Football

Tottenham predicted lineup vs Aston Villa


Tottenham Hotspur welcome Aston Villa to north London in the Premier League on Sunday.

Unlike many revellers with sore heads, Spurs historically love New Year’s Day. No team has recorded more Premier League victories (10) or scored more goals (32) on 1 January than Spurs in the competition’s history.

Here’s the XI Antonio Conte may deploy to extend Tottenham’s stellar record at the start of a new year.

Son Heung-Min

Son Heung-min has scored in just one Premier League game all season / Eddie Keogh/GettyImages

GK: Hugo Lloris – In a repeat of the World Cup final, Lloris could be guarding the sticks in the goal opposite Argentina’s Emi Martinez.

CB: Cristian Romero – He may have made as many tackles as Lionel Messi at the World Cup, but Romero’s Argentina lifted the trophy with the Spurs man firmly in situ.

CB: Eric Dier – “Tactically, physically, mentally.” These were the areas where Conte has made a ‘big difference’ to Dier’s game according to the player himself.

CB: Ben Davies – The first Premier League defeat Davies ever suffered was against Aston Villa while playing for Swansea in 2012. A decade on, Davies hasn’t lost to the claret-clad club since, going unbeaten in eight outings and even scoring a rare goal (W6 D2).

RWB: Matt Doherty – Or should it be Matthew? Conte seems hell-bent on exclusively referring to the Republic of Ireland international by his full first name. Why not throw in his middle name (James) to go the whole hog?

CM: Rodrigo Bentancur – Before jetting off to Qatar and getting injured, Bentancur charged into the winter break on the back of four goals in six games for Spurs.

CM: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – With more than half the campaign still to play, Hojbjerg has matched his career-best tally of four Premier League goals in a single season.

LWB: Ivan Perisic – No Premier League outfielder played more minutes at the World Cup yet Croatia’s Perisic returned to start Tottenham’s first match back.

RW: Dejan Kulusevski – At 22, Kulusevski is the youngest male footballer to be voted Sweden’s player of the year since a 21-year-old Tomas Brolin snatched the crown in 1990.

ST: Harry Kane – According to Hojbjerg: “The biggest mistake you can do in football is to doubt Harry Kane.”

LW: Son Heung-min – Last year’s Premier League Golden Boot winner hasn’t scored in top-flight start all season.



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