Yves Bissouma just turned into Messi for the most ridiculous assist you’ll see all year

There is no greater evidence for the Ange Postecoglou renaissance at Tottenham than Yves Bissouma turning into Lionel Messi at his most impudent to produce what’s surely the greatest assist you’ll see anywhere this season. 

Okay, Bissouma wasn’t wearing a Tottenham shirt when he pulled it off. It was to set up the last goal of Mali’s 4-0 drubbing of South Sudan in Africa Cup of Nations qualifying. But seeing the midfielder play with that kind of confidence and joie de vivre was completely unthinkable during the miserable depths of the Antonio Conte era last term.

It was evident at Brighton that Bissouma was a quality player. But he looked lost in his debut season at Tottenham, with Conte’s favoured 3-4-2-1 formation not able to get him influencing the game.

The kindest thing you can say about the Mali international’s first year in north London is that he didn’t play much of a part in the misery. He started just 10 Premier League matches and his Champions League contributions amounted to three substitute appearances totalling less than 90 minutes.

But we’re declaring early that Postecoglou’s Spurs are 2023-24’s official ‘breath of fresh air’ team and Bissouma has had a starring role in their wonderfully watchable attack-minded football.

New faces like James Maddison, Destiny Udogie and Gugliemo Vicario have come in and made an instant impact, but Bissouma stands alongside Pedro Porro, Pape Matar Sarr and Son Heung-min in looking unrecognisable to last season.

Bissouma has arguably been Spurs’ best player this season. And his latest assist shows that the club are blessed with an absolute baller.

Bursting towards the goal-line like a world-class winger, Bissouma took the perfect touch to trap the ball dead and leave South Sudan’s hapless defenders scrambling. He then sent the ‘keeper for a tax by executing a perfect turn.

Proper football men might’ve called it dallying on the ball, and those vital seconds allowed South Sudan to get eight players back in the immediate vicinity of the six-yard box. Despite all that congestion, Bissouma was able to pick out one of his outnumbered team-mates, Nene Dorgeles, who finished through the crowd of bodies into the keeperless net.

“[Bissouma] has got bags of energy, you know when he’s around and it’s great. He’s got a great personality. He’s a very, very good footballer. I’m looking forward to working with him. I think he can play a big part for us,” Postecoglou said of Bissouma during one of his first pre-season media appearances.

“In life, I’m a person who likes to enjoy. I’m relaxed, I take my time to do good things – at football it’s the same, I have a lot of confidence in myself and that’s important,” Bissouma told Sky Sports after instantly making himself a key player under Postecoglou.

“The way we work with the manager at training is amazing. We work hard. We try to keep the ball, and work a lot on possession – he’s the manager, he says he wants us to have the ball.”

The midfielder went on to describe the Australian coach as “like a friend, a dad, an uncle, he’s everything”.

What a difference a manager’s belief can make.

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