Tottenham Hotspur travel to Bramall Lane to take on Sheffield United
Picking the XI should be easy at this point in the season, however, the Covid-break and restart have changed the flow of things considerably for Tottenham. Add in the fact Tottenham are only fighting on one front and suddenly minutes are few and far between. With this in mind, we will see some rotation, just not in places where most people hope or expect.
Tottenham Defense and Dilemmas
The defense is where we will see changes but not because we want to see them, rather we really need to see them. Dier and Sanchez together have been a revelation and I hope they can continue to play well together but Sheffield is not that time. We really do need to see what Jan and Toby have left in the tank, and just waiting for the team to be out of contention only guarantees we will not see much. If we do not see Jan and Toby for Sheffield, we may not see them again until Top Four is out of reach.
If we do see Vertonghen and Alderweireld one more time that necessitates another change at left back. Given pace is the biggest issue for the Belgian duo, having Ryan Sessegnon to help cover makes things a bit easier. Regardless, the injuries to Tanganga and Foyth mean Serge Aurier continues to roam up and down the right flank.
Spurs Midfield and Attack a Known Commodity
While there are some changes in defense, I think we continue to see the same midfield and attack that we did in the previous match. It is clear Mourinho entered the return to action with an idea in his head of what his attack should look like and he made that plain after the Manchester United game and with his line-up against West Ham.
Nothing in the West Ham game would have forced Mourinho’s hand at this point and we see the same six players as before. Sissoko and Lo Celso have an opportunity to lock down the two interior midfield places with another strong performance. Lo Celso’s creativity is given free rein knowing Sissoko is behind him to clean help cover for issues.
Heung Min-Son and Lucas Moura are again given the opportunity to both provide some service and clean up at the back post as the true wings in the formation. While some may believe Son isn’t set up for success in such a role, he is essentially playing a modified version of the Cristiano Ronaldo role from Mourinho’s days with Real Madrid. Further, Jose’s admiration for Moura has been made clear and the Brazilian will continue to get opportunities until he does not.
Once more into the breach Harry Kane and Dele Alli are thrown in together and with the team set up behind them I would not want to be Sheffield United on this day. Expect a lot of activity from Dele and the ball to hit the back of the net for Harry Kane. Now that he has tasted a goal again, we can expect him to be hungry for more.
Tottenham Bench and Substitutes
Although he has only used five of a possible 10 substitutions in two games since the restart for Spurs, expect Jose Mourinho to be a bit more active in reaching for his bench, which is deep.
While both Moura and Dele start again, don’t expect either to get over an hour and depending on performance may be gone at half-time as Erik Lamela and Steven Bergwijn come off the bench to mix things up and take advantage of some tired legs.
Remember, while Tottenham have played two games since the restart and the last over a week ago, Sheffield have played four.
Besides the short leash on Moura and Dele, don’t expect Jose to be shy with Vertonghen and Alderweireld in the back either. If things are not going well, I could see Jose making a classic first-half change, and then depending on which player is removed, we might not see them again for Tottenham, as Dier and/or Sanchez join in. Harry Winks, who takes the seat for Lo Celso is also on the bench along with Davies, Ndombele, Gedson, and Gazzaniga.
Spurs Squad for Sheffield
Aurier – Alderweireld – Vertonghen – Sessegnon
Moura – Sissoko – Lo Celso – Son
Kane – Dele
Substitutes: Gazzaniga, Davies, Sanchez, Dier, Winks, Ndombele, Gedson, Lamela, Bergwijn
What do you think Spurs fans?