Tottenham currently sit at 4th place in the Premier League table, falling from the top spot at the start of the month.
The standings at the top are very close, meaning that Spurs could return back to third, going from 26 to 29 points if they were to win against Aston Villa tomorrow.
As Manchester City and Liverpool lost points to each other at the Etihad today, Tottenham could sneak into third - one point behind Arsenal and behind Man City on goal difference.
Villa creep closely behind Spurs in 5th place, only one point behind the rivals. Aston Villa could reach 4th if they were to win against Spurs, level on points with Liverpool but behind on goal difference.
Despite Tottenham’s formation, Postecoglou’s men still are in the running to achieve top four and qualify for the Champions League at the end of the season.
However, Aston Villa will pose a threat to Spurs as they have typically done better this season than their average performance and Tottenham have lost their last two clashes - against Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers prior to the international break.
Formation and Lineup: Tottenham Hotspur
Ange Postecoglou usually plays a 4-2-3-1 formation, however since the abundance of injuries and red cards that came out of the Chelsea loss, Postecoglou has since put out a 4-3-3 formation - in which Tottenham played in their loss versus Wolves.
Tottenham will have to adapt because Cristian Romero is still unavailable due to his red card issued by Michael Oliver during the match against Chelsea. However, Destiny Udogie is now back after his one match ban, after receiving two yellow cards in the same game.
In terms of injuries, Micky Van de Van and James Maddison are still out injured until at least January, so leave Postecoglou with fewer options. Richarlison is also unavailable after he underwent groin surgery on 10th November.
Spurs could come into a clash with ex Tottenham player, Clément Lenglet, because he is now on loan from Barcelona at Aston Villa but it is unlikely he will reunite with his old teammates on the pitch - having made no appearances for Villa this season.
After starting for Spurs in almost every match this season, it is very likely that Guglielmo Vicario and Pedro Porro will be part of Tottenham’s defence and with the absence of Van de Ven and Romero, Ben Davies and Eric Dier will likely replace them as the two Centre Halves like during the Wolves game.
It is most certain that Yves Bissouma will return in the starting lineup for the North London side he has the last three matches. However with Pape Matar Sarr, Postecoglou revealed that he has a slight injury that needs investigating and missed training yesterday so he might not make an appearance tomorrow.
As he started in Postecoglou’s 4-3-3 lineup against Wolves, Pierre-Emile Højbjerg may start as a replacement for Sarr, with Giovani Lo Celso and Oliver Skipp also being viable options for a more attacking approach.
Arguably, Dejan Kulusevski has been one of Tottenham’s greatest playmakers this season so it is probable that he will join Heung-Min Son and Brennan Johnson in the front three. Johnson scored his first goal for Spurs in his last Premier League game so might be rewarded by Postecoglou with a starting position.
Formation and Lineup: Aston Villa
Unai Emery likes to vary his formations to cater to the opposition’s weaknesses but he usually plays a 4-4-2 formation, with exceptions of a 3-4-3, 4-2-3-1 or a 4-2-2-2. However, it is evident that Emery prefers to play more defensively against stronger opponents.
Unlike Tottenham, Villa have no players who will miss this match due to red cards however, like Spurs, they have injuries too.
Tyrone Mings will be missed out of Emery’s back line because He is out until at least April with a serious knee problem. Mings has also commented about retirement scares, suggesting that this could be a career-ending injury.
Over the past few months, Ezri Konsa has replaced Mings as one of Emery’s starting centre backs, in partnership with Pau Torres. The wing backs are likely to be Matty Cash and Luca Digne, both reliable defenders for Aston Villa for multiple seasons.
As for Emiliano Martinez, there is a risk of the goalkeeper not playing because he picked up a knock on international duty for Argentina last week, however it is expected that he will still play a full 90 minutes for his club due to a lack of severity.
Unai Emery’s defence rarely changes unless due to injuries, however his midfielders and attacking players are highly dependant on the formation he decides to put out. Diego Carlos looks highly unlikely to be returning to the pitch as he has not been spotted in training since his injury occurred.
Playing either RM or CAM, John McGinn is likely to feature in Emery’s squad even though He came off for Scotland in their 3-3 draw against Norway with an injury scare.
In Aston Villa’s 3-1 win against Fulham, Youri Tielemans also made a reappearance for his team so he has potential to feature in the Tottenham match. Jacob Ramsey has an injury making him doubtful that he’ll appear in the Tottenham match, however he was spotted in training two days ago making a substitution more probable.
Two consistent strikers for Aston Villa are Moussa Diaby and Ollie Watkins, who have both been stars for Emery and he has rewarded them with starting positions in every game this season. It is almost certain that this duo will produce success for Aston Villa in this clash.
Emiliano Buendia is out until February with knee problem so he will be missed by Emery, but Villa still have very strong attacking contenders and pose great threat to Spurs.
Players to Watch: Tottenham Hotspur
Despite losing his last two games, Vicarious has shone the most out of Tottenham’s defence - making notable saves against Chelsea and Wolves. Prior to these matches, Vicarious had kept clean sheets in 40% of his matches this season.
Brennan Johnson scored his first Spurs goal in the opening three minutes of the match against Wolves after nine appearances. Johnson also made an appearance for Wales in their 4-0 win against Gibraltar during the Euro 2024 Qualifiers.
Son is now arguably Tottenham’s most important player, especially when working in corporation with Spurs’ key summer signing - James Maddison. As the striker is now out injured, Heung-Min Son is now the main origin for creating chances.
Players to Watch: Aston Villa
McGinn has scored five goals and registered three assists in all competitions for Villa while also being a consistent threat against other teams for his club across multiple seasons.
Additionally, he scored one goal and registered one assist in his most recent game for Scotland where they drew 3-3 to Norway.
Moussa Diaby has record of 0.25 goals per match, also well working defensively so proves as a well-rounded threat for Spurs.
Watkins has registered a goal contribution in almost every game for Villa this season in the Premier League.
Across playing 19 games in all competitions, Ollie Watkins has scored 11 goals and accreted 5 assists for his club. Watkins has also been called up to the most recent England squad and started against North Macedonia on Monday.