Tottenham begin their Premier League campaign by hosting newly promoted Aston Villa as Mauricio Pochettino eyes a victory to kick-start their season.
Tottenham would have been happy with how they concluded their transfer window, making some essential signings on deadline day. Overall those new faces will add more steel to their squad and make them a challenging prospect for Manchester City and Liverpool. With their current squad, Spurs are expected to put up a sustained challenge for the title one way or another.
They take on Aston Villa in their first game of the season. Spurs have performed well in recent seasons against newly-promoted sides. However, after the Villa game, Tottenham will play City, Newcastle United and Arsenal, meaning a win is essential in this match. Despite the early pressure, Spurs are equipped to deal with it, as they have shown in the past with a clinical streak.
Their opponents, Aston Villa, return to Premier League football after an absence of three years. The newly-promoted outfit may not have gained automatic promotion back to the top tier like Sheffield United or Norwich City. But, their spending has shown they intend to be here for the long haul.
After spending upwards of £100 million on new faces in the close season, Dean Smith will be aware of the progress he needs to achieve in the short-term. Fulham came back to the Premier League last season with a similar strategy, which backfired. Villa will be hoping to learn from those mistakes and begin the season with a good result, although getting that against Tottenham is quite a task.
Team News & Tactics
Mauricio Pochettino will have early concerns with injuries in his side for the league opener. Ben Davies and new signing Ryan Sessegnon are nursing injuries. Danny Rose, who was linked with a move to Watford on deadline day, is expected to start.
There will be familiar faces at the heart of the Tottenham defence, with Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen partnering up, while Kyle Walker-Peters will be the right-back.
New midfield signing Tanguy Ndombele, who had a good pre-season campaign with Tottenham, is a sure starter in central midfield alongside Harry Winks. Another summer signing Giovani Lo Celso though, is unlikely to feature. Moussa Sissoko is available, but Eric Dier is doubtful for the game. Victor Wanyama is also a significant doubt for this game as he too is nursing a problem.
There are more injuries to attacking stars, with Dele Alli out of this game. South Korean star Son Heung-min is also unavailable due to suspension. Erik Lamela is expected to come in Alli’s place. Christian Eriksen is also a doubt, as he is still surrounded by transfer speculation. Lucas Moura and Harry Kane will lead the line for Tottenham.
Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Lloris; Walker-Peters, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Rose; Sissoko, Ndombele, Winks; Lamela; Kane, Moura
Aston Villa made multiple signings in the summer to be ready for their first Premier League season after three years in the second tier. Despite that, Dean Smith cannot call upon each of his new signings for the first game owing to multiple problems.
Starting with Brazilian Douglas Diaz, who signed weeks ago, only arrived this week due to complications with his visa, meaning he will be unavailable. Marvelous Nakamba’s late arrival to the club means he is not match fit and hence, not ready for the Spurs game. However, Conor Hourihane could start for Villa.
Ezri Konsa, who happened to pick up a minor injury that ruled him out of Villa’s recent pre-season game with RB Leipzig, is likely to be unavailable. This could give a chance to fellow summer signing Bjorn Engels, who could start alongside Tyron Mings in central defence.
Elsewhere, Smith has to decide on who he might start on the left flank. Anwar El Ghazi and Trezeguet are both vying for a place there, although it does seem Dutchman El Ghazi will get the nod. Jack Grealish is expected to take his place in attacking midfield, while Wesley is the man to lead the line for Villa against Tottenham.
Probable Lineup (4-5-1): Heaton; Guilbert, Engels, Mings, Targett; Jota, McGinn, Hourihane, Grealish, El Ghazi; Wesley
1. Tottenham Asian Handicap -1.5 @ 1.970
2. Both Teams to Score – YES @ 2.00
1. Over 4.5 Match Goals @ 4.50
- Tottenham Hotspur will start a Premier League season at home for the first time since 2010, following eight successive seasons with an away match to begin their league campaign.
- Aston Villa have won just one of their last 17 competitive meetings with Tottenham Hotspur (W1 D3 L13).
- It’s the sixth time Tottenham are playing their opening game of a Premier League season against a promoted side, winning four of the previous five.
- Aston Villa have won their last three opening Premier League fixtures, with all three of these coming away from home
- After winning their first four games without conceding at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, Spurs are winless in their last three at their new home (D1 L2).
Player To Watch
Tottenham did make a number of signings as the transfer window slammed shut. Giovani Lo Celso was probably the most anticipated signing of them all, but it is the capture of Ndombele that caught the eye.
Despite intense competition from bigger clubs, including Manchester City, Ndombele chose Tottenham for their style of play and probably their manager. The Aston Villa game would give everyone a first glimpse of him. Ndombele is likely to be the key player for Tottenham this season, and this the opening could be his chance to make a mark.
The midfield is a critical area where Tottenham lost the Champions League final last season, critically missing the presence of someone like Mousa Dembele, and Pochettino has strengthened it the way he wanted. Ndombele needs to repay this faith now and start producing moments for his new club.
Tottenham Hotspur 4-1 Aston Villa
Despite the many players injured, Tottenham have the luxury to call upon quality players from a deep squad. Defensive injuries remain, but the players available are good enough to see off Aston Villa’s challenge. Additionally, the likes of Tanguy Ndombele, Harry Kane, Lucas Moura and Erik Lamela were all in superb touch during the pre-season and are likely to replicate it in the Premier League.
Villa did make some quality signings, splashing heavily in the window. However, on paper, they do not have what it takes to beat Tottenham. The Villans are set to mark their return to the Premier League with a defeat. As things look, Spurs are the overwhelming favourites to get all three points, with plenty of goals to be scored.