Tottenham Hotspur are in THE LAND OF FIRE preparing to take on the Horsemen of Qarabag FK in a Thanksgiving Day Europa League match tomorrow. Win this match, and they automatically progress to the knock-out stages of the Europa League. Howeer, the timing couldn't be worse, what with a critical league match at home to Chelsea this Sunday. We've gotten dribs and drabs of information from the club about the squad that has flown to Baku, and usually we have to kind of sleuth together a full picture of who Spurs brought.
Thankfully, today Spurs did us a solid and tweeted a full team photo.
Squad listing (confirmed from team photo)
GK: Hugo Lloris, Michel Vorm, Luke McGee
Defenders: Ben Davies, Kieran Trippier, Toby Alderweireld, Kevin Wimmer, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Jan Vertonghen
Midfielders: Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Harry Winks, Josh Onomah, Son Heung-Min, Shayon Harrison, Clinton N'Jie, Ryan Mason, Christian Eriksen, Tom Carroll, Andros Townsend
Strikers: Harry Kane
That's 20 players. Luke McGee isn't in the photo, but he was mentioned by the club in its official team news release. We already know that Mousa Dembele, Danny Rose, and Kyle Walker were left home, and Erik Lamela, Nacer Chadli, Nabil Bentaleb, and Alex Pritchard are out with injury. Federico Fazio has apparently been abducted by Chirpy.
So that's our squad. But who will start the match?
Qarabag isn't a crap team at home. Thus far they've drawn with Monaco and beaten Anderlecht at home in Group J, which means they're not a team to overlook. However, Chelsea looms for Sunday's early match, so I think it's safe to assume that we'll see some rotation.
Harry Kane is in the squad, but he probably won't get the start, though he could be a late-game sub if things aren't going according to plan, and Son Heung-Min is the most likely candidate to start in his place. Hugo Lloris is probably going to start in goal, because he's Hugo Lloris and you don't bring him to Azerbaijan if you're not going to play him. The back four more or less picks itself: Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies will be our starting fullbacks by default, and I would guess we'll see a defense of Kevin Wimmer beside a starting CB, probably Toby Alderweireld.
Things get more interesting in the midfield. Eric Dier is, I suspect, a lock, and his most likely partner is Ryan Mason, who has filled in as a league substitute the past couple of weeks. Dele Alli can't play against Chelsea, so he's likewise almost a lock to start against Qarabag, probably in the #10. Other than that, it's pick-em: it wouldn't shock me to see any one of Christian Eriksen, Clinton N'Jie, Tom Carroll, Andros Townsend, and even Josh Onomah get the nod tomorrow.
Mauricio Pochettino never punts on Europa, so it's logical that we'll see a mix of first teamers and reserve players. The inclusion of youth team players Cameron Carter-Vickers and Shayon Harrison make Tottenham fans' hearts go all a-flutter, but my guess is that neither of them make the bench for this game and are there as emergency fill-ins in case someone picks up a knock in training.
So, sound off, Carty Free: Think this is the lineup we'll see tomorrow? Whom would you rather see in the starting 11 against Qarabag?