Pre-match analysis: Squad depth to be tested ahead of London derby
Danny Rose battles for the ball in the first leg. (Photo: Getty Images/Catherine Ivill)

Pre-match analysis: Squad depth to be tested ahead of London derby

Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino will try to navigate past Chelsea and into his second League Cup final as Spurs manager.

tom_jobson
Thomas Jobson

Mauricio Pochettino faces something of a selection dilemma going into the Carabao Cup semi-final second leg against Chelsea tomorrow evening.

Spurs lost Dele Alli to injury against Fulham whilst Harry Kane will continue to be sidelined following the ankle injury he picked up against Manchester United a week earlier.

They join long-term absentee Victor Wanyama on the Tottenham treatment table and are all unavailable for selection, along with Heung-Min Son who remains out on international duty.

Striker problems

The obvious option and the route Pochettino went with against Fulham last weekend was to replace Kane with Fernando Llorente, but the Spaniard was clearly lacking confidence so it remains to be seen if the former Swansea man will be given another chance tomorrow night.

A possible alternative for Pochettino could be to play Lucas Moura in the central striking position.

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However, should the Brazillian be included in the squad he will be returning for the first time since he picked up a thigh strain at the beginning of the month. 

This could add a different dimension to Tottenham’s play as one would think Spurs would be set up to counter-attack at every opportunity with Chelsea chasing the tie.

The pace and directness of Lucas may force Chelsea to play slightly deeper than if Spurs went with Llorente, who poses a different threat entirely.

Back three favoured by Pochettino

As for formation, in games against the top six sides, Pochettino has favoured a three at the back system with the fullbacks dropping back when out of possession and considering the advantage gained from the first leg, this would appear to be a sensible approach going into tomorrow.

The return of Moussa Sissoko to fitness is another boost for Spurs, his energy and power could prove useful in a game in which Spurs will be expected to defend from the off.

However, playing essentially five at the back with two holding midfield players would inevitably invite pressure so I would expect either Eric Dier or Sissoko to play alongside Harry Winks with the other being introduced late on to see out the game if the Tottenham advantage remains intact.

One last chance?

Georges Kevin-NKoudou’s re-emergence from the wilderness could provide another option for Pochettino.

The Frenchman made an instant impact after coming off the bench against Fulham, providing the assist for Winks’ late winner, but only time will tell if he impressed enough to be involved against the Blues.

Potential starting line-up: Gazzaniga, Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Rose, Dier, Winks, Eriksen, Lamela, Llorente. 

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