Tottenham fans were shocked after seeing Dele Alli produce a senseless deception against Arsenal’s Pablo Mari in the ‘Friendly’ Mind series on Sunday.
Alli, 25, reminded Spurs fans of his abilities during the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium game against rivals North London.
After bursting onto the scene initially for Mauricio Pochettino’s young Spurs side, the attacking midfielder has struggled in recent campaigns, having started just seven games in the 2020-21 season.
The 25-year-old’s haphazard relationship with former boss Jose Mourinho was part of his personal downfall, but the ex-MK Dons starlet is now eager to make a fresh start under new manager Nuno Espirito Santo.
“I want to make this one of the best years I’ve ever had,” Alli told Goal in July. “A lot of people have said that I need to get back to the shape I was in a few years ago. For me, I don’t even want to come to that, I want to go beyond that and reach my full potential to be the best player I can be.
“It’s been a tough few years, but I worked hard and analyzed what I need to do to improve. I trained a lot most days of my vacation. I didn’t feel like I needed a lot of rest so it’s just a lifelong workout.
“Everyone is looking for that extra few percent, so you have to keep up. I feel great and the best I have felt in a long time.
Alli was named in the starting XI that faced Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side in a pre-season tournament which Thomas Tuchel’s Chelsea ultimately won.
He almost scored twice with two attempts that thundered against the woodwork.
Along with Son Heung-min’s accomplished finish to seal the victory for the N17-based club, the 25-year-old’s remarkable skills over Gunners defender Mari were the other highlight of the derby.
On the right side of the field in the 58th minute, the midfielder’s ability to break a deadlock was illustrated by his nutmeg nerve on the Brazilian before being soiled by the defender.
Here’s how a selection of Spurs fans reacted to this specific incident on Twitter.
@Saucy_Skip said: ‘Dele Alli nutmeg? 1-0 in my book. ‘
@ThfcAnton announced: ‘Dele Alli nutmeg, he’s officially back.’
@spurs_touchline admitted: “He has poor play but I still enjoy a Dele Alli nutmeg.”
@ 3barbenoir tweeted: “Husband getting finished by Dele Alli in 2021 is what we love to see.”
@ sk1nnyburr1to replied: “What did Dele Alli do to Pablo Mari over there?”
Espirtio Santo’s side face the daunting task of facing champions Pep Guardiola in their Premier League opener next Sunday at 4:30 p.m., and Alli will be hoping his decent pre-season form will be enough to see him to start.