Who will start for Tottenham versus Newcastle?
Tottenham Hotspur end one busy week by beginning another as Newcastle come to London. Jose Mourinho must balance his squad for the week ahead.
Tottenham got a reprieve this past week when their game against Leyton Orient was postponed and eventually forfeited due to COVID-19 infections within the League Two side. Instead of playing four games over the space of eight days, with Newcastle on Sunday it will mark the third game in eight days, but also the start of the first of four games, again in eight days.
Between now and next Monday, Spurs will have played Newcastle in the Premier League, Chelsea in the Carabao Cup, Maccabi Haifa in the Europa League, and then close out the week with a trip to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United. With survival on the line in two competitions and a not-quite-yet complete squad, Jose Mourinho will have to be smart with his players and will be all the while preparing to win on three fronts.
That three-front battle begins with Newcastle at home on Sunday. This is the most likely lineup from Jose to take on Steve Bruce and the Magpies:
Goalkeepers and defenders
Hugo Lloris (GK) – After a night off in the middle of the week for Europa League, the team skipper gets the armband back and dons the gloves in goal for Spurs. With the slate of games coming, it would not be surprising to see Hugo sit another time this week, but Thursday in Europa League seems the most likely of those times, not the third week of the league season.
Serge Aurier (RB) – The Ivory Coast International seemed a forgotten man with new signing Matt Doherty eating up all the playing time prior to this past week in Macedonia. If the idea were to provide some competition to get the best out of Serge, well that seems to be working. Aurier was excellent on Thursday on the continent, playing several great crosses, ultimately just being unlucky not to score. A rotation is going to start here at some point but given Serge’s display midweek, another opportunity is quite deserving.
Davinson Sanchez (CB) – Sanchez is slowly becoming Spurs’ top center-half. While not the ball passer or heady player Eric Dier is, nor the ball striker that Toby Alderweireld is, Sanchez possesses a level of athleticism neither Dier nor Alderweireld have, which makes him integral to the backline. Although only effective on the right side, Sanchez’ pace and size makes him the one player that will be consistently starting in the back.
Eric Dier (CB) – Dier started last weekend against Southampton and starts again this weekend with Newcastle coming to town. Sanchez and Alderweireld were a solid duo midweek, but with an eye on Chelsea, Toby gets a rest here and Dier is back in action partnering with Sanchez.
Ryan Sessegnon (LB) – Sergio Reguilon is still not yet available and up to this point Ben Davies has played every minute of every Spurs match at left-back, so maybe this is more hope than a projection, but before Reguilon comes in, it would be nice to see Sessegnon play. With the busy week coming, a little rest for Davies is important and Sessegnon needs to get some minutes in him at some point.
Harry Winks (CM) – Winks played an hour midweek, but there is word out that midfielder Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg picked up a knock last weekend and is not available. With Hojbjerg potentially in need of more rest before a big week, Winks again gets the call to help sit in front of the backline.
Moussa Sissoko (CM) – With Hojbjerg potentially out and Mourinho preferring to play with two holding midfielders, it would make sense to see Sissoko here. Sissoko last played a week-and-a-half ago in Bulgaria and should be able to provide some good minutes against one of his old clubs.
Giovani Lo Celso (CAM) – While the play of Tanguy Ndombele midweek would lead some to put him out again, having gone for 90 minutes for the first time in a quite a while and with Chelsea on Tuesday, Ndombele starts on the bench and Lo Celso is brought up to add some flair to the attack. Lo Celso played about 30 minutes and is likely to see an hour Sunday to be withdrawn for Ndombele, so they are both fresh for next week.
Son Heung-Min (LW) – It feels weird to say this about a player that has scored five goals and assisted two more in the last two matches, but Son really is not quite playing at his top level yet this season. The South Korean’s dribbling and touch have not quite been to his standard and when he does finally hit form, the opposition should be scared. He was a bit fortunate for his assist to Erik Lamela in the first half, but his second half assist to Kane was pinpoint perfect, as Son helped Spurs beat Shkendija.
Harry Kane (ST) – Speaking of hitting form, Kane nailed one goal midweek but missed another with his head, likely leaving the striker eager to get another shot at the net. Kane’s passing last week was incredible so expect Newcastle to not allow the same kind of freedom to the striker in the middle of the park. It will be interesting to see how Kane, Mourinho, and company counter the additional all-field pressure Kane is likely to face.
Lucas Moura (RW) – After Steven Bergwijn started midweek for Tottenham, expect Mourinho-favorite Moura to start this match. Like Kane and Lo Celso, Moura was a late substitute midweek in the Europa League. Moura came on the pitch and within 10 seconds made his first foul as he tried to tackle the ball from a Spark defender. More importantly, Moura is the player Lo Celso found back door to take the shot that led to the rebound for Spurs’ second goal on the night. Moura is continuing to evolve under Mourinho, and the coach will continue to let him.
Tottenham Hotspur again have a strong bench, but not quite as strong as it will be in a couple of weeks as the window closes, and everyone regains their health and fitness.
Joe Hart again backs up Lloris and is joined on the bench by midweek starters Ndombele, Alderweireld, Bergwijn, Davies, and Lamela. The bench will be rounded out by Doherty, who like Ndombele, Davies, and Toby, is being held in reserve for Tuesday.