Tottenham host Fulham in north London for a Premier League capital derby on Saturday afternoon.
Spurs welcome the Cottagers to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium just three days after drawing with West Ham in midweek. Under Antonio Conte, Spurs have often struggled when the fixtures begin to stack up. When Tottenham have been given four days or fewer to prepare, they have averaged 1.4 points compared to 2.4 when Conte and his staff are afforded a full week.
With a midweek fixture scheduled at every available opening until the November World Cup – aside from the international break – Tottenham will have ample opportunity to rectify that underwhelming record.
Here’s the XI Conte may deploy this weekend to begin the process.
GK: Hugo Lloris – Tottenham’s skipper celebrated exactly a decade at Spurs with a draw against West Ham on Wednesday night.
CB: Davinson Sanchez – A ten-hour long streak of not conceding while on the pitch for Spurs was punctured by Tomas Soucek’s equaliser in midweek.
CB: Eric Dier – The pair only overlapped at Sporting CP for a matter of months but Marco Silva – now manager of Fulham – was effusive in his praise for the “amazing boy” who left for Spurs under his watch.
CB: Ben Davies – Since Conte’s arrival in November, Davies has started all but one Premier League home game.
RWB: Emerson Royal – The Brazilian was almost bullied into taking up football by an unrelenting cousin that would constantly dribble past him in the back garden. Only three members of the Premier League elite have been able to wriggle beyond Emerson this season.
CM: Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg – The self-declared “Viking” has only been actively dropped for one Premier League game in two years at Tottenham – they lost 2-0 to Wolves.
CM: Yves Bissouma – A player who collected 19 cards across the last two seasons already has more yellow cards than starts for Tottenham.
LWB: Ivan Perisic – The 2018 World Cup finalist has also represented Croatia in beach volleyball, playing a highly ranked Brazilian pair that trounced Perisic and his partner in straight sets.
RW: Dejan Kulusevski – Nosey neighbours can be a nuisance but the particularly curious people next door to Kulusevski’s childhood home were the first that alerted Dejan’s mother to his footballing potential. She duly signed him up to a club and the rest is history.
ST: Harry Kane – Tottenham‘s talisman has scored six goals in five career meetings with Fulham, including an FA Cup hat-trick in 2017.
LW: Son Heung-min – The South Korean may not have opened his account for the season yet, but Conte is emphatically a fan of his. “If I have to find a husband for my daughter I’d like it to be a person like him,” the Italian confessed. It’s unclear what Son would make of having Conte as a father-in-law.