Spurs’ predicted line-up for Premier League clash with Chelsea.
GK: Hugo Lloris
The Frenchman was rested for Tuesday night’s League Cup win at Aston Villa but will return to the line-up for Chelsea’s visit. The France captain has conceded just one goal this season and, despite a couple of hairy moments against Cardiff last weekend, is slowly establishing himself as one of the top ‘keepers in the Premier League.
RB: Kyle Walker
The right back was panned for his performance for England against Ukraine earlier this month but Walker is slowly getting back to his best for Tottenham after a disappointing campaign last term. The 23-year-old was embarrassed by Juan Mata in this fixture last season and will be delighted that the Spaniard is likely to again be left out by Blues boss Jose Mourinho. Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne will likely give Walker a tough afternoon, nonetheless.
LB: Danny Rose
Many fans questioned Rose’s quality before the season but after just a handful of appearances, the 23-year-old has already established himself as an important part of Spurs’ back four – mainly because his replacement Kyle Naughton is so woeful. The England under-21 star will face his sternest challenge in a Spurs shirt on Saturday – if he recovers from a foot injury in time to feature.
CB: Jan Vertonghen
The Belgian may have taken to pulling down opponents shorts but Vertonghen remains among the classiest centre halves in world football. The 26-year-old will likely be relieved to be facing Fernando Torres or Demba Ba, rather than international teammate Romelu Lukaku, but he will have to be at his best to stifle Chelsea’s movement and skill.
CB: Michael Dawson
The club captain has started the season in fine form and must be knocking on the door of an England recall ahead of next summer’s World Cup. With Younes Kaboul still struggling with injury, Dawson has made the centre back spot his own but will need to use the ball well against a Chelsea team who will try to deny Spurs control of possession.
The Brazilian is yet to start a league game for Spurs since suffering a serious knee injury last January but after two 90 minute stints in the cups, he may return to the line-up to deal with international teammate Oscar, who will play the no.10 role for the visitors. Sandro was one of Spurs best players last term before his injury and, when fit, he is among the most competitive opponents in the Premier League.
Sandro’s international teammate is starting to find his feet after two goals in his last two appearances. The summer signing from Corinthians has already cemented a first team place at Spurs and is likely to face his idol, Frank Lampard on Saturday. His defensive contribution as well as late runs into the box will be vital, particularly if Villas-Boas opts to play the former Corinthians man in tandem with Sandro and Mousa Dembele.
CM: Mousa Dembele
With added competition from Paulinho, Sandro, Lewis Holtby and Christian Eriksen, Dembele will have to up his game this season if he wants to hold down a place in the Spurs’ line up. But the Belgian is already showing signs that he will not shirk the task and was impressive in Spurs win over Cardiff last weekend. He will have to be at his best on Saturday if Spurs are to win the midfield battle.
AMC: Christian Eriksen
The Dane has made a terrific start to life in England and after just two league appearances, already seems pivotal to Spurs’ chances of major success this season. The 21-year-old is capable of unlocking stubborn defences – something Spurs missed last term – and will likely be tasked with providing some width if Villas-Boas does opt for a tough three man midfield of Sandro, Paulinho and Dembele.
AMC: Andros Townsend
The jury remains out on Andros Townsend: he is shoots too much and runs down blind alleys too often but there’s little doubt that the winger’s pace and directness cause teams problems. In the absence of Aaron Lennon, Townsend will again be tasked with providing an outlet on the flanks for Spurs hoards of central midfielders and he will face a tough afternoon up against the experienced Ashley Cole.
ST: Roberto Soldado
With Jermain Defoe banging in the cup goals, Soldado’s position is under threat but the Spaniard’s all-round game seems better suited to the lone striker role than Defoe’s. Despite not scoring from open play for the club, the 28-year-old is more intelligent with his runs and more willing to drop deep to link with the midfield than Defoe. Soldado will hope for quality service in behind Chelsea’s defence or he may become a peripheral figure as the midfield battle rages.