Tottenham manager Antonio Conte could start fringe players such as Japhet Tanganga, Bryan Gil, Djed Spence and Lucas Moura vs Sporting Lisbon as he looks to arrest his side’s alarming slump in form. Spurs were enjoying their best start to a Premier League season – but have lost their last two matches against Manchester United and Newcastle and the Italian will be looking for rapid improvement in Wednesday’s Champions League fixture
Spurs had enjoyed a great start to the campaign with their 2-0 win over Everton earlier this month marking their best-ever start to a Premier League season after ten games. However, the consecutive defeats against the Red Devils and the Magpies have led to a loss of momentum, with fans starting to question Conte’s style.
Today’s match against Sporting holds huge importance in Spurs’ Champions League campaign. The club will ensure qualification to the knockout stages if they manage to claim a victory and will avenge their 2-0 defeat in the reverse fixture last month.
Given the importance of the fixture, Conte may make more dramatic changes as he looks to fix his side’s current decline. As a result, fringe stars like Moura, Gil, Tanganga and Spence could find themselves receiving match action that they have lacked so far this year.
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Moura and Gil are potentially the two players most likely to be involved during the match later today given the injuries to Dejan Kulusevski and Richarlison, with one place alongside Harry Kane and Heung-min Son up for grabs.
Conte has tried to bolster his midfield in the absence of the two attacking stars – but it has not worked, with Yves Bissouma, Rodrigo Bentancur and Pierre-Emilie Hojbjerg offering little in attacking areas. As a result, a return to a front three looks to be a good bet as the Italian looks to improve his team’s balance.
Defensive problems are also prevalent with the side leaking easy goals against both the Red Devils and Newcastle. Eric Dier has suffered a massive drop off in form over the past week while Clement Lenglet and Ben Davies have also been widely criticised. Cristian Romero has also been struggling with a niggle, opening the door for Tanganga to potentially have an opportunity to impress within the back three.
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Right wing-back has become something of a problem in recent weeks with neither Matt Doherty nor Emerson Royal impressing in the position. There have been strong calls from supporters for Spence to be given a chance. The England under-21 international is yet to make a start since his arrival from Middlesbrough in the summer but the Sporting fixture may finally be the time for Conte to give the player a go given the team’s current struggles.
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