With a drop in points from Arsenal and Liverpool over the weekend, Spurs could once again climb top of the table with a win over Chelsea, this time with a five point gap between them and the two before-mentioned sides, along with a two point gap over City.
During the past week, there’s been speculation over the left back position and whether to play Johnson or Richarlison at attack. Here are the predictions for who plays in tonight’s match:
Goalkeeper – Guglielmo Vicario
A phenomenal signing to replace Spurs veteran Hugo Lloris, Vicario has been sensational this season nearly handing us a clean sheet for all of October. His stats speak for themselves, as he still has the highest save percentage of any keeper in the league. Venom remains the most underrated shot-stopper in the Prem, and he’ll surely be needed tonight.
Left-back – Emerson Royal
The biggest change for the London Derby will come at left-back. With Ben Davies looking out of commission with an ankle injury and Ange wanting to rest Udogie who picked up a knock last game, the next option for fullback is the Brazilian. He normally plays on the right and is less-known for his defensive prowess, but he’s the next best option for Ange to go with. He’ll be best utilized as an inverted fullback which luckily is a crucial facet of Ange-Ball.
Center-backs – Cristian Romero & Micky van de Ven
One of the best center-back duos in the league this season, these two have been a solid foundation for Tottenham not only to ward off strikers but also to start the buildup play for Ange’s attacking style of football. Assuming they stay healthy, it will come as a major shock to see either of them starting on the bench at any point this year.
Right-back – Pedro Porro
Porro has been another regular in the starting XI all season, and with limited squad depth in the position along with potential injuries for Ben Davies and Destiny Udogie, he’s bound to get the start.
Midfielders – James Maddison, Yves Bissouma, Pape Sarr
These three have meshed together quite nicely as the season has progressed. They’ve all proven their ability to play through the lines and contribute to the attack with speed on and off the ball. Madders of course has been exceptional in all aspects, and Bissouma will be looking to feature more prominently on defense now that he is off his yellow card caution.
Sarr has been perhaps Spurs’ most versatile player all season, covering extensive ground each game and filling in space during the match wherever needed to contribute to the play and get the ball forward. Hojbjerg is another possibility, but it’s more likely he’ll come on as a late sub given Ange’s past usage of the player. Rodrigo Bentancur, who came on towards the end of the Palace clash, is still nowhere near ready for 90 minutes of football, let alone in a London derby.
Right-wing – Dejan Kulusevski
Kulu hasn’t been the most productive in front of goal this season, but he’s certainly contributed in other aspects. The former Juventus player has been phenomenal at Spurs since joining under Antonio Conte, and he’s seemed to take to Ange-Ball quite well making plenty of dangerous carries each game and pressing hard. He’s been the favorite all season and will hopefully continue to improve on his composure in front of net.
Left-wing – Brennan Johnson
While he hasn’t started since the match against Arsenal, Ange may be looking to give him a shot. Richarlison played well against Fulham and admittedly has four goal contributions in the league across 10 games, far better than last season’s performance. Nevertheless, Johnson hasn’t been given a real chance yet due to injury.
Additionally, it’s possible Chelsea will bring Reece James back into the mix for right-back, and if that’s the case Ange is definitely going to want to select Johnson given his superior pace to Richarlison. It’s a tough call, but the Welshman seems the best fit considering the opponent.
Striker – Heung-min Son
Nobody would guess otherwise. Sonny has taken to his new leadership role as captain with such ease. He’s the team’s top scorer with eight goals thus far, and hopefully he’ll bag a few tonight. Tottenham will need him at his best.