Will Pochettino make changes for Sunderland?

Following what was a hugely disappointing result on an historic evening for Spurs in the Champions League on Tuesday night, Pochettino will be seeking an immediate response from his players after their ‘lack of passion’ on Europe’s biggest stage and in front of a packed Wembley Stadium.

Article by Harvey Simpson @hotspur_huddle

Pochettino slammed his players after they endured a faltering start to their Champions League campaign, claiming that he would have subbed every one of them. Nevertheless, we shouldn’t expect sweeping changes for the home fixture against Sunderland this coming Sunday, but Pochettino will maybe tweak his starting line-up in the central core of the team from the starting eleven that began the game versus Monaco.

Mousa Dembele to return

What will be expected amongst all Spurs supporters is the return of Mousa Dembele to the Premier League; the Belgian international hasn’t featured in the league since the ‘Battle of the Bridge’ when the dream of a first Premier League title was extinguished at Stamford Bridge. In my opinion, Dembele’s talent isn’t fully recognised or acknowledged outside of Spurs supporters groups but the impact he has on our team is huge and was made evident for all to witness in the Champions League last Tuesday. Pochettino opted to start Dele Alli in a deeper role alongside Eric Dier which left Spurs overexposed at the back as Dier was unable to control the midfield by himself as Alli attempted to move forward. The decision to drop Victor Wanyama to the substitute’s bench was made in an attempt to overwhelm Monaco in attack and was a confident move by Pochettino, considering we demolished them at the Lane last season. Playing Alli deeper allowed Pochettino to play Spurs best attacking players, Lamela, Eriksen and Son who was impressive in the preceding game against Stoke. Dembele was brought on at half time and Spurs dominated the second half with wave after wave of attack but were ultimately unable to find that crucial equalising goal.

Against Sunderland, we should expect Pochettino to revert to the side that captivated all fans last season (barring Ben Davies who will play in place of the injured Danny Rose). Dembele provides a more defensive outlook on the game than Alli did on Tuesday but will also look to attack; the Belgian scored in this fixture last season to put Spurs ahead – his talent will be vital if Tottenham want to succeed this season.

Vertonghen under pressure?

Several fans have called for Jan Vertonghen to be benched for the upcoming Kevin Wimmer, who played confidently and assuredly alongside the presence of Alderweireld for the period Vertonghen was injured earlier this year. Vertonghen was at fault for Monaco’s first goal, backing off the attacker and wrongly showing him the inside. ‘Wimmer > Vertonghen’ has been recurring on Twitter and, whilst Vertonghen may not have put in a perfect performance against Monaco, I believe he should still keep his place in the squad for the meantime and that Pochettino will play him against Sunderland. Pochettino reiterated last season that Vertonghen is a ‘leader’ for Spurs and that his presence in the team gives all the players that boost and the confidence to play well. Although Wimmer looked assertive last season, he looked slightly out of place against opponents of a higher standard, i.e. Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League. Pochettino has also been favouring Cameron Carter-Vickers over Wimmer recently, perhaps indicating that Vertonghen is likely to start Premier League and Champions League fixtures in the near future.

Son to be benched? Will Sissoko come in?

Heung-min Son, after lighting up the bet365 Stadium at the weekend failed to live up to the occasion of the Champions League and had a disappointing evening which culminated in him being brought off at half time for Mousa Dembele. Although Moussa Sissoko did look bright for the couple of minutes he played against Monaco, I suspect Pochettino will choose a midfield of Dier, Dembele, Eriksen, Alli and Lamela with Kane up front as Sissoko will undoubtedly require time to reach the fitness levels of the rest of the squad.

I think the first goal will be crucial on Sunday: if Son’s shot hadn’t have been cleared off the line against Monaco in the first half, we would have seen a completely game as Monaco would have been forced to attack, leaving space for us to exploit and the plan to overwhelm them in attack would have been successful. If Spurs do get that all-important opening goal, we should expect a victory; Sunderland crumbled following Everton’s opener and are lacking confidence after an underwhelming start to the season. However, if Sunderland grab the first goal of the game, the Tottenham players could feel deflated and lack belief in their ability after the loss against Monaco. However, I still expect us to get the three points, 2-0. COYS!

What do you think? Will Dembele march straight back into the starting eleven? Is Wimmer good enough to replace Vertonghen? Will Son be benched? Let me know in the comments section below or send me a tweet @Hotspur_Huddle.

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