The Tottenham XI That Should Start Against Lokomotiv Plovdiv

16 September 2020 07:00

Tottenham Hotspur travel to Bulgaria to face Lokomotiv Plovdiv on Thursday, in one of the least anticipated games in the club's history.

It may be an inconvenience but Spurs cannot afford to approach this Europa League second qualifying round game with any complacency. The competition provides Spurs with a realistic chance of winning a major trophy and it could also hold the keys to Champions League qualification.

Because of this, José Mourinho is likely to pick a fairly strong starting XI for the single-legged affair, perhaps with a few rotational pieces thrown in. Here's 90min's prediction of how Spurs will line up in Bulgaria.

1. Goalkeeper & Defenders

Joe Hart (GK) - After making the bench for his side's Premier League opener against Everton, it appears that new signing Joe Hart has usurped Paulo Gazzaniga as Spurs' second-choice keeper. How he's managed to do this after making just two appearances for Burnley last season is a mystery.

Serge Aurier (RB) - Matt Doherty was preferred to Serge Aurier against the Toffees but the Ivorian could get the chance to earn his way back into the starting XI with a good performance on Thursday.

Davinson Sanchez (CB) - A stalwart of the Spurs backline last season, Eric Dier was preferred at centre-back on Sunday and struggled. A few solid displays from Sanchez should see him restored to the starting XI for league games soon enough.

Eric Dier (CB) - Although he was poor against Everton, Mourinho is far more likely to start Dier ahead of Toby Alderweireld. Japhet Tanganga would have been a shoo-in - if not for injury.

Ben Davies (LB) - With Mourinho informing Danny Rose that he is not part of his first team plans this season, Davies is likely to continue at left-back.

2. Midfielders

Giovani Lo Celso (CM) - Having just returned from injury, Thursday represents an excellent opportunity for Lo Celso to build up his match fitness ahead of a busy campaign to come.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg (CM) - Hojbjerg has only missed 12 games over the past Premier League seasons, demonstrating his rugged nature. If anyone can play two games in a week with minimal fuss, it's the Dane.

Gedson Fernandes (CM) - Fernandes is yet to show his best at Tottenham. Perhaps an 'easy' game against the Bulgarian runners-up from last season will help him find his feet.

3. Forwards

Erik Lamela (RW) - Now entering his eighth season with Tottenham (doesn't time fly?), Lamela has a good record in this competition, registering 14 goal involvements in 22 Europa League games.

Harry Kane (ST) - A man with Kane's injury history and importance to Spurs should not really be playing in straightforward games like this. However, with Tottenham still without a backup striker, the England captain will be starting on Thursday night.

Steven Bergwijn (LW) - Bergwijn came on and made absolutely zero impact against Everton. Maybe he was saving himself for this game? Yeah, that's it. Hat trick incoming.

Source: 90min