Tottenham Hotspur go into Tuesday’s fixture at home to West Bromwich Albion looking to repeat the victory when the teams met at the Hawthorns in late November. A victory would see Spurs close to three points off of second place Manchester United prior to their away fixture at Newcastle United the following evening.
West Brom are already without some long term injured, may also be missing Jonas Olsson, Youssuf Mulumbu, top scorer Shane Long and perhaps their most influential player, Chris Brunt who was injured late into Sunday’s loss to Everton. If Brunt is out, whether his replacement Graham Dorrans would play, being rumoured to move to Rangers will be down to manager, Roy Hodgson. Spurs may have doubts over Sebastien Bassong and Roman Pavlyuchenko but could welcome Michael Dawson back to the Lane after a long term injury. Both Scott Parker and Rafael van der Vaart may have to shake off knocks, picked up in the draw to Swansea, to be in contention for selection.
Arguably though, they should be rested anyway. Spurs have looked jaded recently, both at home to Chelsea and away to Swansea – the Norwich game a sparkling exception, with some of the players looking tired. Spurs run has been built on a consistent first eleven, with nine players having appeared in 16 or more Premier League matches this season. Whilst this has benefitted the Lilywhites, there may be a point where these players grow overtired and the lack of rotation becomes detrimental to the team.
One criticism of manager, Harry Redknapp in the past has been a lack of squad rotation, but with Spurs’ home statistics being favourable over West Brom’s away record in each area – shots on goal, conceded, tackles, possession, pass accuracy etc, and with West Brom potentially missing key players, there should be scope for changes in the Spurs team, especially as Spurs have four games in the next 11 days and a difficult set of fixtures in February.
Whilst wholesale changes would be detrimental to the team, a few changes could be made. Parker and van der Vaart could be rested or dropped to the bench, with Niko Kranjcar coming on the right of a 4-4-2 with centre midfield pairing of Luka Modric and Sandro with Defoe partnering Emmanuel Adebayor up front. Ledley King after missing the last couple of games, could return at the expense of William Gallas to partner Younes Kaboul – arguably Spurs’ Man of the Match at Swansea.
Bringing in a few experienced players should not upset the balance of the team, but may be essential to the resting of other players who may be starting to look tired and jaded.
See what the expert tipsters at OLBG are tipping on Tottenham v West Brom