BBC pundit stunned by Conte decision on Ryan Sessegnon in Spurs loss
Garth Crooks has told BBC Sport that he cannot believe Antonio Conte left Ryan Sessegnon on the pitch for as long as he did in the North London derby with the Tottenham Hotspur defender failing to deal with Bukayo Saka.
It proved to be a nightmare occasion for Spurs. They conceded twice during the first-half and were unable to really start fighting back after the break.
Both of the Arsenal goals saw Saka heavily involved. He forced Hugo Lloris into the own goal for the opener. And it was his pass which found Martin Odegaard for the visitors’ second.
Crooks baffled Conte didn’t replace Sessegnon sooner
Sessegnon got a deflection on his cross for the first. And he and Clement Lenglet left the Gunners star in acres of space in the build-up to the second goal of the game.
Ultimately, Sessegnon came off with just under 15 minutes remaining after a really tough evening. But as Crooks lauded Saka’s performance, he suggested that it was baffling from Conte to not make a change a lot sooner.
“Talk about men versus boys,” he told BBC Sport. “Arsenal absolutely destroyed Spurs in the first half. At one stage Bukayo Saka looked like he was capable of taking on the entire Tottenham team.
“The Arsenal winger gave Ryan Sessegnon such a torrid time I couldn’t believe Antonio Conte left the defender on the pitch to receive further punishment.”
Sessegnon looked brighter going forward. He created a brilliant chance for Heung-min Son during the first-half. And he got into a couple of dangerous positions.
However, a couple of his crosses were extremely poor. And there was one moment in the second-half which simply summed up his evening as the ball went under his foot after a simple pass and out for a throw-in. He looked almost beaten in that moment.
Perisic has played a lot of football in recent months. And Saka’s pace may have perhaps tempted Conte to pick Sessegnon ahead of him. But that did seemingly prove to be an error.
The 22-year-old – who cost £25 million – was not able to contain Saka. And by the time Perisic came on, you got the feeling Spurs were leaving it too late to fight back.