Tottenham Hotspur boss Andre Villas-Boas will be looking for a big reaction from his team following defeat to West Ham and the international break.
Tottenham’s game against Aston Villa this Sunday is important for a variety of reasons.
Spurs currently find themselves joint sixth in the Premier League table on a par with Manchester City and three points in this game will allow the side to go back into the top four if other results go their way.
Tottenham have the benefit of some extra rest following the international break, which AVB is likely to use to stress the importance of the side bouncing back quickly and efficiently following that shock home defeat to the Hammers.
Here’s the side AVB could go with for this match.
GK – Hugo Lloris
Lloris had a much better international break than last time round when he made key mistakes. He’ll be confident and that should ripple through to the defence in front of him. Lloris allows Spurs to play a higher line because he’s such a proactive goalkeeper.
RB – Kyle Walker
Walker should be determined to put in a good performance after he missed out on the chance to play in the game which secured England automatic qualification to the World Cup next summer. Expect to see him playing his usual role in the back four and going forward to create width.
CB – Michael Dawson
Dawson has a point to prove because he wasn’t even included in the last England squad. If he wants any chance of making that World Cup squad he needs to be dominant for the rest of the season and it starts with this game.
CB – Jan Vertonghen
Tottenham’s Belgian defender will take his usual place on the left hand side of the defence. He’ll be as shocked as anyone else by that defeat to West Ham and the international break would have done him some good, giving him the chance to go away and come back to the club with extra focus.
LB – Kyle Naughton
With Danny Rose no closer to a return following an ankle problem, Naughton is the best option Spurs have at left-back. He needs to be solid in defence but also needs to get forward and help on the left hand side because Tottenham were very narrow against the Hammers.
RM – Andros Townsend
There would be uproar if AVB decided anyone other than Townsend should be playing on the right. He looks like he’s going to blossom into a superb player and looked a real threat for England throughout the matches against Montenegro and Poland.
DM – Paulinho
Paulinho needs to sit and protect the back four, mopping up and winning the second balls. He was overpowered at times against West Ham but he’s got good timing, puts in good tackles and should have enough to cope with the pace of Aston Villa’s attacking play.
CM – Moussa Dembele
AVB’s heart would have been in his mouth when Dembele went down injured while away with Belgium. However, he responded well to immediate treatment and seems to have shaken off the slight ankle problem which will allow him to line up in the centre of midfield.
AM – Christian Eriksen
Eriksen was at his dynamic best with Denmark helping them secure a World Cup play-off place. He’ll line up in behind the main striker and will be the primary attacking force for Tottenham in this game.
LM – Gylfi Sigurdsson
Sigurdsson will be frustrated with the way he played against West Ham, likely to be itching for a chance to put things right on the left of the side. He has to stay wide at times and exploit the space out on the wing but that doesn’t mean he should ignore chances to come inside and play through the middle.
ST – Roberto Soldado
Soldado wasn’t able to change things in the last quarter of an hour against West Ham but he should get a chance as Jermain Defoe disappointed in with his start. Soldado just has to ensure that he gets into good positions, providing an outlet to the midfielders, looking for any chance to slot the ball home.
What do you think? Should Defoe start? Should AVB ring the changes?
image: © Victor Gutierrez Navarro