As Tottenham’s grudge match against Chelsea inches closer, we thought we would take a look at our predicted starting XI and bench for the encounter.
GK: Hugo Lloris
This one doesn’t need any discussion. Hugo starts every Premier League match as long as he is fit.
RCB: Cristian Romero
Another player who starts every Premier League match for Conte when fit. His aggressive defending and calmness on the ball brings Tottenham’s back three up a level. He possesses exactly the type of competitive mentality that is vital for Spurs against Chelsea.
CCB: Eric Dier
We all saw how badly it went last season when Conte was without Dier in the middle of his back three against Chelsea. The leadership and organization he brings through his communication is vital in Tottenham’s squad.
He’s the anchor of that backline, and without him everything falls apart. Thankfully for Conte, Dier is coming off the back of a positive preseason followed up by an impressive performance where he grabbed a goal in Spurs’ season opener against Southampton.
LCB: Ben Davies
Another rock in the defense that Conte has done so much to improve, Davies simply has to start on Sunday. New signing Clement Lenglet has picked up a small injury which rules him out of Sunday’s clash, leaving Davies as the clear and obvious choice (Football London).
Tottenham will likely be penned into their own half at times against Chelsea, and Davies is just the man for the job. The Welshman is so committed to the cause that he often puts his body on the line, diving in front of shots at goal.
RWB: Emerson Royal
Despite fans’ constant criticism, Emerson performed admirably over the closing weeks of last season, and put in a good performance against Southampton, notching two assists. He doesn’t dazzle in attack but he is certainly improving.
In defence, Emerson is typically more reliable than Matt Doherty. With the Irishman still working his way back into Conte’s starting lineup after only starting one preseason match in his preferred role on the right, I think Royal will get the nod.
CM: Rodrigo Bentancur
Since coming to the club in January, Bentancur has been a mainstay in Spurs’ team, combining his grit in the tackle with his elegance and technique on the ball.
With Bissouma still working his way into Conte’s starting lineup after recovering from a small injury following his move to the club this summer, Bentancur is the obvious choice to start.
CM: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg
The Dane helped Tottenham reach the Champions League last season with his leadership and grit in midfield, clearly earning Conte’s trust. With Skipp still out with a heel injury suffered in training a few weeks ago, Hojbjerg will likely continue his run in the starting lineup (Football London).
LWB: Ryan Sessegnon
Tottenham’s opening match of the season felt like a coming-of-age game for Sessegnon. Last season he showed his defensive prowess, but his attacking game was always lacking since his move to North London.
His time at Fulham in the Championship showed that he had the ability to score goals, but stagnation under a managerial merry-go-round at Spurs seemed to destroy his confidence.
Perisic’s mentorship has already been on display as Sess popped up at the back post to get on the end of a cross to score his first Premier League goal for Spurs.
He also put the ball in the back of the net with a cultured finish only to be ruled offside, but this is exactly what Conte wants and I expect the Italian to keep the faith in Sessegnon as his attacking qualities finally blossom.
RW: Dejan Kulusevski
After his performance against Southampton, you simply cannot bench the Swede. He took players on at will, whipping in beautiful crosses, and even scoring with a beautifully curled finish into the corner.
Kulusevski provides the perfect balance to Son and Kane in Conte’s front three. I’m sure he’ll start again on Sunday.
ST: Harry Kane
There is no reason to rest Kane in such an important game. He loves a London Derby, and Spurs fans will be hoping he can get his season off and running with a few goals at Stamford Bridge.
LW: Heung Min Son
Son may have missed a few chances against Southampton, but last season showed that you can’t bench him. He had a stretch of games early in Conte’s reign where he wasn’t playing up to his standards, but ultimately he went on to win the golden boot.
Son can come alive at any moment with the decisive moment as he showed last week with a peach of a cross for Dier’s equalizer. Wouldn’t it just be perfect for Son to come alive again and set the tone for a big season under Conte with a couple of goals and a win.
Bench: Forster, Sanchez, Perisic, Doherty, Spence, Bissouma, Bryan, Lucas, Richarlison
A much better bench than last season with quality ready to come on and change the game if needed.
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