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Postecoglou drops Bissouma in predicted Spurs lineup vs Arsenal

Written by on April 28, 2024

Tottenham Hotspur begin a gruelling run of games to close the 2023/24 Premier League on Sunday afternoon as they host title-chasing rivals Arsenal.

Ange Postecoglou’s side were well worth their money as they drew 2-2 at the Emirates Stadium in the reverse fixture but much has changed since those balmy days, with inconsistent form and damaging injuries pulling Spurs away from the front of the division.

Still, fifth in the standings and behind Aston Villa in the top four by six points with two games in hand, Tottenham’s hopes of returning to Europe’s elite hang in the balance, and victory over the Gunners might be the galvanising result needed to create a fantastic finish to Postecoglou’s first year.

The hosts are missing first-choice left-back Destiny Udogie, who will not recover in time for Italy’s EURO 2024 campaign, but Pedro Porro and Richarlison are expected to be involved.

After being thrashed 4-0 against Newcastle United last time out, some might expect Postecoglou to ring the changes, with three alterations possibly being made.

1

GK – Guglielmo Vicario

Let’s imagine for a moment that Tottenham had stuck with Hugo Lloris this season, and had not signed Guglielmo Vicario from Empoli in an initial £17m deal.

The Italian shot-stopper has been immense this season and, having not missed a minute in the Premier League, will be eager to strike a blow to Arsenal’s title ambitions.

2

RB – Pedro Porro


Tottenham defender Pedro Porro

Porro was forced off at St. James’ Park with a hamstring strain, leaving Postecoglou and co sweating over his fitness, but it looks like he’s ready to start at right-back once again.

So impressive in his all-encompassing role, Porro has scored one goal and supplied seven assists across 29 Premier League appearances this season, as per Sofascore, creating ten big chances, averaging 1.6 key passes, 2.8 tackles and 5.7 ball recoveries per game.

3

CB – Cristian Romero


Tottenham centre-back Cristian Romero

Cristian Romero is one of the meanest, toughest-tackling defenders in the Premier League and he has been an incredible asset for Postecoglou in his first campaign in English football.

Described as a “monster” by The Athletic’s Charlie Eccleshare, the Argentinian World Cup winner is arguably Spurs’ most important player and he will be right at the centre of the action tomorrow.

4

CB – Micky van de Ven


Micky van de Ven celebrates for Tottenham

Micky van de Ven did not enjoy his finest hour during Spurs’ bitter defeat against Newcastle but that must not detract from an exemplary maiden season in the Premier League after joining from Wolfsburg in a £43m deal last summer.

Blessed with frightening pace, his elite athleticism will be called into additional importance given the absence of the electric Udogie.

5

LB – Ben Davies


Tottenham defender Ben Davies

That brings us to Ben Davies, who is experienced and industrious but simply doesn’t have the same tools as his injured positional peer. Bukayo Saka, Arsenal’s main man, will have been briefed on pushing to exploit this possible chink.

Still, he’s an “intelligent” player – as has been said by pundit Danny Murphy – and he will be raring for the chance to impress on what is a rare outing for the Welshman.

6

CM – Pape Matar Sarr


Tottenham midfielder Pape Sarr

The energy and exuberance of Pape Matar Sarr will be vital in battling against an imperious Gunners midfield consisting of, notably, Martin Odegaard and Declan Rice, and he will come in for the struggling Yves Bissouma – the latter man branded “inconsistent” by reporter George Sessions.

The young star has offered performances of great promise this year and he will be a major player in Postecoglou’s system for years to come.

7

CM – Rodrigo Bentancur


joao-gomes-rodrigo-bentancur-tottenham-opinion

Rodrigo Bentancur started against the Magpies two weeks ago and he will likely retain his place in the North London Derby, albeit pushed to complete a more defensive role in Bissouma’s absence.

Yves Bissouma: Recent PL Match Ratings

Fixture

Score

Match Rating

Newcastle United (A)

4-0 loss

3/10

Nottingham Forest (H)

3-1 win

6/10

West Ham United (A)

1-1 draw

7/10

Luton Town (H)

2-1 win

5/10

Fulham (A)

3-0 loss

3/10

Sourced via football.london

The Malian may well start but he has been picked apart in recent matches and has done little to prove that he deserves a ninth successive start in pivotal circumstances.

8

RW – Dejan Kulusevski


Dejan Kulusevski for Tottenham-1

Dejan Kulusevski’s unwavering spot in the Tottenham starting line-up is no more, with Postecoglou recently favouring the breakneck pace of Brennan Johnson, who has been in fine form, clinching nine goal contributions from his past 15 Premier League matches.

Still, Kulusevski is technically superior and will be pivotal in slowing down the pace of proceedings – Arsenal would love to exploit Spurs’ expansive, fast-flowing system with incisive breaks.

9

AM – James Maddison


James Maddison for Tottenham.

What a signing. What a player. While James Maddison’s match level has nosedived after the England international spent much of the winter months recovering from injury, he is still one of Europe’s elite playmakers, described as a “magician” by Statman Dave in the past.

As per FBref, the £170k-per-week phenom ranks among the top 8% of attacking midfielders and wingers across Europe’s top five leagues over the past year for assists, the top 6% for passes attempted and the top 1% for progressive passes and shot-creating actions per 90.

10

LW – Brennan Johnson


Brennan Johnson for Tottenham-1

With Kulusevski back in the starting line-up to aid Spurs in finding control and fluidity against suffocating opposition, Johnson must get the nod on the left in place of loanee Timo Werner.

The Wales international has gone from strength to strength after a slow start to his Tottenham career and he has the electric pace and developing potency in front of goal to hurt Mikel Arteta’s men.

11

CF – Heung-min Son


Heung-min Son celebrates for Tottenham.

Heung-min Son scored both the goals as Spurs picked up an excellent point at Arsenal earlier in the campaign and has enjoyed an excellent year as the team’s talisman, following Harry Kane’s sale to Bayern Munich last summer.

With 12 goals and five assists across 19 top-flight fixtures at centre-forward, the skipper will be one of the key components if Tottenham are to succeed.

Predicted Spurs lineup in full vs Arsenal: (GK) Guglielmo Vicario; (RB) Pedro Porro, (CB) Cristian Romero, (CB) Micky van de Ven, (LB) Ben Davies; (CM) Rodrigo Bentancur, (CM) Pape Matar Sarr; (RW) Dejan Kulusevski, (AM) James Maddison, (LW) Brennan Johnson; (CF) Heung-min Son

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