Tottenham have won Group K and Anzhi are guaranteed second place so apart from Spurs wanting to maintain their one hundred per cent record in European games this season, there is little to play for in either camp. Having played three crucial Premier League games in seven days and with the Liverpool match on Sunday, Andre Villas-Boas will want to rest as many of his top players as possible.
With both teams assured of qualification to the knock-out stages of the competition, this will be an opportunity for squad players to get some match practice ahead of the busy holiday period, which including the Anzhi game, will see Spurs play 8 games between now and the first weekend in January when they make the short down the Tottenham High Road to the Emirates for their FA Cup 3rd Round tie. If things work as we would hope in the Capital One Cup next week, that would be followed by a two-legged semi-final in addition to league matches.
With such a schedule in the coming weeks this is an opportunity to rest many of the players who have been most involved in the first four months of the season.
Better News on Rose and Eriksen
The report on BBC Sports suggests that Danny Rose and Christian Eriksen could be available following injury so the match would be a good chance for them to prove their fitness.
Brad Friedel will return in goal but in defence injuries are restricting AVB’s options.
Zeki Fryers should get another opportunity at left back although it may be for only part of the game, if as suggested Rose is ready to resume after his lengthy injury. Kyle Naughton who has had limited game time this season may play on the right or Ryan Fredericks who travelled to Norway for the last Europa League game could be another option.
In central defence Etienne Capoue may be required to continue in that role with Michael Dawson as the other senior players, Jan Vertonghen, Vlad Chiriches and Younes Kaboul, are out with injury. The only younger player who might come into consideration is Kevin Stewart.
In midfield there is more choice available for the manager. Erik Lamela will hope to reproduce the form and influence he brought to the game against Sheriff. As Eriksen has been out since October and with Andros Townsend and Gylfi Sigurdsson having started few games recently, this may be a time to build up their match fitness. Of the other midfield players Paulinho and Mousa Dembele have been used most frequently and with the Belgian’s recent problem with his hip, they could use the time to recuperate. One from Sandro, Lewis Holtby or Nacer Chadli may start as few of Tottenham’s younger players appear ready to step up. The best of the younger players are out on loan – Tom Carroll, Ryan Mason, Iago Falque and Alex Pritchard while Harry Kane has been injured for the past few weeks.
In attack, Roberto Soldado will presumably be given a game as he hasn’t started the last two league matches. Emmanuel Adebayor has been omitted from the provisional squad but some of the younger players have been included and could take a place on the bench.
Assuming Rose and Eriksen are fit enough to start the Spurs team could be along these lines as AVB continues his rotation policy for Europa League matches.
Possible Team: Friedel; Naughton, Dawson, Capoue, Rose; Sandro; Lamela, Eriksen, Sigurdsson, Townsend; Soldado
Tottenham are one of only two teams who have won all five group matches in this season’s Europa League. Having defeated Anzhi in Russia, Spurs want to make it six in a row against Anzhi who are currently bottom of the Russian League with 8 points from 19 matches.