The first Premier League game this Boxing Day comes from Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, as Spurs welcome Brighton and Hove Albion to north London.
With Jose Mourinho's side looking to bounce back from a disappointing loss at home to Chelsea on Sunday, fans were optimistic that there would be changes aplenty to help find form again.
#THFC: Gazzaniga, Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Winks, Sissoko, Lucas, Dele, Sessegnon, Kane (C).— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 26, 2019
@WilliamHill latest (18+)https://t.co/g7lU6lpCPS#THFC ⚪️ #COYS pic.twitter.com/4BsJJCB7eH
For a couple of years now, Tottenham supporters have pinpointed the midfield as a key area of weakness in the squad, so when the club decided to break the bank to bring in Tanguy Ndombele from Lyon in the summer, there was a fresh optimism that their problems in the centre of the park were behind them.
However, the France international hasn't looked 100% fit since joining, and despite impressing in a cameo vs Chelsea, Ndombele has been dropped completely from the squad for the visit of Brighton... Merry Christmas.
While the reasoning behind Ndombele's absence isn't known for sure yet, it's safe to say that most fans aren't happy.
Understand no injury for Ndombele. Generous interpretation is that he is being saved for Norwich but his absence from the 18 is not a great look.— Dan Kilpatrick (@Dan_KP) December 26, 2019
Tanguy Ndombele is not injury-free, according to @JulienMaynard - player is still feeling some pain in the adductor region. Hoping to be in contention for Tottenham’s next match.— Get French Football News (@GFFN) December 26, 2019
Ndombele, the team's club record signing, has started 1 game since Mourinho took over.— Marc Whittington (@MWhittington13) December 26, 2019
A lot of, "Have to applaud Spurs for having a plan when they fired Poch" from the media, but it sure seems like it's a plan at the expense of the 2 most important players at the club.
Ndombele has passed away. RIP u will live on forever. Cant believe it. I wanna run to u. Really cant believe this. @— *Insert Joe Kinnear* (@bankruptspurs) December 26, 2019
This is what’s gonna happen next:— nikhil (@NG_________) December 26, 2019
-Mourinho will say something about there only being 18 places in a squad
-Ndombele will start a game soon, and play well cos he’s a top player
-Mourinho fans will claim that his ‘tough love’ worked
-Ndombele will get dropped after the good game
Starting in Ndombele's place are Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko - the two midfield misfits who somehow started a Champions League final together.
Due train issues, I have just got a bus for an hour to watch Winks and Sissoko. I could be at home with my lovely family. Idiot.— James Dickens (@JamesWDickens) December 26, 2019
Winks and Sissoko pivot, Christmas is ruined https://t.co/E0aWjHh3iH— alex (@AlexDrws) December 26, 2019
winkoko... just communicate and play well together please i'm begging— super jan (@captbelgium) December 26, 2019
While Spurs fans have been spending November and December warming to Mourinho, neutrals have been warning them of his ways.
That's Mourinho for you. He played Matic when Herrera sat on the bench. He keeps playing Dier..— Just a Concerned Nigerian(J.A.C.N) (@akoredekush) December 26, 2019
Wonder if José would take Matic and Mctominay for Ndombele— YouTube: Shirtless Plantain Show (@Nigerianscamsss) December 26, 2019
If Alli is Jose's Lampard/Sneijder, then, Ndombele is looking like his Mata/Casillas— Miguel Delaney (@MiguelDelaney) December 26, 2019
No Ndombele at all... Even less creativity without Son. Ah, this is showtime Jose we’re seeing here lads. He ain’t changed a bit https://t.co/XCzsMivTZv— Ducard (@AliquamScripto) December 26, 2019
Jose watched Ndombele break lines in his 20 minute cameo and said ‘nah. i ain’t having this’— Mubarak (@mubzhendrix) December 26, 2019
But while Ndombele isn't injured, there are some theories flying around to try and explain his absence.
Ndombele eaten half his body weight in chocolate orange hasn’t he— Billie (@Billie_T) December 26, 2019
Everyone is massively overreacting about Ndombele not being in the squad, his fitness isn’t great and we have a game in 2 days. Wouldn’t be surprised if he started against Norwich— Aidan (@_thfcaidan) December 26, 2019