TalkSport football correspondent Alex Crook has claimed that Tottenham Hotspur won’t close the gap at the top of the Premier League with Emerson Royal in the starting lineup.
Crook was speaking following Spurs’ 3-1 north London derby defeat at the weekend, during which the Brazilian was sent off.
It was the Lilywhites’ third straight loss in the league away to the Gunners and their first of the campaign.
The result leaves Antonio Conte’s side in third on 17 points from eight games, four behind Arsenal at the top of the table, with Manchester City in second place on 20.
After a slew of summer signings, pundits such as Joleon Lescott predicted Tottenham would close the gap on City at the top of the table, but with Emerson in the starting lineup, Crook doesn’t believe that is possible.
Speaking on the TalkSport GameDay podcast about his sending-off, he said: “I think it was a red card. I know there’s been a little bit of debate. I thought it was a dangerous tackle; I thought it was quite a brainless tackle, to be honest.
“I think if we’re talking about Tottenham in terms of getting closer to Manchester City, as a lot of people were at the start of the season, with the greatest will in the world, they’re not going to do that with Emerson Royal as their first-choice right-back. He’s simply not good enough and lost his head in a big-game situation.”
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It marks something of a setback for the former Barcelona man, as Conte had sung his praises earlier in the season for his improvement since the previous campaign.
According to SofaScore, the 23-year-old, who football.london writer Rob Guest described as ‘sloppy‘ earlier this season, was dribbled past twice and won only 4/10 duels as he struggled to deal with Gabriel Martinelli and was eventually sent off for an unnecessary challenge on his compatriot.
Emerson has started all but one of the club’s matches this season, but a change could be in the pipeline, with Ivan Perisic potentially switching to the right and Ryan Sessegnon holding down the left-hand side if Conte feels he can no longer trust the defender.