Tottenham Focus - Is Holtby’s dynamism needed in tough Everton trip?
Tottenham visit Goodison Park on Sunday to take on Everton with both teams looking to continue their challenge at the top end of the division. Spurs currently sit fourth in the table three points off the top; Everton in sixth just one point further behind. The trip is likely to be a challenging one for Spurs with an in-form Everton appearing to be enjoying life under Roberto Martinez and with Romelu Lukaku, have arguably one of the best forwards in the Premier League.
With both teams likely to employ the 4-2-3-1 formation perhaps for Tottenham the key will be in the player selection, assuming that the Spurs players will have fully recovered from their penalty shoot win over Hull. Everton have pace, not just in Lukaku but also in Kevin Mirallas and Ross Barkley in the three behind the Belgian, as well as in their wing backs Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman.
Spurs may well be have to move Jan Vertonghen to left-back again with Danny Rose out and the injury to Kyle Naughton, with Vlad Chiriches likely to come into the centre. In the centre-back position there is a strong argument for keeping Younes Kaboul, if fit, ahead of Michael Dawson. Dawson is an excellent servant for Spurs but can get caught out against pace and Kaboul is perhaps a better match against Lukaku.
Baines and Coleman frequently like to get forward but this may be limited against Spurs with Andros Townsend in exceptional form. However, the return of Aaron Lennon has posed some questions. Lennon looked uncomfortable in the inverted winger role against Hull last weekend and Spurs may be better suited to restoring him to the right flank and having his experience against the seasoned Baines, leaving Townsend against the youthful Coleman on the left.
In the hole behind Roberto Soldado, Christian Eriksen has shown little consistency of late so this may be the opportunity to restore Gylfi Sigurdsson to the position, especially as Sigurdsson has been one of Spurs better players so far this season.
Goodison always seems a place that visiting teams have to work hard to get a result and this Sunday is likely to be no exception for Spurs. One of the key areas will be in central midfield and stopping Gareth Barry pulling the Toffees’ strings. Paulinho looked exhausted in midweek so Sandro coming in should help protect the back four, but alongside him this seems a match made for Lewis Holtby rather than the more languid Mousa Dembélé.
The German’s work rate, pressing and dynamism around the pitch may be ideal for Spurs to press and close down Barry, especially as in Sigurdsson, Spurs have another player with a work ethic that can do the same from an attacking midfield position.
Spurs are not yet fluent and they will need to match the Everton work rate to close the home side down but they do appear to be learning how to win ugly. This might be needed at Goodison.
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