Opinion: What type of team should Mauricio Pochettino field against Dortmund?

Tottenham have a mountain to climb this Thursday, but what type of team should Pochettino go with for the fixture?

Opinion: What type of team should Mauricio Pochettino field against Dortmund?
Pochettino in training ahead of the game. (Photo: Zimbio)

Tottenham Hotspur are flying high in the league and with just eight games to go, they look in close contention with Leicester City to be crowned the 2015/2016 Premier League champions.

However, a roadblock stands in between Mauricio Pochettino’s side and their next league game at home to Bournemouth, that roadblock being German giants Borussia Dortmund. Tottenham fell to a 3-0 deficit in the first leg in Germany, and looked to what could only be described as a miracle comeback.

Pochettino’s season with Spurs has been more than remarkable, as they look to have secured a vital Champions League spot and are hunting down the title, but all of his success this season had seemed to be overshadowed in the media with his squad selection last Thursday night.

Knowing what type of opponents, he was going to face, bearing in mind he had a woeful Aston Villa the following Sunday, he decided against fielding a full strengthen side, seeing Harry Kane, Mousa Dembélé, Eric Dier and Erik Lamela all being rested, as well as Dele Alli being suspended.

Eventually an embarrassing 3-0 defeat leaves the side with a mountain to climb at home this coming Thursday, but the main topic up for discussion will be whether Pochettino decides to field the strongest squad available in order to try and revive our European campaign, or go with a similar team to last week with one eye on AFC Bournemouth. In my opinion, I feel Pochettino should field a weakened side as it is highly unlikely that we could mount such a comeback against a side like that, as well as the fact that Bournemouth are no pushovers and will go into this game with a bag load of confidence, meaning the game will be a lot tougher than expected. 

Who should start? Beginning with the 'keeper and defence...

Hugo Lloris: When it comes to goalkeepers, you don’t necessarily need to rest them and you'd feel this could well and likely be changed to Michel Vorm, yet many would keep Lloris in the team for Thursday night. Vorm is an exceptional backup for Lloris but if Spurs stand any chance of doing the impossible it will require some saves that Lloris is accustom to in the league and ones we know and can trust him to make. However, it'd be no surprise at all if Pochettino elects to pick Vorm instead.

Kieran Trippier: Pochettino is known for his rotation of his wingbacks, and I see him making changes to both sides of the pitch. Trippier started over in Germany and had a relatively poor performance, seeming unable to cope with the ability of Marco Reus. Kyle Walker had an outstanding game against Villa, so you would assume that he would look to rest Walker for the upcoming league match, as he's now first choice.

Toby Alderweireld: There isn’t much option but to start Spurs' best defender in this tie, with there being such a small amount of replacements it's hardly likely that the manager decides to start the youngster Cameron Carter-Vickers over the Belgian. Alderweireld had a solid game against Dortmund and is the safest option at the back, but there is a slight possibility that Eric Dier could be moved back in order to rest Alderweireld.

Kevin Wimmer: The Austrian has seemed to cope well with life in the English league and made a good partner for Alderweireld to replace the injured Jan Vertonghen. After joining the club from the Bundesliga, you would have expected Wimmer to have had a much better game than he did, assuming that he must have been familiar with the majority of the opposition. Wimmer is a likely starter for Thursday as again, it's hard to see Pochettino starting Carter-Vickers in a game of this stature.

Ben Davies: Davies, like Trippier, didn’t have a particularly good game last week and didn’t feature in the league match at Villa last weekend. Danny Rose is likely to be rotated with the Welshman who is hoping to have a better game and start to make a statement as to why he should be the first choice option.

Davies was poor last week, but is likely to start again (photo: getty)
Davies was poor last week, but is likely to start again (photo: getty)

Midfield and attack

Ryan Mason: Mason was brought in last week and had a fairly decent game, the aggressive midfielder didn’t have the best defensive partner in Tom Carroll, but Mason has proved he can play in this position before, having played sensational last season alongside Nabil Bentaleb. The Englishman is a more than average replacement to a midfield that has massive names in it, and he will be trusted to give 100% if he is called upon by the manager.

Nabil Bentaleb: The Algerian international hasn’t seen much action in the first team this season, arguably to the fact that Alli and Dier have stepped up and been exceptional after his injury, but when he has been called upon he hasn’t shown shades of what he was capable of last season. Forming an exciting partnership with Ryan Mason the two have yet to reconnect and I feel that these two should be called upon for this fixture to give them both a chance for them to prove themselves, as well as to give them more experience.

Heung-Min Son: The Korean has an exceptional scoring record against Dortmund, scoring five in his last six against them, but didn’t light up the game like all Spurs fans expected him to in the first leg. Although, Son was unlucky not to be awarded a penalty during the game in which could have caused a completely different outcome at the end of the game. With a lack of midfield options, if he opts to rest our main players, I feel that Son will start and be a popular outlet when going forward.

Tom Carroll: Carroll had an awful game last week and was lucky not to have been sent off. Although many Spurs fans are not fond of Carroll, especially in a deeper role, it is clear that he expresses himself more when playing in an advanced role. This is shown through some of his performances in games when he has featured off of the bench and coming on for an advanced midfielder. Pochettino should elect to start him if fielding a ‘safety’ side in which it will allow Alli to rest and recuperate for the upcoming league fixture.

Christian Eriksen: The playmaker always seems to come alive in European fixtures, but struggled in the first leg due to the fact that the side saw none of the ball. Although the manager could elect to play a weakened side, he will still need to feature some creativity in order to stand a chance at all, and Eriksen seems to be able to cope with playing in both Europe and the league. Eriksen, if featured, will be the man if the Lilywhites are to have a good night.

Nacer Chadli: Yes, again it should be a winger to play central and rest Harry Kane, which is a very smart move. Chadli will struggle but we can do nothing about it, with the likes of Mats Hummels at the back he is up against world class, adding the fact he isn’t an out and out forward man. This, in my eyes, is the perfect example of a game where someone the likes of Sadio Berahino should have, and would have started.