The three days between Saturday and Tuesday showed what I indirectly touched upon in my post about Vertonghen’s injury. We have a limited bench.
Tuesday especially showed that we do not have a player that Poch can throw in the mix to try to break the lock in tight games. We have always suffered with teams playing 10 men behind the ball, and we have no one to help us when we play badly. We hoped Janssen could be the man, but he is not living up to the expectations. Same for Moussa Sissoko. I see Spurs at the moment as 11 starting players + Son HM and maybe the two reserve full backs.
This said, I think we will get past Middlesbrough without suffering too much. Boro are a good team, but they do not score much. So I struggle to see them being too dangerous. Surely we will miss Vertonghen and Rose, but we are still the second best defense in the league.
Hence, I don’t think we will go back to three at the back. Boro play with the only Negredo upfront and I am sure Karanka will be more concerned with defending than with attacking. In addition, we do not the same threat with Ben Davies in place of Danny Rose, so I do not see the left winger role as the best fit for the Welshman. In midfield everyone confirmed, Dembele was one of the best at the SoL and Wanyama cannot be discussed.
The front 4 had a bad game in the North East. Harry Kane was never involved and he did not receive a decent ball in the box. Alli and Eriksen were just under rhythm. Son was the only one trying something, but he is not always as sharp as we would like him to be. Let’s not forget that he secured us the three points in the reverse fixture.
I do not expect a game too different from the one seen on Tuesday, but I think we will have a bit more sharpness and win it.
Spurs (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Walker Dier Alderweireld Davies; Dembélé Wanyama; Son Alli Eriksen; Kane.