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Problems in Defense – Possible Tottenham Lineup vs Benfica

Wikimedia - Paulo Franco

Tottenham visit Lisbon to play Benfica at Da Luz on Thursday, March 20 in the second leg of their Europa League Round of 16 tie. Spurs lost the first leg 3-1 at home last week and face an uphill battle in their bid to continue their European campaign. Manager Tim Sherwood is under pressure after the Benfica defeat and two consecutive losses against local rivals Chelsea and Arsenal in the Premier League. In addition, he is facing many problems with starters missing out because of injury or suspension, especially in defense. Let’ s take a look at his options for the upcoming fixture.


Hugo Lloris will start in goal for Spurs, as he remains the undisputed no.1 choice for the manager.


Sherwood has many headaches over his defense, with Vlad Chiriches and Michael Dawson missing out because of injuries, Jan Vertonghen suspended and fellow centre-back Younes Kaboul doubtful. Moreover, right-back Kyle Walker could miss out as well. The Spurs’ manager could field Kyle Naughton (right) and Danny Rose (right) as full-backs and the makeshift central defensive partnership of Sandro and Zeki Fryers.


With Sandro moving to the back, Ettiene Capoue missing out because of injury and Moussa Dembele doubtful, Sherwood is expected to tinker with his midfield too, especially should the English media reports about Paulinho missing out as well prove to be true. Aaron Lennon (right) and Andros Townsend (right) should play as wide midfielders, Nabil Bentaleb could return in front of the back four in a 4-1-4-1 formation, while Nacer Chadli and Christian Eriksen may form the central defensive partnership.


English media report that Emmanuel Adebayor is another one who will miss the trip to Portugal after struggling with fitness issues. In that case, Roberto Soldado is expected to start, as a lone striker 4-1-4-1, or alongside Harry Kane in a 4-4-2 (or even 3-5-2) formation, should Sherwood decide to risk with two strikers, as after all, his side must score.

Possible lineup (4-1-4-1): Lloris; Naughton, Sandro, Fryers, Rose; Βentaleb; Lennon, Chadli, Eriksen, Townsend; Soldado.