Tottenham: Projected XI for Hotspur Derby with West Ham

Tottenham (Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images)
Tottenham (Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images) /

Here are the Tottenham starting XI for the London Derby with West Ham

There were maybe more questions than answers from the first game back for Tottenham Hotspur, however, one thing that was made plain was the formation. While some of the pieces shifted a bit this way or that, on paper, it was essentially a 4-4-2 with a true second striker and regular, not inverted wings for the 1-1 draw with United.

Now with a full squad of attacking players available to him – having Dele Alli back from a one-game suspension and Lucas Moura back from a slight knock – Jose Mourinho has the opportunity to unveil his top attacking line-up and further his game plan moving forward. So, who is in this top attacking XI and what does it look like for the match week 31 derby with West Ham at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium?

Tottenham in Defense

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Whereas there are no players really coming back from injury, where exactly are you Juan Foyth, Jose does some rotating.

While Davinson Sanchez and Eric Dier performed well overall in the return match versus Manchester United and deserve another game, they need to get minutes so everyone can get some fitness is huge and gives us one of our final games with Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld playing together as our center halves.

On one side we will continue to see Serge Aurier unless Jose decides to drop Sissoko back to grant some space in the midfield.

Likely Sissoko stays home in the center of the park and Serge stays at right-back and Juan Foyth stays in Argentina? On the left we see Ryan Sessegnon playing left back. I am not sure if it is his permanent home or not, but Danny Rose is gone and Sessegnon was on the bench and not considered one of our six attackers per Jose Mourinho, so he must be a left back.

Of course, the back four is in front of Hugo Lloris who looked stellar in his return versus United. With Sessegnon on the field, Spurs can push up the left flank from the wing-back as well as the right. Look for some more balance in that part of attack, although the position of the wings in front of the fullbacks, make that push less required and more supplemental bonus.

Spurs Midfield Four

Just because a name or two may change does not mean that Jose Mourinho is changing formations with Dele and Lucas returning, rather, he is supercharging the attacking. The Winks and Sissoko pairing will again be critical unless we happen to see Dier moving up to midfield, but I think he is simply on the bench and the pair remain.

Winks and Sissoko can be hit or miss, but in theory complement each other well, with Sissoko’s dynamic athleticism and Wink’s smart passing game, the pair provides two very different box-to-box midfielders who do more defensively than offensively but help spur the attack. I would really LIKE to see Tanguy Ndombele, but I am not sure when we will, hopefully in this game with Sissoko, but hard to say at this point until we see him play again.

Heung-Min Son has the left wing nailed down for the foreseeable future as the most natural left sided attacker – particularly if Sessegnon is a fullback. I know Son is right-handed, but we all know he is both footed. Lucas Moura – who Mourinho clearly rates – will set up on the right.

Doing this gives us two speedsters on the wing who can fun over the top in the channels or work the flanks and provide service. Since they will not feel the need to constantly drive inside like inverted wingers, they will provide the width necessary to create space for the two strikers in Mourinho’s offense. This is key, unlike most teams with the inverted focus, finding people who can provide some service is clearly important to Jose.

Spurs Striking Duo

With Dele back in action, we see him paired with Harry Kane. Dele is the perfect second striker for Kane because he makes as many runs into the box as he does drop back to pick up the ball in midfield. Whereas Lamela rarely runs in over the top, it is truly a specialty for Dele who tends to have impeccable timing and a tremendous first touch.

More importantly, because Dele goes forward and backwards, it helps pull the defense that much more to give Harry Kane the space he needs to operate. While I do not think Harry’s lack of movement is permanent, he is coming off surgery and has not had full access to the facility, so it will take time. The good news is Dele and Kane have a partnership that makes things work, and playing together makes them both better.

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  • With 9 players available, but again Dele and Lucas returning, some folks who previously made the bench are now not going to do so. Unfortunately, that means Harvey White’s bench appearance was only for a game and likely Oliver Skipp takes the blow and falls off the squad.

    This leaves the obvious Paulo Gazzaniga as the back-up to Lloris along with his fellow countryman Erik Lamela as two of our back-up nine.

    Ndombele – if he does not go for Winks, Dier, Bergwijn, Fernandes, Lo Celso, Sanchez, and Davies round out the nine on the pine.

    Lo Celso is clearly still struggling for fitness and can make an Eriksen like impact off the bench.

    If anyone saw Adama Traore come on and change the game for Wolves this weekend, that is what I imagine for Bergwijn as the Hammers defense begins to get a bit tired. Jose may find room for two more substitutes to play, it just really depends on the score, but Lo Celso and Bergwijn at about 60-65 minutes for certain.

    Spurs Projected XI

    So, we have a 4-4-2:


    Aurier – Alderweireld – Vertonghen – Sessegnon

    Moura – Sissoko – Winks – Son

    Dele – Kane


    Gazzaniga, Lamela, Bergwijn, Fernandes, Lo Celso, Sanchez, Dier, Davies, and Ndombele.

    This is not what I am hoping for, that is a different article, this is what I think Jose will do. What do you think?