The inclusion of Nabil Bentaleb as a starting midfielder raised plenty of eyebrows ahead of the Arsenal cup tie and head coach Tim Sherwood went on to keep faith with the youngster for Saturday’s home game with Crystal Palace.

Still only 19, the Frenchman shows maturity way beyond his years and his display at the weekend could have been rounded off by a goal in what was the only highlight of a dire first half for the club.

Former Tottenham midfielder Jamie Redknapp isn’t one to pour too much praise on his former side but he was very impressed with Nabil’s display – likening him at one stage to Xavi.

‘People say anybody can make five-yard passes, but if they think that’s easy, they are kidding themselves. For a teenager to come in and play the way he has is unbelievable,” Redknapp said in his Daily Mail column.

‘Tim Sherwood knows him from the youth set-up and he certainly knows a thing or two about playing in midfield.

‘But Bentaleb’s ability belies his age. He is confident and plays with a nice arrogance, as if he’s saying: ‘Here I am, give me the ball.’ It was a brave decision to blood the youngster, but it looks like one that will pay off.’

Bentaleb made 106 passes on Saturday – completing 93.4% of them. Incredible stats which suggest he will be a permanent fixture in the side under Sherwood.




  1. That’s all well and good but look at all of his 91% of passes made were in the middle of the park not one was made into the box which funny enough where mr booby soldier wants the ball to score a goal hence our shocking goal tally and why spend £26m on a commodity and not use it incredible !!

  2. It’s gonna take quite a few more games to convince most supporters he’ll be in the team for the long-term.
    Interesting to see he’s ahead of Capoue in the pecking order though.
    Still, nice and tidy, good technique. With a bit more confidence he might start spraying it around with a bit more penetration.
    Good start

  3. Decent young player, but nothing more at the moment. Trust Jamie Redknapp to compare the lad to Xavi after ONLY his first/second EPL start of the season.

    I think the pairing of Bentalib and Dembele would look a LOT better with a Sandro/Capoue sitting behind them, allowing both players to be more expressive on the ball/ in forward areas.

    At the moment, the midfield looks FAR too lightweight without a NATURALLY defensive minded midfielder.
    Neither player wants to REGULARLY be tracking runs, holding their position or focussing on putting out fires. And those defensive-minded duties extends to picking up opponents, EFFECTIVELY, from set-pieces, too.

    Dembele ALWAYS puts a shift in, and does the dirty side of the game well, but surely putting another set of legs in midfield would allow Mousa to focus more on creating problems for the opposition without having to worry about whether the door has been closed behind him.

    It’s been an UNNECESSARY problem for most of the season, with Dembele having to take up the greater share of defensive duties when paired with the likes of Paulinho due to the Brazilians tendency to go forward (usually vacating the midfield too early, WITHOUT a care in the world to what is happening behind him).

    Pound for pound, I think Dembele is the best player in the Spurs squad, and therefore I believe that more should be done to give the Belgian the platform to maximise his potential. At the moment, the management are simply not extracting the VERY best out of midfielder (or the midfield department, for that matter) on a regular, enough, basis.


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