Spurs return to White Hart Lane this weekend after last Sunday’s snooze fest at Turf Moor. However, they won’t be the only ones making a return, as Tim Sherwood will be returning to the dugout on Saturday, admittedly in the opposition dug out. The former lilywhite midfielder endured an interesting reign to say the least at Tottenham last season, his 59% win ratio something that everyone is now fully aware off. However, with that win ratio came rumours of dressing room bust ups, cringe worthy press conferences and a massive loss of identify for the club. This season , we appear to be getting that identity back.
Villa arrive at White Hart Lane in a very similar shape to Sherwood’s Spurs team last season in terms of strengths and weaknesses. Pacey and dangerous in attack, but suspect defensively, and to be fair it’s been a similar story for Spurs this season. It promises to be an open game. Villa are desperate for points, while Spurs are all but out of the top four race after last weekend. However, as we know, things can change very quickly in football and Pochettino won’t want his team letting up at this stage, he will want a fight to the finish. It should be an enthralling contest, with Sherwood desperate to get one over on the home team.
Hugo Lloris and Kyle Walker are out, whilst Jan Vertonghen is a doubt with illness
Predicted Line-Up (4-2-3-1):
Goalkeeper- Michel Vorm
Vorm- The former Swansea man kept our first clean sheet in two months last time out, one of the few positives to take from Turf Moor. Another one against Villa and he will be making his case to Mauricio Pochettino about how good a back up keeper he is (its unfortunate for him who is in front of him in Hugo Lloris)
Defenders- Vlad Chiriches, Eric Dier, Federico Fazio, Danny Rose
Chiriches- Despite the clamour for Deandre Yedlin to start this game, I still feel Poch will go with Chiriches, who was decent enough last week after a position change. If he is to have a Spurs future, he needs to take the chances he gets.
Dier- He was solid and composed last weekend and looks to have the ability to develop into a truly classy centre back. Will be hoping to keep a dangerous Villa attack quiet
Fazio- I feel Fazio will be brought in to try and cope with the strong and powerful Benteke, who (much like Adebayor last season) has been rejuvenated under Sherwood. He’s been out of the team for a while, and it will certainly be a tricky test for him on his return if he does get the nod.
Rose- One of the first names on the teamsheet, another solid performance last weekend. Consistency is key, and at the moment, he is showing it.
Midfield- Nabil Bentaleb, Ryan Mason
Bentaleb- Will be looking to get back to his best on Saturday, his position certainly doesn’t seem under threat at current
Mason- Made a few mistakes in the Burnley game and like Bentaleb will be looking to get back to form after a stagnant performance last weekend
Attackers- Erik Lamela, Christian Eriksen, Nacer Chadli
Lamela- Looked much sharper than Chadli when he came on last time out and in an open game like this he can be dangerous on the counter. He’s taken some justified and unjustified criticism this season but I feel this a chance for him to shine again.
Eriksen- A massively quiet last month or so for the Dane, could use a performance boost, but if the game is as open as it promises to be, his passing and vision could be the key to winning the game.
Chadli- It’s been a testing time for Chadli post Christmas, unfortunate events in his personal life have clearly caused his performances to suffer. But once again this is the sort of game where he will find space to get back to his best, and on the left, there really isn’t many other natural options.
Forwards- Harry Kane
Kane- Couldn’t get in the team at the start of the season, now, he’s team captain (in the absence of Hugo Lloris at least) his rise continues and he will be licking his lips at coming up against an attack which doesn’t seem equipped to contain players of his form and confidence.