Today marks the start of four days that will define Spurs’ season and Mauricio Pochettino’s first year in charge. With a finely balanced Europa league tie tonight and the League Cup final just days later, picking the team is not going to be an easy task.
If Pochettino selects a weakened side in Florence and we get knocked out, he’ll get blamed. If he picks a strong team tonight and Spurs lose on Sunday, he’ll get pilloried.
The Europa League has the allure of a Champions League place at it’s end but that is still a long way off and the clear priority has to be Sunday. If the games were the other way round it would be much easier – pick the best eleven then see how things go – but unfortunately we don’t have that luxury.
What a shame we didn’t make more of our first half dominance last Thursday, then team selection could have been a moot point.
For me the best strategy is go half and half against Fiorentina. Rest key players, pick a second string side but sprinkle in three or four first-teamers who aren’t vital and don’t need the rest. Throw in the reasonably proficient fringe players – Stambouli, Paulinho, Soldado, Davies.
The key players would obviously include Eriksen and Kane. Probably Chadli too after the great game he had against Chelsea in the league. Maybe add Bentaleb to that list.
Early indications suggest Pochettino isn’t going for a complete second string team. With outcasts Kaboul, Capoue and Adebayor not even travelling to Italy, everything points to a fairly strong side tonight. At least we have no injury problems, a testament to the manager’s training methods and rotation earlier in the season.
The goalkeeping situation presents an interesting dilemma. Hugo Lloris is clearly the better keeper but Vorm has played in previous rounds. It was a surprise that such a proficient keeper with a comfortable position at Swansea wanted to come and be a backup and there are rumours this was in part helped by a gentleman’s agreement that Vorm gets to play in cup games.
Despite that, facing Chelsea at Wembley we have to go with our best eleven – so Lloris has to play. I would field Vorm against Fiorentina and Lloris against Chelsea.
Whatever Pochettino decides let’s all get behind the team and hope for two victories and some silverware. Come on you Spurs!
Would you rest players against Fiorentina? What should be the focus, the Europa League or the Capital One Cup? Let me know your opinions in the comments below.