A pre-season 2-0 win over Juventus on Saturday was the ideal preparation for Tottenham Hotspur, with the new Premier League campaign for Mauricio Pocehttino’s men just around the corner.
A trip to newly promoted Newcastle United is first up for last season’s runners-up, with three points and getting 2017-18 off to winning ways the ultimate objective.
The last time Tottenham travelled to St James’ Park it turned to tragedy, with a startling 5-1 humbling at the hands of Rafa Benitez’s men robbing Spurs of second place on the last day of 2015-16.
Ironically, Moussa Sissoko played for Newcastle that day before the North London side broke their transfer record to sign him three months later.
While the France international’s tenure at Tottenham has been much-publicised as an overwhelming waste of time and money, another irony is that he could well be in Pochettino’s starting XI for the game against his former employers this weekend.
Sissoko started the win over Juventus and appears to have been inadvertently handed a chance at a Spurs redemption as others are missing.
Both Son Heung-min and Erik Lamela are more-rounded options than the Frenchman and would certainly start ahead of him if fit and available – but both are on the treatment table.
The South Korean is recovering from a broken arm, while the Argentine’s hip ailments have been massively frustrating for all concerned and kept him away from the action since last October.
As such, despite the majority of Tottenham fans wanting to see the back of Sissoko before the transfer window closes, the hard truth is that Spurs need him in their matchday squad for the time being.
Should a new signing arrive shortly in the attacking midfield positions, such as the much-linked Ross Barkley, then the former Newcastle man could be let go.
Both Son and Lamela will be conducting intense training, taking their protein shakes and striving towards fitness over the next few weeks and months, but the duo are still some way off availability.
With three weeks left in the transfer window, Sissoko’s time at Tottenham looks numbered – despite the afore-mentioned interest.
However, the 27-year-old seems to perform best when in the shop window or with a point to prove – France’s Euro 2016 campaign being a classic example.
Coming up against Newcastle and a fanbase that lost respect for him in the final six months of his time in the north east, and with a potential transfer in his sights, it may well be that playing Sissoko on Sunday could actually (finally) work in Tottenham’s favour.