Tottenham had their way with Southampton on the season’s opening day, leading one to question whether Antonio Conte has any personnel changes in mind for Sunday’s trip to Chelsea.
Spurs started the 2022-23 campaign precisely as they envisioned, cruising to a 4-1 home win against a side that obviously lacks confidence, particularly on their travels. Aside from a momentary lapse in the opening 10 minutes, Spurs played an almost perfect opening match.
Conte will be extremely pleased that nobody picked up an injury in the emphatic victory. Not only that, but Conte has the benefit of adding Richarlison, who returns after a one-match suspension that carried over from last season, to his lineup.
Here’s Tottenham’s projected starting lineup for Sunday’s gargantuan contest against Chelsea.
With Eric Dier, Ben Davies, and Cristian Romero all enjoying sterling outings against the Saints, the back three should remain unchanged. Dier scored a brilliant goal with a deft header, while all three controlled proceedings.
New signing Clement Lenglet is out of contention with a minor muscle injury. There’s almost no chance he’d start even if he was healthy; such is the superb form of Conte’s preferred trio. Nobody needs reminding who suits up in goal.
Oliver Skipp is the only absentee in midfield. The Englishman is still recovering from his latest setback and is expected to be out for a couple more weeks. Yves Bissouma made a cameo against Southampton and is pushing to crack the starting 11. However, at the moment, the midfield belongs to Rodrigo Bentancur and Pierre Hojbjerg.
Even though the Dane endured the worst performance of any Spurs player in the opener, he was by no means inferior. Hojbjerg was marginally the pace but should retain his spot in central midfield.
Ryan Sessegnon and Emerson Royal had accomplished outings in matchweek 1, and both should retain their spots in the starting 11. Ivan Perisic was quality off the bench and has an outstanding delivery. However, he still isn’t quite there physically, and Sessegnon’s performance was so good that there’s no need to rush the waiting Croatian.
The same goes on the right. Matthew Doherty is impatiently waiting in the wings, but Royal was superb, even with his final ball, which was the Brazilian’s glaring weakness last season.
There is no question about who starts up front. Richarlison is available but will have to be satisfied with a spot on the bench. Dejan Kulusevski was Spurs’ best player against Southampton.
Harry Kane and Son Heung-min’s spots are never in question. However, both superstars have another gear to shift into, and it would be nice if they found it against Chelsea, a side Tottenham hasn’t beaten in 11 contests.