As Tottenham’s grudge game against Chelsea draws closer, we thought we’d take a look at our expected starting XI and bench for the encounter.
GK: Hugo Lloris
This one needs no discussion. Hugo starts every Premier League game as long as he is fit.
BCR: Cristian Romero
Another player who starts every Premier League game for Conte when fit. His aggressive defending and composure on the ball take Tottenham’s back three to the next level. He possesses exactly the type of competitive mentality that is vital for Spurs against Chelsea.
CCB: Eric Dier
We all saw how badly it went last season when Conte was without Dier in the middle of his back three against Chelsea. The leadership and organization he brings through his communication is essential in the Tottenham team.
He is the anchor of that bottom line, and without him everything falls apart. Luckily for Conte, Dier is coming off a positive pre-season followed by an impressive performance where he scored a goal in Spurs’ season opener against Southampton.
LCB: Ben Davies
Another rock in defense that Conte has done so much to improve, Davies just needs to start on Sunday. New signing Clement Lenglet picked up a minor injury that rules him out of Sunday’s clash, leaving Davies the clear and obvious choice (soccer london).
Tottenham will likely be penned in their own half against Chelsea, and Davies is just the man for the job. The Welshman is so committed to the cause that he often puts his body on the line, diving past the penalty shootout.
RSF: Emerson Royal
Despite constant criticism from fans, Emerson performed admirably in the final weeks of last season and put up a strong performance against Southampton, picking up two assists. He’s not dazzling in attack but he’s certainly improving.
On defense, Emerson is generally more reliable than Matt Doherty. As the Irishman continues to return to Conte’s starting line-up after starting just one pre-season game in his preferred role on the right, I think Royal will get the nod.
CM: Rodrigo Bentancur
Since joining the club in January, Bentancur has been a mainstay in the Spurs squad, combining his grit in the tackle with his elegance and technique on the ball.
As Bissouma continues to work his way into Conte’s starting line-up after recovering from a minor injury following his move to the club in the summer, Bentancur is the obvious choice to start.
CM: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg
The Dane helped Tottenham reach the Champions League last season with his leadership and grit in midfield, clearly earning Conte’s trust. With Skipp still out with a heel injury sustained in training a few weeks ago, Hojbjerg will likely continue his run in the starting lineup (soccer london).
ASF: Ryan Sessegnon
Tottenham’s season opener felt like a coming-of-age game for Sessegnon. Last season he showed his defensive prowess, but his attacking game has always been lacking since moving to north London.
His spell at Fulham in the Championship showed he had the ability to score goals, but stagnation under a managerial maneuver at Spurs seemed to be destroying his confidence.
Perisic’s mentorship was already on display as Sess appeared at the far post to find himself on the end of a cross and score his first Premier League goal for Spurs.
He also put the ball into the back of the net with a cultured finish to be ruled offside, but that’s exactly what Conte wants and I expect the Italian to keep faith in Sessegnon as his attacking qualities finally blossom.
AD: Dejan Kulusevski
After his performance against Southampton, you simply cannot bench the Swede. He took on players at will, whipping some nice crosses and even scoring with a beautifully curled finish in the corner.
Kulusevski provides the perfect balance for Son and Kane in Conte’s top three. I’m sure he’ll do it again on Sunday.
ST: Harry Kane
There’s no reason to rest Kane in such an important game. He loves a London Derby, and Spurs fans are hoping he can start his season with a few goals at Stamford Bridge.
AG: Heung Min Son
Son may have missed a few chances against Southampton but last season showed you can’t bench him. He had a string of games early in Conte’s reign where he didn’t play up to his standards, but eventually he won the golden boot.
Son can come to life at any time with the decisive moment as he showed last week with a peach of a cross for Dier’s equaliser. Wouldn’t it be perfect for Son to come back to life and set the tone for a great season under Conte with a few goals and a win.
Bench: Forster, Sanchez, Perisic, Doherty, Spence, Bissouma, Bryan, Lucas, Richarlison
A much better bench than last season with quality ready to step in and change the game if needed.
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