here have already been several moments of potential lift-off for Richarlison at Tottenham, but his decisive cameo in an exhilarating late win over Sheffield United felt like the best evidence yet that the Brazilian can turn a corner and be a success at the club.
At the end of perhaps the toughest week of his professional career, in which he revealed he would seek “psychological help” following a difficult five months away from the pitch, Richarlison came off the bench to score one and assist Dejan Kulusevski’s 100th-minute winner — continuing Ange Postecoglou’s excellent start at Spurs.
Richarlison had gone into the fixture on the back of twice failing to score for Brazil in World Cup qualifying wins over Bolivia and Peru, maintaining his duck for his country since the World Cup, and with his place in Spurs’ XI increasingly in doubt.
Against Bolivia, he was left in floods of tears on the bench after being substituted, before revealing he would see a psychologist, while in the win over Peru he had a goal ruled out for a fractional offside — continuing a streak of rotten luck.
As expected, he remained on the bench against the Blades, with Heung-min Son continuing to lead the line after scoring a hat-trick in the win over Burnley before the internationals.
With Spurs camped on the edge of the Sheffield United box for most of the second half, it was a surprise that it took Postecoglou so long to introduce Richarlison, who did not emerge until the 79th-minute, shortly after Gustavo Hamer’s low strike had crept into the far corner to give the visitors the lead against the run of play.
His introduction in a triple change along with Ivan Perisic and debutant Brennan Johnson ensured Spurs remained on the up against a dogged Blades side, who had defended with a sea of yellow shirts and grown in confidence as the game went on.
The visitors frustrated Spurs, happily wasting time, but that only came back to bite them when the fourth official signalled for twelve additional minutes.
With eight of them up, and frustration starting to creep into the ground, Richarlison met Perisic’s corner with a bullet header to deservedly equalise.
There was a final flourish to come, and Richarlison was also instrumental in the winner, a brilliant move starting with Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Ivan Perisic.
From the Croatian’s flick, he unselfishly squared to Kulusevski, whose fierce strike raised the roof at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, producing one of the loudest roars this ground has ever heard.
It ensured Spurs deservedly came away with the points, underlining the quality and spirit in this group of players and their growing belief under Postecoglou.
Next up for Spurs are games against Arsenal and Liverpool, both also unbeaten as it stands, in a double-header which should go a long way to demonstrating how excited fans can be about not just the medium or long-term future under Postecoglou, but about the club’s prospects this season.