After a season-shattering defeat away at Dinamo Zagreb, Jose Mourinho made seven changes ahead of Tottenham Hotspur‘s clash with Aston Villa, including a second Premier League start for Carlos Vinicius.
There were two enforced changes to the squad, with Toby Alderweireld and Serge Aurier suffering from illness.
This gave Vinicius a chance to carry over his impressive European goal scoring form to the Premier League. Mourinho also gave starts to Japhet Tanganga, Joe Rodon and Giovani Lo Celso.
First Carlos Vinicius Premier League Goal Helps Spurs to Victory
Second Start, First Goal
Carlos Vinicius grabbed his first Premier League goal, a tap-in in a similar vein to many of his nine Spurs goals.
The Brazilian had a quiet first half at Villa Park but found himself in the right place to guide Lucas Moura‘s cross home.
His strength is definitely in his finishing inside the box. Given the right service, Vinicius can contribute to the Spurs strikeforce.
But he just does not offer the same range of qualities as Harry Kane or Son Heung-min.
Kane and Vinicius
It is a harsh comparison, but Vinicius has less dimensions to his game than Kane or Son. This does not need to be a problem; Vinicius started up top alongside Kane. If Son was fit for the match, then he might have played in a front three with Vinicius.
Kane is often able to drop deeper as a number ten. But against Villa, Kane and Vinicius were attacking together, queuing up for crosses in the box.
Whether it is Kane scoring the goals or setting up Vinicius, the physical pairing of Kane and Vinicius is enough to keep most Premier League defences occupied.
Vinicius does not need to be a complete centre-forward. Both Kane and Son are capable of creating moments of magic. What Spurs have in Vinicius is another goalscorer.
Unlike Vincent Janssen and Roberto Soldado before him, Vinicius is becoming a reliable back-up source of goals. Until the premature exit from the Europa League, Vinicius was leading Spurs’ scoring charts in Europe and was one of the highest scorers in the competition at the time.
It is now a question as to whether Vinicius can nail down some more game-time in the Premier League. 14 of his 22 Tottenham appearances have been off the bench, including six Premier League cameos.
Battle of the Forwards
The international break beckons, which will give Son crucial time to recover from injury. If he does return to fitness, he will surely pose the greatest threat to Vinicius starting in the league, not to mention Gareth Bale.
It would be no shock to see Son or Bale restored to the starting eleven. They can simply do more than Vinicius in creating those moments of magic.
Vinicius will likely return to the bench, with no more Europa League game-time to be had.
Nevertheless, he remains a good option off the bench, and if Mourinho can get him on more regularly, then he can rest Kane or Son and allow this burgeoning Brazilian talent to begin to flourish.
For now, Vinicius can revel in helping his team reach sixth place, just three points separating them from rivals Chelsea and a Champions League spot.