After his NLD performance, the Lilywhites must get rid of their work-averse dud.
An unexpected pre-game move from Ange Postecoglou helped Tottenham Hotspur get a crucial point against Arsenal on Sunday and maintain their perfect start in the Premier League. In the North London Derby, the Australian took the risky step of giving Brennan Johnson his entire debut.
The Welshman undoubtedly fell short of the expectations before his second-half substitution, especially with the stakes high and the game always considered to be one in which they would have to fight for any outcome.
How did Brennan Johnson play vs Arsenal?
The Lilywhites would have left the home of their rivals happy with not only the win but also the performance that merited it, showcasing a shift in mentality rarely seen in recent years. They had twice fought back at the Emirates.
Unsurprisingly, these feats of bravery were carried out by two members of the newly formed leadership team, with James Maddison sneaking in Heung-min Son twice to complete and bring the score back to even.
However, Johnson was one of the front line players that frequently dallied with the ball in the first half, resulting in six turnovers of possession. He only managed 18 touches, which is significantly worse given that goalie Guglielmo Vicario had even more (57), according to Sofascore.
Such wastefulness in possession would contribute to a depressing 6.0 rating, as he would miss two significant opportunities to make matters worse. The £28 million-rated ace missed one of those chances, a first-time finish inside the box, giving David Raya the chance to make an incredible stop. Realistically, the Spaniard shouldn’t have been able to do it before he ever dove.
The 22-year-old’s lack of defensive contribution, leaving Destiny Udogie frequently out to dry on the left wing, was perhaps the most damning aspect of his performance. Johnson refused to track back even after the Italian was given a booking and Bukayo Saka kept attacking him with cutting runs.
Ironically, the Englishman was able to cut inside unnoticed and score the opening goal thanks to a terrible deflection the one time he did since both the winger and full-back went with the runner.
Johnson’s miserable afternoon came to a close when he had to leave the game after 63 minutes due to a hamstring injury, capping off an obviously difficult full debut.
Who could replace Brennan Johnson?
Fans may want to give their young new signing a lot of leeway, but the truth is that he cost a massive £47.5 million, therefore more must be demanded.
Players like Manor Solomon, who were bought for nothing during the previous transfer window, have already started to show off their skill; according to Sofascore, the 24-year-old has two assists in as many starts.
The Israeli trickster would be the obvious choice to replace the wounded alternative, who should be discarded regardless of his condition, if Postecoglou wants to continue starting Son through the center.
Richarlison represents an additional choice whose presence might cause a change in front line duties. However, his goal and assist against Sheffield United may have given his up to now floundering north London career a boost.
Whether Johnson is out for a few days or several weeks, it might be best to give him more time to adjust so he can fully fit into the team. As the former Nottingham Forest speedster demonstrated, Johnson is still not ready to start starring for Spurs.