Who might Tottenham boss Marucio Pochettino pick for the opening game against West Ham in a couple of weeks?
Tottenham are on an impressive run of form heading towards the new Premier League season, with the demolition of an admittedly youthful Celtic team this weekend an indicator that the players Mauricio Pochettino has been working with are very much benefitting from his tactical evolution.
Below we speculate who Pochettino may select for the club's opening match away to West Ham on Saturday 16th, under the premise that those that have performed well should be able to claim starting spots ahead of returning teammates aside from a couple of key areas where clear first choices will come into the side.
GK - Hugo Lloris
Though he is yet to feature in pre season, there are few players as important to Spurs as the French captain, even though the club have signed another top class individual in Michel Vorm.
DR - Kyle Walker
Arguably, Kyle Naughton has been the more impressive right back so far this summer, with Walker still working on his fitness after his pelvic injury. Walker should still get the nod though.
DC - Younes Kaboul
With Dawson's apparent ankle injury, Kaboul is at the moment the only fit, senior defender to have featured in the friendly matches. He has done well too, and could be a big player for Spurs this year if he can stay clear of knocks.
DC - Jan Vertonghen
As mentioned above, if Dawson's injury rules him out for a couple of weeks, there aren't many other options at the centre of defence. With Vlad Chiriches also struggling with a knock it will either be Vertonghen or new signing Eric Dier that features alongside Kaboul, though young academy graduate Milos Veljkovic has also proved himself to be a player of huge potential.
DL - Danny Rose
Though Ben Davies has also had his moments in the friendly games, this contest for the left back spot may be closer than people think, with Rose impressing in the second half of the Celtic game. It could go either way for the starting spot against West Hame, and be dependent on whether Pochettino wants to ease Davies in, but don't be surprised if an eager-to-impress Rose gets the nod against the Hammers.
MC - Etienne Capoue
The former Toulouse star has grown in every pre season friendly he has featured in, and looks dominant and powerful in that defensive midfield spot for Spurs. At the moment, on present form and fitness, he would have to be given the nod over Sandro.
MC - Lewis Holtby
With the central midfield spot the most overloaded position in the squad, Holtby and Capoue could be the two big winners when it comes to having spent more time training with Pochettino, as well as impressing in each of their friendlies. The German has been especially strong, and it would have to take an injury or some superb form from one of the returning World Cup players to see him not given a chance at Upton Park.
MC - Christian Eriksen
The Dane proved against Celtic that he can still be a threat even if he is in a slightly deeper position to where he played last year. Eriksen will be happier to be more central, and if he keeps hitting free kicks like he did against the Scottish champs he will be huge attacking threat for the Lilywhites. May be moved forward to accommodate one of the World Cup players, though they are omitted from this side because they are yet to feature and the Spurs midfield is yet to suffer from their absence.
AMR - Erik Lamela
Tottenham's forward three have shown the skill and versatility of switching with each other throughout their recent games, with Lamela the player seemingly most happy doing so. Dropping deep or out wide, he has proved himself good enough to influence games from a variety of positions on the pitch, and it will be interesting to see how he does in the club's first few Premier League games.
AML - Andros Townsend
This second wide position is also very much up for grabs, not because there is no one good enough but because Townsend, Lennon, and even Harry Kane in a withdrawn attacking role, have all impressed in the last couple of weeks. Townsend showed some good decision making against Celtic, and may just be given the nod if Eriksen does in fact end up playing a little deeper.
CF - Emmanuel Adebayor
In his brief 45 minute stint against Celtic, the Togo star proved that he is the most capable and most dangerous of the Spurs strikers, able to offer various attacking options both on the floor and in the air. He will only get stronger the more he trains, having recovered from a bout of malaria recently, and if he carries last season's form into this next campaign he could net between 20-30 goals for the club.