Sandro to return?

Amid all the Frank de Boer talk there is the small matter of a televised foot ball game on Saturday lunchtime against West Ham United who have beaten us twice already this season.

With two games to go the fight for European football in within our own hands, win both games and we have Europa League football next season. Plenty of fans don't want it, citing Liverpool as the reason why but Liverpool's success is more down to their Sports Psychologist than not playing European football.

Everton for instance don't play European football and they don't usually climb the table. They have improved but are where they are mainly because Manchester United and ourselves have got worse.

European football is essential to attract players, for European exposure and for the income, not to mention the winners of the Europa League get a Champions League berth next season. It depends upon how we wish to use the competition but with 72 professionals on our books I believe it is, their is no reason we can't field a second team in the group stages and develop youngsters. It depends upon the group but you'd expect us to qualify from it and then we could reassess how to approach the latter stages.

So the West Ham game carries importance, it's a game we need to win, then a point in our final game would be enough to secure the final European berth.

Jan Vertonghen is unlikely to be fit enough despite starting training again and with Michael Dawson putting up an excellent display alongside Younes Kaboul in the clean sheet at Stoke City the pair are likely to be retained.

Kyle Naughton and Danny Rose will continue at full-backs in front of Hugo Lloris in a back five that picks itself.

Harry Kane and Emmanuel Adebayor are likely to continue with both scoring goals so that just leaves the midfield where we might see changes. Aaron Lennon can be pencilled in on the right and Christian Eriksen on the left with free rein to roam inside.

The two central position are between Mousa Dembele, Paulinho, Chadli, Sigurdsson and Sandro. Bentaleb being young is being being protected from burn out after a run of games and will sit on the bench while Etienne Capoue like Vertonghen won't be fit enough having only just returned to training.

West Ham have beaten us with midfield runners or with long ball pumped at Vlad Chiriches. With Andy Carroll in the side long ball tactics are common place at across London, hardly surprising then that the fans want Allardyce out.

The defensive midfielder may need to be competent in the air so I have a feeling we may see the return of Sandro alongside Paulinho with Dembele on the bench if he is fit enough to make the squad. The Brazilian stood in as centre-half alongside Zeki Fryers against Benfica in the away leg and would help defend against the route one West Ham way.

Chadli is more of an attacking midfield and has defensive lapses while Sigurdsson is again more of an attacker with defensive weaknesses, both may well have to take their place on the bench.

Knock downs are important from any Carroll header so his experience gives him an edge over Bentaleb and aerial ability over Dembele. You could argue we have just played the same at Stoke with peter Crouch but Stoke tried to play football more than Stoke teams in the past, even if it did have the play the man rough house approach.

If Sandro does return let's hope his performance is an upgrade on his last below par efforts.

Naughton Dawson Kaboul Rose
Lennon Paulinho Eriksen
Kane Adebayor

Subs: Friedel, Fryers, Chadli, Bentaleb, Dembele, Sigurdsson, Soldado

06th Spurs W20 D6 L10 66pts
14th WHU W10 D7 L19 37pts

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