Huddersfield Town will host Tottenham Hotspur at the John Smith’s Stadium on Saturday afternoon as the Terriers look to take full advantage of Spurs’ growing fatigue.
The fixtures are really starting to pile up for Tottenham Hotspur as we reach the end of September, a busy period for clubs who consistently play in European competitions. And only three days after a strenuous Carabao Cup victory over Watford, Spurs will be up against Huddersfield Town at the John Smith’s Stadium this weekend.
The Lilywhites will be looking to for their second consecutive victory in the Premier League after coming on the back of a narrow 2-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion last weekend. But, the midweek win over Watford in the Carabao Cup third round will surely play a detrimental role, especially with the North London giants due to play FC Barcelona in the following midweek.
Huddersfield, on the other hand, have no such tedious fixture concerns, having already been knocked out of the Carabao Cup against Stoke City at the end of last month. Therefore, the Terriers have had a full week of rest coming into this clash that will surely help up their chances of snatching at least a point against the Premier League title challengers.
And here, at the Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over both the sides before their highly anticipated clash on Saturday afternoon.
Team news & tactics
Mauricio Pochettino is expected to make a host of changes this weekend, with the Argentine mastermind having one eye on the crucial Champions League fixture against FC Barcelona next midweek.
The Spurs boss has hinted that goalkeeper Hugo Lloris’ fitness will be assessed before the game but he will most likely be rested, which means Paulo Gazzaniga will retain his place in between the sticks.
Pochettino likes to rotate his fullbacks so we should expect Kieran Trippier and Danny Rose return to the starting lineup, replacing the duo of Serge Aurier and Ben Davies. In central defence, Jan Vertonghen will come into the side, replacing Toby Alderweireld, who will likely be rested for the Barcelona game.
Harry Winks and Victor Wanyama started the game against Watford in midweek. But, both the players will be replaced by first team regulars Eric Dier and Mousa Dembele at the base of Tottenham’s 4-2-3-1. Dele Alli, however, will retain his place as the lone attacking midfielder, on the wake of Christian Eriksen’s absence this weekend.
Alli will be partnered by the out-wide duo of Lucas Moura and Son Heung-Min in the final third with Harry Kane leading the attack. That being said, the English international could be replaced later in the second half as Pochettino looks to have him fully fit for the Barcelona clash.
Probable lineup (4-2-3-1): Gazzaniga; Trippier, Sanchez, Vertonghen, Rose; Dier, Dembele; Lucas, Alli, Son; Kane.
Unlike Tottenham, Huddersfield Town will have no reason to make any significant changes from the side that lost against Leicester City last week.
Jonas Lossl will start in goal, guarded by a five-man defensive backline consisting of Florent Hadergjonaj, Zanka, Christoph Schindler, Terence Kongolo and Chris Lowe. Huddersfield’s 5-4-1 shape allows them to become more flexible in transition with the fullbacks often oscillating down the flanks throughout various stages of the game.
In midfield, the presence of Aaron Mooy and Philip Billing will play a key role in their midfield pressing with coach David Wagner putting great emphasis on counter-pressing. Mooy’s industry coupled with Billing’s solidity should be enough for Huddersfield to take on Tottenham, who will be certainly fatigued following a gruelling schedule.
Elias Kachunga and Rajiv van La Parra will be deployed as wingers, though it won’t be a surprise to see them operating in a deeper position due to Tottenham’s efficiency, not only in possession but also in counter-attacks. However, should any counter-attacking opportunity arise, both are pacy enough to make full use of that opportunity, especially with someone like Laurent Depoitre lurking in the box.
Probable lineup (5-4-1): Lossl; Hadergjonaj, Zanka, Schindler, Kongolo, Lowe; La Parra, Billing, Mooy, Kachunga; Depoitre.
- Huddersfield were simply hammered by Tottenham last season, scoring none and conceding six goals over the course of two fixtures.
- Huddersfield are without a win in their last 10 Premier League matches and are one of only three teams yet to register a win in this new season.
- Spurs have lost two of their last five Premier League away games (W3), more than they had in their previous 11 on the road (W6 D4 L1).
- Huddersfield have also appeared ineffective in attack, having failed to score in their five home league games.
- Tottenham are unbeaten in each of their last seven games in all competition against Huddersfield, though only two of those meetings have come in this century (W4 D3).
Player to watch
With Christian Eriksen absent from this weekend’s encounter against Huddersfield, Alli will become an important attacking outlet for Spurs. The English international is already coming on the back of a solid performance against Watford, where he scored their first equalizer of the game.
His ability to carve out opposition defences with clever through balls and excellent movements could cause a lot of problems for Huddersfield especially given their dismal record this campaign. Furthermore, with Eric Dier and Mousa Dembele returning to first team action, Alli will have even more freedom in the final third as he looks to destroy the lowly Huddersfield defence this weekend.
Huddersfield 0-2 Tottenham
As mentioned earlier, Huddersfield have found it difficult to score goals lately at home, and that run may continue against an organized Tottenham defence. But more importantly, it will be their own defence, which could be on the receiving end of some heavy beating this weekend especially with the likes of Lucas Moura, Alli and Kane lurking in the final third.
Therefore, the Lilywhites are definitely favourites to seal all three points from this encounter before they meet Barcelona in next week’s Champions League blockbuster.