Spurs will face CSKA Moscow at 2:45pm eastern time today in a match that might not be a must-win, but certainly feels like one. After flopping so hard in the opener against Monaco, we really need to take some points off what figures to be the weakest club in the group.
Who will Spurs start?
There are three factors that complicate this question:
- Four normal starters, Danny Rose, Mousa Dembele, Eric Dier, and Harry Kane, did not even make the trip to Moscow. Squad player Moussa Sissoko also stayed in London.
- Spurs have a massive fixture coming up on Sunday against Manchester City.
- Spurs will have played three games in seven days by the time this one is over.
Therefore, expect to see some rotation here and maybe even a start for Harry Winks or Josh Onomah. My gut is expecting something like this:
Lloris, Walker, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Davies, Wanyama, Dele, Lamela, Eriksen, Son, Janssen
If Mauricio Pochettino has a flaw, it’s often that he sticks with things that don’t work for longer than he should. That’s why I worry we’ll see Dele in the pivot today. That said, if Winks started alongside Wanyama or Onomah started in place of Son, I wouldn’t be shocked.
For what it’s worth, my preferred XI would be what’s listed above, but with Winks in for Dele. I like the blend we get around Vincent Janssen with a trio of Lamela, Eriksen, and Son and I like having Dele as an option as an impact sub late in the game.
The two keys to the game will be, first, that Spurs not get too open going forward such that they are beaten badly if the first line of the press fails. This happened twice against Monaco and they made us pay. Second, we need to be able to exert more control over the game in midfield and the attacking third via sustained possession. This is why I want Winks starting instead of Dele. If we can grind CSKA down over 90 minutes with long periods of sustained pressure, the superior quality of our attackers should be enough to secure the win.
On to the links:
Las Palmas is Spain’s new Fun Team You Probably Haven’t Heard Of. (Two seasons ago it was Rayo, last season it was Celta.)
Meet Adam Lallana, box-to-box midfielder.