Who's ready for a 10-hour midweek trip to a former Soviet republic? The Europa League match that all Spurs fans have been dreading has finally arrived, and Spurs are now on their way to their away tie with Azerbaijani club Qarabag FK. Through their official site and social media, Spurs have released some nuggets of information about the squad currently winging their way to Baku.
It appears that, with a crucial home tie against Chelsea looming this Sunday, Pochettino is planning to rotate the squad and rest some of his key players. The club announced on its website that Mousa Dembele, Kyle Walker, and Danny Rose have all been left home, ostensibly to make sure they are fresh for the Chelsea match.
In addition, Nabil Bentaleb, Nacer Chadli, Alex Pritchard, and Erik Lamela were all listed as out with injuries:
"Nabil is still out, he got a bad tackle during international duty with Algeria and he is out now," confirmed Head Coach Mauricio this morning (Wednesday, November 25). "Alex Pritchard, Nacer Chadli and Erik Lamela are also out and we have rested a few players for this game as well.
It has been a very busy period and we need all the squad ready to compete in good condition. We need to assess all of the players after every game and make sure we make the best decisions to compete with all of the players in the best condition."
The news about Bentaleb and Lamela is particularly galling considering both of them picked up injuries while on international duty last week. Bentaleb was only starting to come back to fitness after missing 11 matches, while Lamela was in some of the best form of his Spurs career. However, Bentaleb and Lamela's knocks may be minor and this is just Poche being extra cautious with his players, as he is known for doing.
Meanwhile, if you like youth players getting a shot with the first team, you'll love this Qarabag traveling squad. Spurs announced that 17-year old English-American defender Cameron Carter-Vickers and 18-year old winger Shayon Harrison have both made the plane to Baku along with goalkeeper Luke McGee, Josh Onomah, and Harry Winks.
What does all this mean for Spurs' starting lineup? We'll address that in another post.