Tottenham are facing a very difficult test on Saturday against in-form Sheffield United. The visiting team have been the surprise package of the season so far, as they currently find themselves in 6th position. In fact, these two teams find themselves in the position that the other would have expected to be in. The home side may have the superior talent in their squad, but the newly-promoted away side have been a well balanced unit and they will go to North London with confidence of picking up three points. Spurs have lost to far worse teams already this season.
Mauricio Pochettino will be hoping to move on from the terrible scenes of last weekend, as Son Heung-min was sent off for his role in the awful injury suffered by Everton midfielder Andre Gomes. Prior to that, Spurs were heading towards their first away victory of the season, which would have provided a timely boost to the Premier League campaign. A comfortable victory in Belgrade against Red Star was much needed, but they need to follow that up with a win in the league. They have failed to build momentum in this campaign so far, but they need to soon, otherwise they will be cut adrift from their rivals.
Sheffield United have been a huge success at this early stage of the season as they currently sit in the top six. It will be difficult for the club to maintain their current rate of earning points, but they are looking like they will stay up comfortably. Chris Wilder deserves a lot of praise for his recruitment and tactical approach, as he has taken to the Premier League like a duck to water. Many would have expected a functional Championship side, similar to Cardiff City last season. However, the Blades have been so much more than that and have been a welcome addition to the top flight. They should be confident of getting something from the weekend’s game based on Tottenham’s recent form.
- Dele Alli has scored in 39 Premier League matches. In those matches, Spurs have avoided defeats in all of them.
- Lys Mousset became only the fifth player from a promoted club to get three assists in the same game.
The Argentine has had to bide his time due to injury and acclimatisation, but he is now ready for a sustained run in the first team. During the week, he scored his first goal for the club and that will give him a confidence boost going into Saturday. Christian Eriksen is likely to be dropped from the Premier League team, following a very poor performance against Everton. He gave the ball away more than any other player on the pitch, which is something that we aren’t used to seeing from the Danish international. It can be argued that the wantaway midfielder is a hindrance to the team in his current frame of mind, which is why they must bring Giovani Lo Celso into the starting eleven. Although he isn’t a like-for-like replacement, the former PSG midfielder will provide energy and attacking threat to the Tottenham midfield. This has been desperately lacking since the beginning of the campaign. Last season, he was excellent in the final third for Real Betis, as he scored nine times in La Liga. Pochettino needs a similar output from his big money signing if Spurs are to climb the league back to their rightful position in the top six.
It is rare for a player to go from a squad player in the Championship to a key player in the Premier League, but John Lundstram has done just that at Bramall Lane. The tactical shape used by Wilder needs willing midfield runners to provide support for the strikers. John Lundstram and John Fleck have taken up these roles very effectively, with the pair scoring all three of the goals last weekend for United. The tenacity and boundless energy of the former Everton trainee makes him perfect for the role. Few expected the midfielder to play often this season, but he was given an opportunity in pre-season and hasn’t looked back. Chris Wilder has been full of praise for the player in the light of his recent development. The 25-year-old has contributed three goals and one assist, as the season shapes up to be a breakthrough one at the highest level. Tottenham’s midfield has been devoid of energy at times and they may struggle to deal with Sheffield United’s two central runners.
Serge Aurier is likely to start for the home side. Harry Winks is in contention for a return to the starting eleven. Son Heung-min will be available after his suspension was rescinded. Hugo Lloris remains a long term absentee.
John Egan is the only injury worry for the visitors, as he faces a late fitness test ahead of Saturday.
Tottenham will be more confident, given that the match is at home. Although there record is far from perfect at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, with the team dropping points there this season. This will be a very tricky test for them and if they perform like they did Everton, they will struggle to win. They have the quality to pick up three points, but it is very difficult to back Spurs in their current guise. For that reason, a score draw looks to be a fair prediction.
Tottenham 1-1 Sheffield United