Jose Mourinho will need to get his tactics spot on if he’s to put a stop to Tottenham Hotspur’s abysmal week as they head to Aston Villa in the Premier League this evening.
After being defeated in the North London derby, Spurs were embarrassingly knocked out of the Europa League by Dinamo Zagreb despite going into the second leg with a two-goal advantage.
Aside from the Carabao Cup final, Mourinho’s side only have European places to contend for, so a victory tonight would not only alleviate some pressure but also keep the side below them further adrift.
Mourinho has plenty to consider, with injuries and suspensions throwing in a few unneeded curveballs, so here’s our predicted Spurs XI ahead of kickoff tonight…
We’re expecting there to be as many as six changes from the side that tasted defeat in the Croatian capital on Thursday.
Club captain Hugo Lloris launched a scathing attack on his teammates for their performance in midweek, dubbing them a “disgrace,” and he’ll need to motivate his side from between the sticks once more.
Only Serge Aurier and Davinson Sanchez should remain in the back four, with veteran Toby Aldwereireld and Sergio Reguilon likely to come in for Eric Dier and Ben Davies, who both endured shockers in the Europa League.
Mourinho will be able to welcome back Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in midfield having missed the Zagreb trip through suspension, and that’ll be a big boost as he’s widely regarded as a ‘captain without the armband.’
He will slot back in alongside Tanguy Ndombele, meaning both out-of-sorts Englishman Harry Winks and the £90k-per-week earning Moussa Sissoko are axed from the lineup.
Whilst Giovani Lo Celso got through his cameo on Thursday unscathed and could be in line to start for the first time in 2021.
The Argentine playmaker should get the nod over Dele Alli.
There’s also a big call to make over Gareth Bale, especially with Heung-min Son still ruled out through injury.
After failing to impress in the North London derby – being withdrawn after just 57 minutes – he was dropped in midweek but in an hour’s worth of action from the bench, the Welshman couldn’t inspire Spurs to a positive result.
We think he could be snubbed from the starting XI here as a consequence, so Steven Bergwijn comes in for his first league start since the defeat to Chelsea at the start of February.
Lucas Moura could remain in the lineup but is expected to move out wide, having played in the no.10 role for several weeks now. Erik Lamela, however, is serving a one-game suspension.
Likewise, Harry Kane is going to start, too.