Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino faces a selection dilemma this weekend, with new signing Giovani Lo Celso looking to force his way into his new manager's plans.
Whilst Lo Celso was left out of the matchday squad against Aston Villa next weekend having joined the club a day earlier, he will be looking to break into a starting line up which struggled for creativity at times last weekend.
A change back to the 4-2-3-1
Pochettino has favoured the 4-2-3-1 formation since his early days as Tottenham manager, but last weekend saw him switch to a diamond system to account for the absence of Christian Eriksen, Heung Min-Son, Dele Alli and Giovani Lo Celso in Spurs’ forward line.
However, following Eriksen’s impact after being substituted on and the availability of Lo Celso, who also occupies a central berth, Pochettino has the necessary options to revert back to his favoured system.
This would mean one of Tanguy Ndombele, Moussa Sissoko or Harry Winks falling to the bench to accommodate this extra attacker.
The Eriksen debate
Pochettino left Eriksen out amid uncertainty surrounding his future last weekend, and that speculation and uncertainty certainly still surrounds the Dane as he is yet to commit his future to the club.
However, his impact against Aston Villa seemingly guarantees him a place in Pochettino’s plans for this weekend as he again proved his importance to Spurs with the side struggling for creativity in his absence.
Whilst Lo Celso could be an alternative in this position, he has only had a week of training with the squad; and maybe eased into the team with a cameo from the bench later in the game.
Dele Alli, Heung-Min Son and Juan Foyth remain unavailable for Spurs, meaning Spurs are still without their player of the season and standout performer from their last visit to the Etihad Stadium in the Champions League.
The absence of Alli is a hindrance, but perhaps not as crucial as that of Son due to the newfound options in the centre of the pitch.
Foyth will almost certainly be given a chance at right-back upon his return to fitness, but that will not come in time for tomorrow’s match leaving Kyle-Walker Peters and Serge Aurier to fight for the right-back position.
Further, the absence of Jan Vertonghen against Villa was an unwelcome surprise, with the defender admitting he was not injured after the match.
If this is a fitness concern, he will surely feature; unless there is a deeper issue with his relationship with Pochettino, perhaps due to his contractual situation at the club.
Predicted line up: Lloris, Walker-Peters, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Ndombele, Sissoko; Lamela, Eriksen, Lucas; Kane.