How Will Tottenham Hotspur Line Up Against Swansea City?
The Europa League has never done anyone any favours in terms of its Thursday night billing.
While Tottenham and Swansea both scored five in the competition this week, fatigue could play a major part on Sunday.
At Spurs, Thursday’s trip to Dinamo Tbilisi saw André Villas-Boas make four changes to the side that dug out a 1-0 opening day win at Crystal Palace and he’s expected to tinker once more this weekend.
So, as White Hart Lane gears itself up to host its first home game of the new Premier League campaign, we look at Tottenham’s likely starting XI to face Michael Laudrup’s side.
Goalkeeper: Hugo Lloris
Now fully established as Tottenham’s first-choice stopper, Hugo Lloris has a big part to play this season and is expected to continue between the posts on Sunday.
Yet to concede a goal this campaign following clean sheets against Crystal Palace and Dinamo Tbilisi, the Frenchman has found his feet in the English game and will figure heavily this term.
Full-Backs: Kyle Walker and Danny Rose
After sitting out the win over Dinamo Tbilisi on Thursday, Kyle Walker is expected to slot straight back into André Villas-Boas’ starting XI against Swansea at right-back.
On the other flank, Danny Rose will continue at left-back after impressing his manager and the club’s supporters since his return from a loan spell at Sunderland last season.
Centre-Backs: Michael Dawson and Jan Vertonghen
André Villas-Boas has experimented at the back in the first two games of the new campaign, pairing Jan Vertonghen with Michael Dawson at Crystal Palace before giving Younes Kaboul a run out in the Europa League.
Against Swansea City, the boss is expected to revert back to the pairing that kept Palace at bay at Selhurst Park, though Kaboul could replace Dawson at some point to give the Spurs captain a breather.
Central Midfielders: Paulinho and Etienne Capoue
After a solid start to his Tottenham career, Brazilian Paulinho is expected to keep his place in the middle on Sunday, despite playing against Dinamo Tbilisi in midweek.
Alongside him, Villas-Boas could well be tempted to select Etienne Capoue, who was included in the starting XI in Georgia and caught the eye on his debut as a substitute against Crystal Palace, where he replaced Mousa Dembele.
Attacking Midfielder: Gylfi Sigurdsson
Ahead of Paulinho and Etienne Capoue in the middle, Gylfi Sigurdsson is almost certain to start against Swansea, despite his involvement in the Europa League.
The Icelandic international was substituted after an hour in Tbilisi with Sunday’s clash against Swansea in mind and should be fully fit to provide a creative spark in midfield.
Wide Forwards: Aaron Lennon and Nacer Chadli
After playing no part in Tottenham’s Europa League match on Thursday, Aaron Lennon will walk straight back into the starting XI to provide pace and width down the right.
On the other flank, with speculation surrounding Gareth Bale set to reach a crescendo, Nacer Chadli could be handed the chance to prove himself following a successful debut at Crystal Palace.
Centre-Forward: Roberto Soldado
A starter in both of Tottenham’s games so far this season, record signing Roberto Soldado has already began to justify his hefty price tag, netting the winner against Crystal Palace before his brace against Dinamo Tbilisi.
The Spaniard had no qualms about taking the No. 9 shirt and his performances so far have underlined why.
A big threat and a sure starter against Swansea on Sunday.