Tanguy Ndombele

How should Tottenham line up under Mourinho?

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Jose Mourinho takes charge of his first game as Tottenham’s new manager on Saturday away at bitter rivals West Ham (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).

But who will start? What formation will he use? Which players will he favor?

There are plenty of questions around Mourinho’s team selection, as he’s already hinted that he will keep things very similar to Mauricio Pochettino in terms of personnel and tactics.

Here’s a look at who we think Mourinho will select if he has his strongest possible XI to choose from.


Jose Mourinho’s preferred XI at Tottenham?

—– Lloris —–

— Aurier — Sanchez — Alderweireld — Davies —

—- Dier —- Ndombele —-

—- Sissoko —- Dele —- Son —- 

—– Kane —–


Analysis

Mourinho loves players who are strong, powerful and know how to defend. This is why I’ve picked this XI above. Hugo Lloris is the obvious starting goalkeeper when he returns from injury, while Serge Aurier will get the nod at right back and Ben Davies at left back. Jan Vertonghen has shown signs of struggling this season, as Davinson Sanchez and Toby Alderweireld would be a preferred partnership for Mourinho. Although he did the try and sign both Eric Dier and Alderweireld while he was in charge of United, so perhaps that will be his go-to partnership if Dier isn’t deployed in midfield. Dier in central midfield would make Spurs more solid defensively as he could slot in for one of the back four if they push forward.

In midfield the duo of Dier and Tanguy Ndombele could play together, but don’t be surprised if Mourinho brings in Victor Wanyama alongside Dier to bring some extra stability. He could also place Moussa Sissoko back out on the wing to use his incredible engine in wide positions, as he loves wingers who can get up and down the pitch. Having Sissoko and Heung-Min Son flying up in support of target man Harry Kane (who will be asked to channel his inner Didier Drogba) would be Mourinho’s ideal scenario. When it comes to a key playmaker, Mourinho loves Dele Alli and he will hand him the keys to Spurs’ attack given his recent upturn in performances. Christian Eriksen, Vertonghen and Danny Rose all seem to be on the outside looking in as Mourinho’s arrival could spark their early departures in January.

There are clear winners and losers from Mourinho’s arrival with Dier, Dele Alli and Harry Kane delighted, while the likes of Eriksen, Vertonghen and Winks know it could well be the end of the road for them at Spurs, and even Giovani Lo Celso too, as his loan spell from Real Betis can end without a permanent deal in the summer.

Pochettino adamant that Spurs problems weren’t off the pitch

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Mauricio Pochettino doesn’t think one big win makes everything okay at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, but he also thinks it wasn’t that bad anyway.

“The problem was on the pitch and that is all,” Pochettino said after Spurs thumped Red Star Belgrade 5-0 in UEFA Champions League action on Tuesday. “It’s normal to see problems on the pitch, and you try to find a way to spark the team. But things happen in football you can’t explain. It is so difficult and complex to explain.”

[ MORE: Match recap ]

Spurs got braces from Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son and two-assist days for Tanguy Ndombele and Erik Lamela.

Lamela also scored as Spurs built some positivity ahead of a big Premier League test from Liverpool at Anfield on Sunday.

“The most important thing is to be together and be calm and know that this type of thing can happen in any team,” he said. “It is most import to show togetherness. If you do not win, the reason is because you are not performing on the pitch, not something that happens outside of the pitch.”

Despite their relative struggles, Spurs are five points off the Top Four in the Premier League and on pace to qualify for the knockout rounds of the Champions League.

“It’s great for the confidence and tomorrow a day off because we scored five goals.”

Five-star Spurs thump Red Star Belgrade

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Erik Lamela set up two early goals and later scored as Tottenham Hotspur broke out of its funk to record a 5-0 win over Red Star Belgrade in UEFA Champions League play on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

Heung-Min Son scored twice and Harry Kane also scored as Spurs earned their first win of the group stage. Tanguy Ndombele joined Lamela with two assists.

Red Star is now 1W-12L ahead of the return fixture in Serbia.


Three things

1. Sweet release for Harry Kane: Tottenham’s talisman was ready from the first minute, and delivered a perfect header off a ninth minute corner kick for 1-0. There wasn’t much to worry about the rest of the way as Kane scored twice while taking six shots against a team which won’t be pleased to have to do it again come two weeks time in Serbia.

2. Well, actually, for almost everyone: Considering Spurs were an absolute shambles against Bayern Munich and have not impressed in domestic play, the win could be a welcome and positive kick in the pants for many Tottenham men. Serge Aurier‘s day against Bayern was possibly the worst performance of any Spurs player this year, and the Frenchman had an assist and was better versus Red Star (the right opponent at the right time, we might add). Dele Alli had one of his better games in a while, and Tanguy Ndombele hasn’t been poor but his two-assist night is a welcome sign.

3. Lamela helps pulls the strings: The Argentine was simply sensational early (and pretty good late, as he scored in the second half). Kane will get the love for the corner kick goal. but the second assist was all about Lamela.

Look…

at this…

ball.

 

Man of the Match: Lamela

 


The basics provided Tottenham’s opener, with Kane running off the near post to meet a corner kick and turning a header across goal and inside the far post. Pretty stuff, and good timing. Nerves settled after nine minutes.

Son made it 2-0 seven minutes later, getting on the end of a bouncing Erik Lamela cross to volley home.

Spurs’ third first-half goal was Son again, as the South Korean raced 60 yards to become a back post option after Tanguy Ndombele caused a turnover at midfield.

If anyone deserved Spurs next marker, it was Lamela. The Argentine made it so after Harry Kane’s classy long pass to Serge Aurier was turned onto his path in the 57th.

Bayern annihilates putrid Tottenham in 7-star showing

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Let’s be straight-forward: Serge Gnabry and Robert Lewandowski humiliated Tottenham Hotspur’s abject back line in a 6-2 demolition of the hosts at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in North London on Tuesday.

[ MORE: Full lineups, stats, box score ]

Ex-Arsenal academy man Gnabry scored four times and Lewandowski twice while Joshua Kimmich also scored an extraordinary curler for Bayern in the blowout.

Olympiacos lost to Red Star Belgrade, which puts Spurs in the group’s third place. Bayern’s six points account for a four-point lead on the rest of the group.


Three things we learned

1. Lewandowski too powerful: It’s stunning to consider that Robert Lewandowski has never been named to a FIFPro World XI. The Polish striker started a move at the right end line, torching Jan Vertonghen, then worked himself back to the top of the 18 to pick up a loose ball and touch to his right before lashing inside the near post. Lewandowski added another to give Bayern six on the day. He now has 14 goals through 10 matches this season across all competitions.

2. Kane’s fine run (kinda) ends: Making penalties is pretty important, but Kane’s 61st minute success was his only real moment of impact in the match. He skied a free kick over the goal and saw a yellow card in the match. He had a goal or an assist in each of his last five matches, and continued that run. That’s really the lone positive from his day.

3. Serge Gnabry has a field day with Spurs back line, especially one fullback: Danny Rose and Serge Aurier did not deliver the goods at left and right back on Tuesday, with Rose cooked in the run-up to Kimmich’s opener. Aurier was roasted by Gnabry on his first goal, and then didn’t even bother to sprint behind the blazing Gnabry as he completed his hat trick by reaching a long ball from Thiago Alcantara. It’s the sort of move which would doom a player to the bench for weeks, but Spurs are very, very thin at fullback.

The ex-Arsenal man Gnabry added a fourth goal to complete the score line and would’ve loved his return to North London, having spent 2011-16 with Spurs’ heated rivals. He was magnificent.


Spurs struck first through Son in the 12th minute, as Corentin Tolisso passed to no man’s land. Moussa Sissoko took advantage of the giveaway, which carried a hint of a Dele Alli foul, and slid Son into the box.

Manuel Neuer could only get a hand on the South Korean’s shot as it headed for the side panel.

The lead lasted three minutes, and the equalizer was a beauty. Kimmich absolutely cooked Tanguy Ndombele with a cutback and whipped a vicious shot across goal and into the upper reaches of it.

Neuer and Lloris were each tested in the next five minutes, the latter by a Philippe Coutinho arrow in the 21st. The Bayern goalkeeper made an arm save on a hard Ndombele drive in the 25th.

Son ripped a shot wide at the half hour mark, an attempt to beat Neuer to the near post.

Former Arsenal man Gnabry would’ve loved scoring at the home of his former rivals, as he outlasted a dreadful challenge from Aurier and then blazed past a wooden Toby Alderweireld to blast past Lloris.

Gnabry scored again off a Harry Winks error, slipped into the 18 to dig out a shot that beat a diving Lloris.

Rose won a penalty kick off a high challenge with Kingsley Coman, sending Kane to the spot for his lone moment of the match.

Instead of inspiring a comeback, the goal spurred Bayern back into business. Gnabry added two more sandwiched around another classy Lewandowski finish.

Kane volley helps 10-man Spurs outlast Saints

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Hugo Lloris was terrible and game-saving in North London as 10-man Spurs beat Southampton 2-1 on Saturday at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

[ MORE: Watch full PL match replays ]

Lloris made an awful gaffe for Spurs to allow Danny Ings to score Saints’ only goal, but was tremendous in the second half.

Harry Kane and Tanguy Ndombele scored Tottenham’s goals, as Spurs rise fourth with 11 points and Saints dip 14th with seven points.


Three things we learned

1. Lloris quite resilient after eye-popping error: Tottenham’s backstop made about as poor a move as you’ll see from a goalkeeper in possession. He sensed a charging Danny Ings and, while inside of his goal mouth, tried to turn the Saints striker with a playground cutback. Problem is he missed the ball, and Ings is well at home in the box.

But Lloris showed resolve and was outstanding in the second half as Spurs held onto its Kane-inspired lead. His stop on Maya Yoshida‘s header was especially lovely.

2. Ings scores in another big game: The former Saints academy man has four goals this season. The first came with pressure on Adrian as Saints scared Liverpool, the next two in the emphatic south coast derby defeat of Portsmouth at midweek, and the latest via his relentless pursuit of Lloris. After all of his injuries, it feels good to see the poacher out there poaching.

3. Ndombele the difference: He’s our Man of the Match, belting home Spurs opener and just commanding the midfield in a way that made it look like the game was still 11v11 after Aurier’s red card. He won 13 of 17 duels and drew six fouls out of Southampton. Along with Kane, Ndombele will be key to everything Spurs want to do this season.

Man of the Match: Ndombele


Spurs were just a bit off, as they’ve been for some time, with Harry Lane missing a bid for a second-straight week with an acrobatic goal, and Heung-Min Son‘s cut back for Tanguy Ndombele send a bit behind the big midfielder.

Ndombele gave Spurs its lead with a near mirror image chance, Son laying off for the Frenchman to belt past Angus Gunn. The goalkeeper will regret not making a better play on the ball.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

That’s when Aurier was sent off for a needless second yellow card, and Lloris’ error followed suit.

The French goalkeeper, in his goal mouth, tried to dribble his way past a pressing Ings and instead missed the ball and left the striker with an empty cage.

Fortunately for him, he’d make up for the error and then some. More fortunately for him, Spurs answered quickly through a combination of Son, Eriksen, and Kane’s ability to make up for a poor first touch and lash past Gunn.

Back to Lloris, he turned his game up after halftime to stop a James Ward-Prowse free kick and a point-blank Maya Yoshida header.