goals at the death to clinch all three points, with Dejan Kulusveski completing the comeback in the last knockings of added time to spark bedlam inside the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
The Swede’s rifled, right-footed effort had been teed up by substitute sensation, Richarlison, with the Brazilian enigma having been the man to drag his side level just minutes earlier with a thumping, front-post header.
For all the talk of the 26-year-old’s lack of impact in a Tottenham shirt to date – with that having been just his second league goal across the last 12 months – that late cameo illustrated the role that the former Everton man can play in Postecoglou’s attacking ranks.
It also looks as if there remains a need to keep Ivan Persic involved in proceedings despite the Croatian’s advancing years, with the 34-year-old having also played a “key role” off the bench – as per football.london’s Alasdair Gold.
How did Ivan Perisic perform against Sheffield United?
It is fair to say that the former Inter Milan man didn’t exactly set the world alight last season under Antonio Conte, with The Athletic’s James Maw even going as far as to suggest that the wing-back will be “remembered as a massive waste of money“, despite signing on a free transfer.
Even amid those woes, the former World Cup finalist did still showcase his attacking quality after registering a squad-high tally of eight assists in the top-flight last term, while also creating 11 ‘big chances’ from his 34 outings.
Now primarily deployed in a more advanced berth on the flanks, the experienced asset has shown that he can continue to make an impact in moments in the current campaign, as was evident in his role as a late substitute today.
Despite only making 17 touches – and squandering possession on seven occasions – the £180k-per-week veteran did provide the assist for Richarlison’s equaliser with a delightful whipped corner, before again finding the Brazilian in the build-up to Kulusevski’s last-gasp strike with a clever flick round the corner.
Not only a real weapon from the flanks – as he attempted six crosses in total in that brief display – Perisic was also able to contribute defensively after winning all three of his total duels, as Spurs went in pursuit of victory.
While it is unlikely that the wideman will be featuring too regularly from the start this season with the likes of Heung-min Son, Manor Solomon and Brennan Johnson all in the picture, such a game-changing performance has shown that Postecoglou can turn to him when needed to impact matches off the bench.
As for the north Londoners as a collective, such a thrilling finale has ensured that the positive momentum continues at N17, ahead of next week’s north London derby.