Experienced XI Projected to Start for Tottenham vs Antwerp

ANTWERPEN, BELGIUM - OCTOBER 29: Tottenham. (Photo by Vincent Van Doornick/Isosport/MB Media/Getty Images)
ANTWERPEN, BELGIUM - OCTOBER 29: Tottenham. (Photo by Vincent Van Doornick/Isosport/MB Media/Getty Images) /
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ANTWERPEN, BELGIUM – OCTOBER 29: Tottenham. (Photo by Vincent Van Doornick/Isosport/MB Media/Getty Images) /

Tottenham Hotspur will stick to the plan of looking to win all the home games in Europe, with a strong team taking on Royal Antwerp in the last match of the group state.

José Mourinho knows just how important beating Royal Antwerp and winning the Group is for Tottenham Hotspur. With three games in the next seven days for Spurs, Mourinho will be looking to both balance his team and win the group.  With rotation and domination in mind, Mourinho sticks with many of the players that have brought success thus far in Europe.

Tottenham Defense and Keeper

The Tottenham Hotspur defense should look awfully familiar as it is the same back four that started the last two Europa League matches as Mourinho and company find a rhythm between competitions, despite some previous set-backs due to injury in the defense.

Ben Davies (LB)

Ben Davies was the captain last week against LASK and may have the armband again this week. Whether or not the veteran Welshman is captain, expect him to line up as the left back and make a real concerted effort to go forward. After a lot of defending the last few weeks, getting some overlapping runs out of Davies for some crosses will be a productive exercise for the back and the team.

Japhet Tanganga (CB)

Japhet Tanganga hardly put a foot out in his first start in months against Ludogorets at home in Spurs 4-0 victory. While Tanganga was not necessarily at fault for any of the three goals last week, it does not feel good to be on the pitch when that happens. Tanganga has shown good awareness and a desire to beat his man to the ball since his return. That needs to continue Thursday evening with Japhet, as Antwerp needs not be given any hope.

Davinson Sanchez (CB)

Davinson Sanchez was excellent for about 75 minutes last week and then things kind of fell apart at the end. Sanchez took a horrible angle and frankly made a horrible decision trying to step and cut a ball instead of safely defending with the lead. Sanchez missed the ball and Eggestein overpowered Hart for the goal. While it is difficult to know how much trust Mourinho has in Sanchez at this point, he really has few other options with Toby just returning from injury. Sanchez needs a strong performance for the team and for himself.

Matt Doherty (RB)

After having a wonderful start to his Spurs career, Matt Doherty has fallen back down to earth of late. What seemed like a battle for the starting right back spot is as much Serge Aurier’s at this point as the left back spot is Sergio Reguilón’s. However, Doherty, like Davies on the left, is a more than adequate second choice right back. On his day he can certainly push Serge for the starting spot and has a bit more calmness and composure to his game. When he is off, well, sometimes it is tough being a defender. Doherty, like the rest of the defense, will be looking to rebound from last week.

Joe Hart (GK)

Joe Hart likely had a rough week and has been dying to get back out on the pitch and make amends for his errors last week. Hart did not let the ball roll through his legs or anything ridiculous, but any keeper worth their salt will tell you they should save any ball they can get their hands – let alone their arms – on. It did not happen last week for Hart, but he gets a chance to rebound and show he should keep getting some spot starts for Spurs behind Hugo Lloris.

Tottenham Midfielders

After Tanguy Ndombele missed the North London Derby causing Giovani Lo Celso to play more than an hour twice in a week, expect some rotation in the midfield. While Ndombele and Lo Celso are on the bench in case of emergency, we see a familiar midfield from years past deployed in the Mourinho style.

Moussa Sissoko (CM)

If Pierre Højbjerg is not on the pitch, it has usually been Moussa Sissoko serving as one of the two deep lying midfielders. In the Mourinho system this position does double duty, working to protect the defense and connect with and contribute to the attack. As a box-to-box midfielder Sissoko fits in the system in many ways. Ideally Sissoko plays a half or no more than an hour and concedes to Harvey White, with Højbjerg given the night off with Palace and Liverpool on the horizon.

Harry Winks (CM)

Harry Winks was good the last time we saw him, although he failed to take credit for his goal against Ludogorets. In Tottenham’s last two matches, in Europe and the Premier League, Harry has been an unused substitute. Expect Winks to start and have a strong, active performance. While speculation has begun about Winks’ future, expect the young man to fight for his place by performing on the pitch. On his day Winks can add a range of passing and connectivity few other Spurs can, those days just do not come consistently enough. Consistency is what Winks needs and Thursday is his next chance to show he can be consistent performer.

Dele Alli (CAM)

Having Dele Alli in our projected XI is maybe more wishful than it is realistic for Tottenham, although we continue to believe he has a role to play this season. After missing the Derby, Ndombele could get some time. Given the rotation, it is supposed to be Lo Celso’s turn, so maybe he goes. Heck, for the effort given the last few weeks defensively alone, maybe Steven Bergwijn deserves a runout in the #10 hole. However, with the upcoming Cup games and  the need for cover in mind, Dele Alli gets one last chance to show he gets it. While Dele came in and scored last week, his overall effort and attitude are not where the coach wants them and frankly that is all that matters. We all hope Dele gets it figured out soon as the chances are running out at N17 for him.