How Cristian Romero made Allan Saint-Maximin look ordinary

It looks like Tottenham have finally been able to find the right balance in form that had eluded them so far under Antonio Conte this season.

Since mid-February, Spurs have been winning and losing games alternatively across competitions. This inconsistency prevented them from making faster progress up the table in the Premier League and also led to their exit from the FA Cup. But since their victory away against Brighton the north London side have followed it up with two more victories, the latest of them being a 5-1 thrashing of Newcastle on Sunday.

When Newcastle took the lead on the night through a Fabian Schar freekick, Spurs supporters feared that the team had reverted back to their inconsistent version. But Ben Davies equalized right before half time and Doherty, Son, Emerson and Bergwijn all got on the scoresheet in the second half to turn the game around.

Alongside the scintillating attacking display, Spurs were alert with their rear-guard action ensuring that goalkeeper Hugo Lloris had to make just one save throughout the game. While the rest of the defence in Davies, Emerson and Doherty managed to get on the scoresheet, centre-back Cristian Romero put out a solid display at the back and proved to be the reliable defender the north London club wanted and needed.

The Argentine would have been expecting a tough outing against Newcastle’s Allan Saint-Maximin, who is known for his explosive play and his bag of tricks to make any defender look silly. The Frenchman has given opposition defences of Leeds, Everton and Manchester United a torrid time with his quick feet and intelligent wing play.

But Romero was up to the task on Sunday and was seen standing tall against ASM in one v one situations. In one instance, fans spotted Romero selling ASM a dummy with his movement before switching sides and making a solid tackle to dispossess the French winger.

Victory in this individual battle would have surely boosted the Argentine’s confidence and enabled him to rack up a 7.47 match rating, according to whoscored.com. The centre-back made the most tackles (6) by any player from either side and also had the second-highest passing accuracy during the game (93.9%).

With Spurs offering a balanced performance in both attack and defence, his performance against young pacey players such as ASM would have given Conte and his Argentina manager Lionel Scaloni much faith in playing him as a reliable centre-back in their respective systems.

With Spurs chasing a top-4 finish and Argentina having the Qatar World Cup coming in November, Romero would be looking to keep up his form and help both his teams out in defence.