Tottenham failed to win for the second successive Premier League match at Wembley and there were a few positives to take from the game. However, Dele Alli managed to get on the score-sheet and he continues to show impressive attacking ability in a stuttering Spurs’ team. That can only be seen as a positive. The midfielder is crucial to the team and it is good to see he remains his ever-consistent best in the final third.
His goal was instinctive and showed why he scores as often as he does. It was good positioning to get into the position where the ball would drop and impressive reactions to score from the rebound after his initial shot was blocked. Alli reads the game well and often knows where the ball will go seconds before the opposition defenders. Technical skills are important, but to get to the top, a good mentality and intelligence are needed. The 21-year-old has both and his strike today was a result of the midfielder anticipating what was about to happen.
Alli remains confident and he won’t shy away from taking a shot at goal, as shown by his total of six attempted shots against Burnley. This was second only to Harry Kane and the midfielder knows that if the striker isn’t on form, he is the one that needs to pick up the slack. Despite being only 21, the England international shows no signs of struggling under that pressure. He relishes it and that is why he is headed to the top of the sport.
During the last 12 months, Alli’s distribution has improved significantly, as he is now better on the ball and often picks the right pass. On Sunday, he completed 89% of his passes and looked assured every time he had the ball at his feet. He made three key passes, which showed how he could influence the game. Although his goal threat is what makes him most threatening, he offers more and Pochettino knows how to get the best from him.
The one disappointing aspect to his performance was his defensive contribution or lack of it. Alli usually works hard for his team and offers something out of possession, but he didn’t against Burnley. He didn’t make a single ball recovery and failed to even attempt a tackle at Wembley. There was a little concern over his body language, as he showed no enthusiasm when celebrating his goal.
As an Englishman, he will always be under the microscope as he is seen as the country’s next big hope. He could become one of the best players in the world and there is reason to be encouraged based on his consistency. After breaking the 20-goal mark last season, he already has two in three appearances this campaign. The goals won’t relent and Premier League defenders will be concerned that Alli is ready to make the next step in his career.