Team vs Norwich

Next up is Norwich City at White Hart Lane on Saturday at the unusual time for us of 3pm! I'm looking forward to seeing the new boys in the flesh.

With Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen not being seen yet, except for a small Lamela cameo and Vlad Chiriches new as well, what our long term first choice team will be is a little early to predict so we'll look at this weekends upcoming fixture.

The back five at the moment pick themselves, Lloris, Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen and Rose.

We have just had an international break for 2 weeks and we have a Europa Cup game coming up on Thursday verses Tromso also at White Hart Lane kicking off at 8.05pm (20.05hrs) UK time. With that in mind and Younis Kaboul working his way back to match fitness, now mat not be the time to tinker with the central defensive pairing.

Come next Thursday it will be interesting to see who AVB goes with, presumably Kaboul, but will he play Chiriches as well? Anyway as I say it doesn't seem the right time to be tampering with the centre-backs, although you could make an argument that Dawson and Kaboul will have been training together for 2 weeks so could start leaving Thursday for Chiriches to make his debut alongside the experience of Vertonghen.

Kaboul and Vertonghen haven't been training together so pairing them against Norwich would be a risk. All things considered the back five remain the same.

Midfield, where we seem to have an embarrassment of riches, hinges around one decision really. Sandro will play the holding role and presumably Eriksen will play the attacking role so it's a toss up between Paulinho and Dembele.

Paulinho offers more going forward with penetrating runs into the box so he grabs the link midfielder role, Dembele will have to make do with a slot on the bench. Holtby is returning to fitness but is more likely to figure on Thursday.

Soldado will play central with Defoe yet again sitting on the bench, he must be getting sick of it already so he'll be needing a run out on Thursday as well. The wide men may not be so cut and dried as everyone things. Adebayor, who is another behind with his fitness due to the death of his brother is in Togo and won't be returning until Monday, not that he would have figured anyway. He has been told he will be training with the youth team when he gets back until Andre Villas-Boas decides otherwise.

Lamela played in Peru for Argentina in the early house of Wednesday morning, by the time he gets back to training he'll have little chance to work with the team so he may well start on the bench again. That gives us Townsend and Chiriches, assuming Lennon is not fit, to start on the wings.

Team:
Lloris
Walker, Dawson, Vertonghen, Rose
Paulinho, Sandro, Eriksen
Townsend, Soldado, Chadli

Subs: Friedel, Naughton, Kaboul, Holtby, Lamela, Sigurdsson, Defoe

Now I wrote this piece on Tuesday and was waiting until Friday to see if Lennon would be fit but AVB has made some comments today which coincide with my thoughts so I've released it a day earlier than planned.

On Christian Eriksen he told them: "What we did in the transfer market is in the expectancy of these players becoming world stars. I think what happened with Christian is a bit like what happened with Van der Vaart and Sneijder when they were at Ajax.

"They reached a moment in their careers where they became extremely important for the team, and the club that goes there and gets them makes a great transfer move, and we expect great things of Christian Eriksen. We would like to develop him into becoming that type of important player for us as well.

"Will he be in the line-up this weekend? There is a big possibility but it's not a certainty yet."

On Erik Lamela he told the media: "I think the qualities that he brings to our team are his creativeness, his ability to find a pass and the last pass that leads to a goal.

"He is a natural talent. He is not a pure winger, he is creative and likes to come inside and find different spaces. He's a player with tremendous potential that we have to work on.

"He is going to suffer problems of adaptation, bearing in mind the fact that he doesn't speak a word of English. He has to adapt to a completely different culture and mentality.

"Also the Premier League is very specific in its intensity. It's nothing like the Argentinean league or Serie A, so that will require some kind of adaptation, but for somebody so gifted it shouldn't be a problem. He is a wonderful, gifted footballer.

"The fact that he's yet to train with the team puts him in a very difficult position to start the game, but it's not impossible."

On Vlad Chiriches he said: “His work permit is not finalised yet. It's a process that takes a bit more time.

“He's fit and training and was involved in both games for Romania, but there's a possibility we won't see him involved.”




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