Tottenham players will be eager to impress new manager Antonio Conte, who kickstarts his reign against Vitesse on Thursday.

A difficult few weeks involving some pretty bad results concluded with Tottenham sacking Nuno Espirito Santo. Following the abrupt ending to the Portuguese’s tenure, four months after his appointment, Spurs are set to embark on a new journey under the tutelage of Antonio Conte.

The Italian’s first task as new Tottenham boss would be to get the team out of their slump and bring in a run of positive results. Starting with the contest against Vitesse Arnhem in the UEFA Europa Conference League, Conte will have to steer the team into a promising position after his predecessor could only secure four points from their first three games in the competition.

Spurs lost the reverse fixture in the Netherlands with the home side securing a narrow victory. The north London side are placed third in their group currently, two points below their opponents on Thursday, although a win would take them above them and probably at the very top if Rennes falter in their clash.

Vitesse find themselves in a promising position on the table, sitting second ahead of their hosts, Tottenham. A win would allow the Dutch side to open up a sizeable gap between themselves and Spurs. However, the visitors will be aware that it could be a daunting task to topple a Conte-led side, although they will take confidence from their performance reverse fixture last month.

Vitesse’s recent form in Eredivisie has also improved, with the team winning four of their last six games. Thomas Letsch’s men have shown resilience away from home, winning their last five games on the road in the build-up to their clash with Tottenham.

Team News & Tactics

Tottenham

As Conte embarks on improving Spurs in the short and long term, the question remains over his formation for the first game. The Italian prefers a 3-5-2 system, having deployed a similar shape or a variant at Inter Milan and Chelsea previously. However, he will still thoroughly assess the players at his disposal before making a proper decision.

In any case, Conte is expected to rest most of the players he considers starters in the Premier League. This could allow some of the fringe stars to showcase their talents to their new boss and impress him for the long run.

However, Conte would still want to select some of the senior pros for this game so that Tottenham are in a position wherein their chances of qualifying for the next round are not completely blown away. Thus, Cristian Romero, Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Sergio Reguilon, Lucas Moura and Harry Kane could all start the game.

Meanwhile, the Italian could also use the Conference League platform to give beleaguered stars such as Dele Alli and Matt Doherty a chance to stake a claim for regular involvement.

Probable Lineup (3-5-2): Gollini; Tanganga, Romero, Rodon; Doherty, Alli, Hojbjerg, Skipp, Reguilon; Kane, Moura

Vitesse Arnhem

Thomas Letsch will field a strong lineup against Spurs as results in this competition matter more to the Dutch side. The manager might retain most of the players who started the reverse fixture against the Premier League outfit last month.

Letsch is likely to mirror Conte’s style of a back three, although he usually likes to opt for a midfield four. Maximilian Wittek, who scored the winner in the reverse fixture, will, unfortunately, miss out through an injury he sustained in the same game. Left-back Million Manhoef has a knee problem, which could keep him out.

Yann Gboho could be in line to replace the full-back on the teamsheet. Letsch could also have Matus Bero back in the side after being unavailable for domestic fixtures due to a suspension.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Schubert; Doekhi, Bazoer, Rasmussen; Dasa, Bero, Tronstad, Gboho; Frederiksen, Openda; Darfalou

Key Stats

  • Vitesse and Tottenham have played once before, with the Dutch side winning the contest in the reverse fixture.
  • Vitesse are on a five-game winning streak away from home
  • Vitesse have won four of their last six games in all competitions.
  • Tottenham have lost three of their last four games in all competitions.
  • Tottenham will be Antonio Conte’s second team in English football, with the Italian having managed Chelsea for two seasons before.

Player To Watch

Harry Kane

Embed from Getty Images

All eyes will undoubtedly be on Antonio Conte on Thursday, but the spotlight will remain fixed on Harry Kane as well, to see his reaction on the pitch as he embarks on a new era at the club under their latest manager. The England captain has been abysmal in his performances this season in the league, although he has scored three goals in the UEFA Europa Conference League.

He has to show the Italian manager what he is capable of and his ability to cope with pressure following a difficult period for him personally and the club as well. Kane has the opportunity to shine for Spurs against Vitesse and help them make it into the next round.

Prediction

Tottenham 2-0 Vitesse

Conte’s arrival will likely boost the side’s confidence and motivate the players to perform at their best level to impress the new manager. Either way, Tottenham look stronger in every department in comparison to their Dutch counterparts.

We are expecting a straightforward victory for the Lilywhites against Vitesse, with the visitors unlikely to spoil the Conte party in north London. The Dutch side’s away form should not be taken lightly, but the Italian tactician is more than capable of tackling them and securing three points in his first game.

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