Tottenham Hotspur vs. QPR: How Spurs Will Line Up in Premier League Game

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Tottenham Hotspur vs. QPR: How Spurs Will Line Up in Premier League Game
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
Mauricio Pochettino could well bring Etienne Capoue back into the fold for Tottenham's game with QPR. Who else will start?

Tottenham Hotspur supporters, and players, will get to know manager Mauricio Pochettino a little better this weekend when they face Queens Park Rangers.

The return to Premier League competition after Thursday's Europa League excursion will see the Tottenham boss provide his first evidence of how he intends to balance his resources.

Julian Finney/Getty Images
Pochettino is getting to know the demands of juggling his resources in a way he did not have to at Southampton.

Pochettino made seven changes from the season-opening defeat of West Ham United for the 2-1 win away at AEL Limassol. First post-World Cup appearances were handed to Paulinho and Jan Vertonghen, and then off the bench, Nacer Chadli and Mousa Dembele. Ben Davies and Roberto Soldado got their first competitive minutes of the season, too.

Kyle Naughton's suspension excludes him, but having also started two games in a row, Nabil Bentaleb, Eric Dier and Hugo Lloris could each be called on for a third, this Sunday afternoon at 1:30 p.m. BST.

The extent to which European football wears on fitness for domestic games is open to interpretation. Spurs' own experience handling Thursday-to-Sunday turnover lends itself to that, with results and performances varying season to season.

Arguing for the Europa League's detrimental effect? Point to derby losses to West Ham and Arsenal last season following games with Anzhi Makhachkala and Benfica.

Petros Karadjias/Associated Press
Spurs will hope their efforts beating Limassol will not adversely affect them versus QPR.

Think it makes no difference? Look at how Spurs recorded good wins over Chelsea and away at Manchester City after playing Club Brugge and Dinamo Bucharest back in the north London club's return to Europe in 2006-07.

With multiple variables coming into the mix on each occasion, there is no exact science to this. The best Pochettino can do selecting his starting XI this week, and down the line, too, if Spurs progress in Europe, is to judge things on a case-by-case basis.

Lloris was kept busy by a commendably ambitious Limassol attack. Less tested by the Cypriot heat than his outfield team-mates, the goalkeeper's presence against QPR is all but a certainty.

Pochettino referred to the conditions in his post-match comments, via TottenhamHotspur.com. The toll it took on some of his players will come into his selection thinking. He may be forced to ignore it in a few cases, however.

Jamie McDonald/Getty Images
Eric Dier may be asked to play at right-back again this weekend.

With Kyle Walker's pelvic problem likely to keep him sidelined, Naughton suspended and Ryan Fredericks' recent lack of first-team involvement telling, Dier will likely be moved to right-back.

Relatively substantial demands are being placed on the 20-year-old in his first proper English season. So far, he has responded positively.

Younes Kaboul will probably return at centre-back. The identity of his partner will give us an even better idea of Pochettino's plans there. too.

Vertonghen took some time to shake off his summer rust against Limassol. He and Paulinho were caught out in the build-up to Adrian Sardinero's opener, but the Belgian gradually found his feet.

Ideally, Pochettino might prefer not to play him so soon again. But if the Argentinian is as down on using Michael Dawson as his non-appearance this season so far suggests, Vertonghen may be back in straight away.

Jan Kruger/Getty Images
Will Danny Rose's comparative freshness count in his favour over Ben Davies at left-back?

The manager's exact thinking over left-back has been difficult to gauge. Both Davies and Danny Rose have both been used in Tottenham's two games thus far. The latter might get the nod for his freshness, but it would not be a surprise if Davies gets another chance as he continues to settle in.

In central midfield, Etienne Capoue should be back after his defensive deputising against West Ham, and rest for Limassol.

Dembele was still working off his post-break cobwebs, but he did look lively after his introduction in Cyprus. Sufficiently so that he may come in for Bentaleb who started the last two but may be rested if Spurs sensibly decide not to over-exert the 19-year-old at this early stage.

Petros Karadjias/Associated Press
Pochettino's decision to introduce Erik Lamela as a substitute paid off against Limasol. Both will be hoping he can have a similar impact from the start on Sunday.

Pochettino was right to be pleased with Erik Lamela's contribution off the bench on Thursday as well. He benefited from Limassol starting to tire after their impressive all-round efforts in the first hour, nonetheless, his assist for Soldado's equaliser was exquisitely weighted. His second less showy but well-chosen all the same.

Lamela will almost certainly be back in the starting line-up for QPR. Along with him in attacking midfield will likely be Christian Eriksen. At home they will hope for a little more freedom to operate against the Hoops than they were granted at West Ham. Either way, both will be continuing the process of trying to establish the understanding that will see them thrive in tandem, not just in occasional individual moments.

Harry Kane was Spurs' standout performer against Limassol. Not always in moments of quality (though they were there, notably his winner), but in the endeavour that was consistent throughout.

Petros Karadjias/Associated Press
Harry Kane continues to impress with his hard-work and improving quality.

Following on from his match-winning assist against the Hammers, too, Kane could be the one to get the nod ahead of others in the attacking midfield/secondary striker role he occupied on Thursday. Emmanuel Adebayor had a quiet game last weekend, but he may be given another chance to prove his effectiveness leading the line. Soldado potentially finding some form should be enough to inject some urgency into Adebayor's game.

Altogether, it is a possible line-up that highlights Tottenham's continued attempts to find solidity at the back. As well as the search for a satisfactory attacking formula that can take the game to the opposition but not leave those further behind exposed.

Things were never going to fall automatically into place for Pochettino as he puts his imprint on Spurs. Game-by-game, he is discovering the challenges the varied circumstances of life at his new club are imposing on this process.

 

Predicted Tottenham line-up vs. QPR: Lloris; Dier, Kaboul (c), Vertonghen, Rose; Capoue, Dembele; Eriksen, Kane, Lamela; Adebayor.

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