Tottenham expected 4-2-3-1 v Gent: 21-year-old axed in three changes
By Matt Farr
Mauricio Pochettino is expected to make three changes to his side to face KAA Gent in their upcoming Europa League clash on Thursday.
Senior trio Hugo Lloris, Kyle Walker and Moussa Dembele are all likely to return to the starting XI following their absence from the FA Cup win over Fulham on Sunday.
Michel Vorm, Kieran Trippier and Harry Winks, meanwhile, are set to make way to accommodate Pochettino’s three changes.
Eight players are therefore expected to retain their places in the side, including Ben Davies, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen, Victor Wanyama, Son Heung-Min, Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Harry Kane.
Experienced stopper Lloris is a certain change to be made by Pochettino, who will want to name the strongest side possible to overturn their first-leg deficit.
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The Frenchman’s deputy, Vorm, was handed the goalkeeper’s jersey for their FA Cup clash last time out, but with normal business resuming, Lloris is expected to come back in.
There will be similar reasoning behind Pochettino’s likely decision to recall full-back Walker in place of Trippier. Walker’s pace and power gives Tottenham an extra attacking threat on the overlap, and has proven to be a handy addition to the final third with six assists this season.
The centre-back pairing of Vertonghen and Alderweireld is by far Tottenham’s strongest, and therefore will not be tampered with for the upcoming tie.
Davies is also expected to continue in the absence of the injured Danny Rose.
A clean sheet is vital as Spurs didn’t score an away goal in Belgium.
Wanyama and Dembele, a midfield partnership that has brought tremendous success for Pochettino this term, is likely to be reinstated.
21-year-old Winks will be the one to make way for Dembele, despite his impressive performances of late. However, the youngster can have an important role to play off the bench.
Tottenham simply need to score goals if they are to progress to the Europa League quarter-finals, and they are already one goal down. Therefore, the Spurs chief is expected to put all his cards on the table and deploy an attacking quartet of Son, Eriksen, Alli and Kane.
Kane and Eriksen both head into the tie on the back of superb displays against Fulham, and will shoulder the hopes and expectations of the Spurs support.
That will likely see the likes of fringe duo Moussa Sissoko and Georges-Kevin N’Koudou restricted to substitute roles.
In other Tottenham team news, Rio Ferdinand has highlighted a major problem at Tottenham, and insists they must find a solution fast.