How will Tottenham Hotspur line up this season?


Azad Baboof

As the new English Premier League season kicked off on Saturday (September 12), Mathrubhumi.com takes a look at how Tottenham Hotspur would line up. What changes have been made and where they need to improve.

Tottenham Hotspur players during a training session | Photo: Twitter @SpursOfficial

Tottenham Hotspur has been a different team under Jose Mourinho. The ‘Special One’ may not be as special as he once used to be. However, the 2020-21 season could be a turning point for both the club and the manager.

Spurs desperately need a trophy and so does Mourinho. That’s exactly what they will try to win this season. Spurs do not have the team to challenge for the title but they will be looking to ensure European Football next season. Despite finishing sixth last season, Tottenham will enter Europa League in the second qualifying round because their arch rivals Arsenal won the FA Cup.

Mourinho has lined up Spurs in a 4-2-3-1 formation that switches to 3-2-4-1 in attack. He is likely to keep the system unchanged considering the acquisitions of Matt Doherty from Wolverhampton Wanderers and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg from Southampton.

Selling the relatively inexperienced Kyle Walker-Peters was a good bit of business. However, Bringing in Joe Heart on a free transfer leaves Paulo Gazzaniga’s future in question as they will compete for minutes as the second choice keeper.

Possible first 11

Formation: 4-2-3-1

Goalkeeper:

  • Hugo Lloris
Defenders:

  • Matt Doherty
  • Toby Alderweireld
  • Davinson Sanchez
  • Ben Davies
Midfielders

  • Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg
  • Tanguy Ndombele
  • Lucas Moura
  • Dele Alli
  • Heung-Min Son
Forward:

  • Harry Kane
With Spurs, Mourinho lets the right back move extremely high, often operating as a right winger. Serge Aurier has been very good in the role but Matt Doherty is a step up. Doherty can also move infield and into the penalty box to be an added aerial presence leaving Lucas Moura on the wing. Aurier will have to be content with the bench.

Alderweireld and Sanchez will be the centre back pairing although Eric Dier could develop a good pairing along with Alderweireld. Juan Foyth, Japhet Tanganga and Cameron Carter-Vickers will provide competition.

Ben Davies will be the first choice left back. Danny Rose is much better attacking than defending. It might be surprising to see Mourinho fielding Spurs with a defensive minded right back to let Rose flourish on the left. But it could happen against weaker teams, especially with Spurs looking for a decent show in the Europa League.

Hojbjerg will be the undisputed first choice in the double pivot. Ndombele will need to step up his game to be on the team as both Harry Winks and Moussa Sisskoko will equally be eager to start. It seems like Mourinho does not trust Ndombele quite yet. Eric Dier’s versatility will be useful at both centre back and defensive midfield positions.

The attacking options are more or less straightforward with Alli in the middle flanked by Moura on the right and Son on the left. Harry Kane will lead the line as always.

Giovani Lo Celso will compete for minutes as the central attacking midfielder or even as a more creative central midfielder. Erik Lamela, Steven Bergwijn and Ryan Sessegnon will compete to play in the wide areas.

Spurs must reduce the goal scoring burden on Kane’s shoulders by signing a quality back up striker. What they need is a classic number 9 who can hold the ball up, link play and finish well. It may not be easy to find one who would be content with the bench.

Tottenham also needs to find ways to grind results out even when they are not playing well. Unless they do that, silverware will continue to be elusive. The last trophy Spurs won was the League Cup in 2008. They cannot let opportunities pass by for yet another season.

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