Not every Tottenham Hotspur player is enjoying the success of the 2020/21 campaign so far.
Jose Mourinho has transformed his standing in north London by leading Spurs to the summit of the Premier League table following a series of fine results, including a pair of wins over both the Manchester giants.
Spirits are high ahead of their trip to Stamford Bridge, a ground where the Lilywhites had failed to win in 28 years prior to their 3-1 victory in April 2018.
In that fixture Dele Alli produced a masterclass in enigmatic forward play, scoring two goals on a memorable afternoon for the club.
"It's been a tough period for him, but for no doubt about his talent, his character. He's a fighter; very competitive," said Mauricio Pochettino in the aftermath of proceedings.
The Argentine went on to add some perspective during a time when Alli was beginning to attract some critics: "In the end, he's a great talent, only 21 years old, and sometimes we lose the focus on that."
Alli's first strike was simply first-class. Watching a long-range aerial Eric Dier pass onto the tip of his right boot, Alli plucked the ball from the sky before lofting his effort over an onrushing Willy Caballero.
The celebration that ensued was one befitting of the England star's brash confidence at the time, one of the most fundamental ingredients of his early career success.
Now, though, that confidence has vanished, and so too has his manager's faith.
Alli's demise goes to show how much can change in two-and-a-half years. Mourinho has omitted Alli from his last five Premier League squads, casting doubt over his future and almost certainly confirming his absence from the squad to face Chelsea this weekend.
The sprinkle of Mourinho love following Pochettino's departure initially induced an auspicious upturn in form, but those signs of promise soon faded and Alli's languid approach soon became a hindrance to the Portuguese's counter-attacking style.
A torrid first-half display against Everton on the opening day of the season saw Alli hooked at half-time, and he's been included in just one Premier League matchday squad since.
It was a gamble from Mourinho even with the 24-year-old's downturn in form becoming more than just a transient blip, but Spurs' subsequent results have provided vindication for the Portuguese manager.
And now BBC Sport pundit Jermaine Jenas has praised the Portuguese manager for his tough stance on Alli, claiming that it was a firm but fair decision.
"Mourinho is willing to make the hard decisions. Taking Dele Alli out of the group was not an easy one, but he felt it was necessary and he has been proved right."
The results speak for themselves: Spurs are unbeaten in the seven games Alli has been absent from this season, taking 17 points from a possible 21.
Within that time Mourinho's philosophy has started to take shape and the right balance in midfield appears to have been struck.
Harry Kane and Son Heung-min are combining to devastating effect and the speed of Spurs' transitions has been markedly quicker since Alli faded onto the periphery.
Alli doesn't look primed to play any sort of significant role in their season and, as Jenas says, Mourinho deserves credit for taking a bold, cut-throat stance so early in the campaign.News Now - Sport News