With opportunities dwindling for Antonio Conte to rotate his squad, the Italian has seven new faces in the Tottenham Hotspur lineup for Preston North End in the FA Cup.
Only five days after beating Fulham in the Premier League and facing a midtable Championship team, Conte and Spurs have rotated heavily in the starting XI. Keeping only two players in the same positions and having seven new faces for Preston North End, Tottenham should be fresh and ready for the fourth-round tie.
With Rodrigo Bentancur and Dejan Kulusevski back from injuries at the turn of the year, they keep their places in the starting 11, in the midfield and right forward, respectively. While Heung-min Son and Ivan Perisic are also starting again, both are in new positions. Son is filling in as the central striker in Conte’s 3-4-3 formation, and Perisic is moving up the left flank from wing-back to left forward, replacing Sonny.
Tottenham trying again on defense
Although Spurs did get a much-needed shutout again Fulham, the team is sporting an entirely new backline. Fraser Forster is stepping in for Hugo Lloris in goal, and all three defenders are new, with Japhet Tanganga, Davinson Sanchez, and Clement Lenglet playing center-back from right to left. Sanchez is also wearing the armband for Spurs, with Harry Kane starting from the bench.
All three defenders have something to prove. Lenglet made a terrible error against City, handing them the fourth and final goal of the game, ending Spurs’ hopes of a comeback. Lenglet then remained on the bench for the entirety of the Fulham match, making today his chance to make amends.
Sanchez is making only his second appearance this month, having played 90 minutes in the last FA Cup game. Given Eric Dier’s play of late, Sanchez should use this as an opportunity.
Speaking of opportunity, for Japhet Tanganga, who is reportedly being sought by several teams, this is one more chance to put some good football on tape and get himself some consistent minutes somewhere to develop.
Matt, Doherty, Yves Bissouma, and Ryan Sessegnon join Bentancur in the midfield, rounding out Spurs’ 11. With a bench that includes Kane, Bryan Gil, and new addition Aranaut Dranjuma, there is plenty of firepower on the Tottenham bench; let’s hope they don’t need it.