With the upcoming Premier League campaign only days away, let's take a look at the key battles Tottenham Hotspur will face in their game against Everton.
Key battles throughout the field
Harry Kane - Ashley Williams: Everton acquired the talents of Ashley Williams only a matter of days before this heavyweight clash and he will have a tough first task, coming up against last season's golden boot winner, Harry Kane, should the Welshman start. The young English striker is always looking to play off the shoulder of the last defender, and this could prove to be a crucial factor into how Kane will overcome the defender's challenges. Williams is now 31 years old and is heading into the later stages of his career, with the former Swansea City defenders age increasing, many people believe his pace is decreasing. This gives Kane the platform to thrive as he is a young and hungry striker who gives 110% until the final whistle blows. We expect this battle to be one of the best during the 90+ minutes.
Erik Lamela v Leighton Baines: This clash is very similar to the battle between Kane and Williams in the sense that Baines is past his glory days, and is entering the later stages of his career but Erik Lamela is only learning with every passing day, as he becomes stronger, fitter and faster. Baines is thought to be a very attacking minded full-back, this could provide Lamela with the space to work magic and potentially push Tottenham to their first win of the season. On the other hand, this clash brings about difficulties for the Argentinian winger. Lamela's defensive capabilities will be tested to the max during this match, with Baines bombing forward at every opportunity he gets.
Toby Alderweireld v Romelu Lukaku: After all of the speculation of Lukaku leaving the Toffees during the summer, the Belgian international is still there for now, helpin his club push for a position in the table which will help them gain access to European football. Although Alderweireld and Lukaku are international teammates, we expect there to be no love lost between the pair during Saturday's match. Alderweireld will have to perform to the highest of his abilities to try and help Tottenham keep a clean sheet for the first time in the season. Lukaku will prove a handful at both set and open play all throughout the match.
How will Pochettino set out his team?
We expect Mauricio Pochettino to use the standard 4-2-3-1 formation, drafting in new boy Victor Wanyama to replace banned Mousa Dembele. Wanyama offers a more secure defensive option and paired alongside Eric Dier, it will be a tough task for attacking minded players like Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku to break down the defensive barrier. Pochettino will also more than likely start the front four of Erik Lamela, Dele Alli, Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane. Last season this formidable attacking force turned over some of the best defences in the league, including both Manchester City, United and Stoke City. Last season alone, these four players scored a staggering 57 goals in all competitions so will definitely be a handful for the newly assembled Everton defence. The Argentinian manager sets his teams out in such a way, they tire the opposition out with relentless high pressing. The 'high-pressing game' was arguably Tottenham's best feature last season, as it allowed opportunities for the opposition to slip up, make a wrong pass or give away possession which lead to multiple Spurs goals.
Pochettino also focuses heavily on quality defensive performances. This was clearly seen last season as Tottenham improved from the ninth best defence in the league to the second best, only bettered by Manchester United and Louis Van Gaal. Pochettino confirmed today that Jan Vertonghen will be fit for Saturday's match. This will give a huge boost of conifdence to the Spurs defence as Alderwerield and Vertonghen worked as a formidable Belgian force last year that very few teams were able to penetrate.