Tottenham Hotspur travel to Bulgaria to face Locomotiv Plovdiv in the second round of qualifying for the Europa League this season, so who will Jose Mourinho select?
Tottenham Hotspur play a vital match in the quest for both silverware and a meaningful campaign as they travel to Bulgaria to face Locomotiv Plovdiv in the second round of Europa League qualifying. With a nearly full squad available to him, who will Jose Mourinho select and how will the team line up for this winner-advances, loser-goes-home match?
There is good news on the injury front as Giovani Lo Celso, who as a revelation following the restart for Spurs, is back in contention.
According to Tottenham Hotspur’s website and Jose Mourinho himself, the only real player that was definitely NOT available is Japhet Tanganga, who apparently has a nagging injury that will keep him out a couple weeks. With essentially a full squad available to him and the importance of advancing to the main competition, expect to see a strong team fielded by Mourinho and company.
Goalkeeper – Hugo Lloris
Regardless of the competition, the magnitude of this game is such that the club captain and World Cup winner is the only choice between the sticks. Given the rough environment and need for leadership on the road, this is the obvious call. The hope would be Hugo does not have a lot to do, but if called upon, you want your best man there and that is Hugo Lloris.
Left Back – Ryan Sessegnon
We have been hearing rumors about the potential of a new left back coming into the squad but for this match, there is already a young left-sided player ready for the challenge in the squad in Ryan Sessegnon. I think Ben Davies is going to be given some opportunity to rest having played on the weekend. Additionally, Davies was not particularly good Saturday versus Everton and adding some speed to the backline is definitely helpful, so Sessegnon gets the call here.
Center-Half – Toby Alderweireld
Although Toby Alderweireld is the oldest of the center-halves in the squad and played on the weekend, he again gets the nod here, mostly because he is the team’s best left-sided center-half. While Eric Dier was provided to the media, I think he gets saved and the experience and leadership of Toby is the call.
Center-Half – Davinson Sanchez
The reason Toby is playing on the left is his partner is going to be Davinson Sanchez, who is solid on the right side of the center-half duo, but a bit suspect when played on the left. Sanchez sat out this past weekend at Everton and provides some additional muscle, pace, and power, that frankly no one else in the defense can.
Right Back – Matt Doherty
Although Matt Doherty played on the weekend and clearly ran out of gas, he actually gets a go again midweek. Serge Aurier was noted for picking up a minor knock, but that minor knock is likely all that is necessary for Jose not to take the chance on a player he does not trust in such an important fixture, so Doherty again gets the nod.