Tottenham want to get back on track in the race for Champions League qualification when they take on Cardiff City this Sunday, March 2 at White Hart Lane. Spurs became the first English side to win in this season’s knock-out stages of European competitions, beating Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk 3-1 at home last Thursday to secure a place in the last 16 of the Europa League. However, in the Premier League, they lost their last match 1-0 at Norwich and fell six points behind fourth-placed Liverpool. With the Reds facing a tricky test at Southampton on Saturday, a Tottenham win would throw the race for fourth wide open again.
Tim Sherwood opted to play with two strikers against the Ukrainians, with his side needing to win by two clear goals to beat a 1-0 defeat in the first leg. And while Emmanuel Adebayor came up with the goods twice -Christian Eriksen got the other goal – Roberto Soldado fired blanks once again, so the manager could return to a 4-1-4-1 formation against Cardiff. Let’s take a look at his options.
Sherwood did not rotate his keepers for the game against Dnipro, with Hugo Lloris retaining his place, after Brad Friedel started in the first leg. The French keeper will get the nod once again.
Kyle Walker is expected to return from a hip injury to play on the right, replacing Kyle Naughton, who started there against the Ukrainians. On the left, Zeki Fryers made a good impression last time out in Europe, serving a goal for Adebayor, and could keep his place should Danny Rose fail a late fitness test for a knee problem. Michael Dawson and Jan Vertonghen remain in the centre of defence, with Younes Kaboul and Vlad Chiriches still out.
Sandro started a Tottenham game for the first time since December on Thursday and helped his team progress to the next stage of the Europa League. The fans’ favorite could start for a second successive game guarding the back four, with Ettiene Capoue remaining on the bench. Nabil Bentaleb replaced Sandro in the last minutes against Dnipro and now could return to play alongside Paulinho in central midfield. Aaron Lennon too played a handful of minutes on Thursday, but will be back ahead of Andros Townsend on the right, while Moussa Dembélé is favorite to start on the left. But, Chirstian Eriksen had a good game last time out against Dnipro and is pushing to play, with Nacer Chadli waiting his opportunity as another alternative.
Emanuel Adebayor had to start against Dnipro in order to keep Spurs’ European campaign alive and did so, but there will be no rest for the Togolese striker. Roberto Soldado is expected to stay on the bench, while Jermain Defoe will link up with Toronto FC. Erik Lamela remains out.
Probable lineup (4-1-4-1): Lloris; Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Fryers; Sandro; Lennon, Paulinho, Bentaleb, Dembélé ; Adebayor.