Tottenham finally have a clean bill of health, giving Mauricio Pochettino a few personnel decisions to make ahead of Saturday’s North London Derby.
It’s a good headache for Spurs’ boss to have. He’ll be pleased knowing, after months of injuries to key players, that he has a full squad to choose from. However, it is unlikely Pochettino will tinker too much with a lineup that drew Liverpool away and walked all over United at Wembley.
One of the biggest question marks and uncertainties is whether Toby Alderweireld will crack Spurs’ Premier League starting 11 for the first time since going down with a slight hamstring tear almost four months ago.
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The Belgian returned to the lineup against Newport yesterday and, in my opinion, is unlikely to start in such a high-tempo match on only two days rest. He will, however, slide back into Totenahm’s rearguard against Juventus next week.
Then again, Sanchez endured an abject outing against Liverpool so I wouldn’t be crestfallen if Alderweireld, who barely worked up a sweat against Newport, returned to the first team.
The same goes for Harry Winks and Danny Rose, both of whom will start on the bench on Saturday.
Even if Rose is good to go, he’s a country mile away from challenging Ben Davies for the starting left-back role.
Lucas Moura is patiently awaiting his debut after signing from PSG last week. I doubt Pochettino will risk starting the Brazilian, who made only six appearances with PSG before arriving at Tottenham Way. Moura is a weapon Pochettino can utilize in the second half, capitalizing on a weary and heavy-legged Arsenal back line.
The only other position of ambiguity focusses on Tottenham’s defensive midfield. Does Pochettino stick with Eric Dier – who was noticeably laggard against Liverpool – or replace him with Victor Wanyama?
Wanyama played 78 minutes in the team’s FA Cup win over Newport, so the likelihood of him starting against Arsenal on Saturday is minimal.
Erik Lamela was exceptional against Newport, but the creative Argentinian should also start on the pine, waiting for the opportunity to prove his indispensability in pivotal matches.