Team For Moldova
Andre Villas-Boas has selected strong teams for the previous Europa League matches this season. He has taken a full strength squad to Georgia and Russia with a strong substitutes bench as back-up for the squad players. What will he do for the game in Moldova against FC Sheriff Tiraspol?
On the British Lions tour and other rugby union overseas tours the management after a few early games usually have a settled view of their strongest team who play the big games at the weekend. The rest of the squad with a few exceptions make up the ‘midweek’ team against the weaker opposition. The first choice players have time to rest, recover from minor knocks and prepare for the next game. Will AVB decide on that strategy for the game against Sheriff in light of Spurs’ disappointing result and performance against West Ham after the trip to Russia in the last round of group matches?
AVB has sent out much changed teams for the midweek matches but has taken most of the squad and used some of them late in the game. His selection on Sunday against Aston Villa saw four changes with three of the ‘midweek’ team promoted to start at Villa Park. Will Lewis Holtby, Vlad Chiriches and Sandro be exempt from this game with Christian Eriksen and Mousa Dembele expected to take their place in the Europa League games?
AVB wants to ensure qualification for the knock-out stages as quickly as possible to remove the competitiveness of the final rounds of games if Spurs are already guaranteed their place in the next round. Nine points from the opening three games could see them guaranteed a place if the result of the other game ends in another draw.
It is a delicate balance to give everyone match time to ensure fitness while resting others who have had a hectic schedule including international games. Last time for the match in Russia Jan Vertonghen and Paulinho didn’t make the trip while Andros Townsend was not in the matchday squad even though he had travelled.
Busy October For Players
The players have had to undertake considerable travel this month with Spurs Europa League games and the international matches. they have been to:
Russia v Anzhi – majority of squad
Tottenham v West Ham
England players – two games at Wembley
Hugo Lloris – two games in Paris
Belgium trio – Belgium – Croatia – Belgium
Vlad Chiriches – Romania – Andorra – Romania
Gylfi Sigurdsson – Iceland – Norway
Christian Eriksen – Denmark – Norway
Paulinho – South Korea – China
Erik Lamela – Argentina – Uruguay
Harry Kane – Under-21 – San Marino
Birmingham: v Aston Villa
Moldova: v FC Sheriff
Possible team v FC Sheriff
After the ten days that Andros Townsend has had, I’m pleased to see that he has been given a break and hasn’t travelled with the squad. Kyle Walker and Paulinho have also remained in London. The remainder of the squad have travelled with Emmanuel Adebayor and young defender Kevin Stewart in the party. Younes Kaboul, Danny Rose and Etienne Capoue are still out with injury although according to AVB Kaboul and Capoue could return for next week’s Cup game with Hull City.
My selection to use as few players who have been involved in internationals during the month and giving as many as possible of the first choice a night off, would be:
Brad Friedel; Kyle Naughton, Michael Dawson, Vlad Chiriches, Zeki Fryers; Sandro, Mousa Dembele; Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen, Aaron Lennon; Jermain Defoe
That team should be able to overcome the challenge of FC Sheriff and maintain their perfect Europa League record this season.