Tottenham Hotspur return to Premier League action on Wednesday night with a highly anticipated clash against Manchester United – with it critical that Mauricio Pochettino gets his team selection and formation right.
A 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford last year is still relatively fresh in the memory as it was Spurs’ first loss of the 2017-18 campaign.
On that day Tottenham were missing a few key men, notably Harry Kane, and Pochettino opted to drop Davinson Sanchez to the bench – playing Eric Dier in the centre of a three-man defence in his place.
Looking at the Spurs manager’s options for tonight’s clash, the side that will take to the field at Wembley should be significantly different to the one that played at Old Trafford.
Firstly, Pochettino should stick to a back four and resist the urge to drop Dier into the Tottenham defence.
The England international’s versatility is a critical element to Spurs’ tactical game, but he was at fault for the United goal in the reverse fixture and looked less than comfortable at Old Trafford.
This time round, playing Dier in midfield, alongside Mousa Dembele is Tottenham’s ideal boiler room combination as Victor Wanyama builds his fitness.
Playing a back four will also allow Spurs to field their four main attacking weapons, rather than having to sacrifice Son Heung-min to accommodate a three-man defence.
While United have dangerous players of their own, Tottenham have arguably the most-formidable attacking quartet in the Premier League – and Pochettino should field them all in search of victory.
Predicted Tottenham starting XI vs United (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Davies; Dier, Dembele; Eriksen, Alli, Son; Kane