It’s been well-documented that Mauricio Pochettino is known for rotating his fullbacks constantly in order to prevent fatigue. While it’s a good idea in theory, some players are going to have great runs of form and will look to be a consistent name in the first-XI.
At the beginning of the season, first on the team sheet was England international Kieran Trippier. Serving as an understudy, then displaced by now Manchester City right back Kyle Walker from the starting line-up in 2016-17, Trippier had a good start to the season getting up and down the pitch and providing crosses from the right-hand side.
His high point came against Real Madrid in their glorious 3-1 win at Wembley Stadium back in November, assisting Dele Alli to make it 1-0 in the first half.
Nipping at his heels was new signing Serge Aurier. While the Englishman has started more games, Aurier has been doing well to compete with Trippier due to his dynamism, pace, and crossing ability.
He starred in the CL group stage for Spurs, appearing in both wins vs. Dortmund, the 1-1 draw vs. Madrid at the Bernabeu, and both wins vs. APOEL. He was also a part of the 4-1 mauling of Liverpool at Wembley back in October.
Did he mean it?
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 24, 2017
He even scored his first goal of the season on a mishit crosses to break the deadlock vs. Brighton back in the middle of December.
While he’s put on mercurial performances (along with some bonehead mistakes), he may have got his break after Man City’s 4-1 thrashing of Spurs at the Etihad.
Time after time, Trippier was unable to cope with the speed and skill of Leroy Sane as the German constantly got in behind the Spurs defense.
As a result, Pochettino included the Ivorian in the starting 11 vs. Burnley at Turf Moor. A part from a misplaced pass that put Burnley on the attack, he was bombing up and down the pitch contributing to the Spurs attack. He had a solid game defensively as well winning tackles with ease.
When he wasn’t marred by disciplinary issues, Serge Aurier showed he had world class talent at PSG.
The game today demonstrates a glimpse into that talent. Has dominated the whole right flank for Spurs. Top performance. pic.twitter.com/86bo69bz8Y
— Premier League Panel (@PremLeaguePanel) December 23, 2017
Uncharacteristic of Pochettino, instead of rotating Aurier for Trippier since it was three days later they played Southampton, he opted for the Ivorian again, and he did not disappoint at Wembley.
Right from the off, he played in Christian Eriksen and the Dane put it in the back of the net after and exchange with Eric Dier and Heung-Min Son, but was ruled offside.
He was always a constant threat on the byline putting in crosses for his teammates to attack, and despite leaving space for Boufal to score in the second-half, he had another great performance.
— Ricky Sacks (@RickSpur) December 26, 2017
What we can deduce from this is that Serge Aurier is now Tottenham’s first-choice right back. It’s unlike Pochettino to not rotate a full back when two games are three days apart.
Pochettino probably realized that Kieran Trippier isn’t suited to containing pacey wingers and the modern game demands a player of Serge Aurier’s skill set and athletic ability to give Spurs a chance to win against the best teams in Europe.
The Ivorian is slowly justifying his 23 million pound price tag.