The Premier League returns on Boxing Day, as Tottenham Hotspur travel to the Gtech Community Stadium to face Brentford on Monday.
The north Londoners went into the World Cup break fourth in the table, winning just two of their last five league games. As things stand, however, they are just three points behind second-placed Manchester City having played a game more.
Spurs prepared well ahead of the resumption of the Premier League season, drawing 1-1 with OGC Nice at home on Wednesday.
Tottenham Team News
Having had a number of players at the World Cup, Tottenham boss Antonio Conte will have some big decisions to make against Brentford.
Brazilian forward Richarlison is facing a spell on the sidelines following a hamstring injury he suffered on World Cup duty with Brazil, while Rodrigo Bentancur will be absent for the Boxing Day trip to Brentford.
It is unclear when France goalkeeper Hugo Lloris and Argentina defender Cristian Romero are expected back in action after their participation in last weekend’s World Cup final.
Lucas Moura seems unlikely to start given he is not yet up to scratch fitness wise.
Predicted Tottenham Lineup vs Brentford (3-4-2-1)
With Hugo Lloris unlikely to return back in time for the Boxing Day fixture, Fraser Forster will deputise in goal against Brentford. He will be keen to impress the manager with a strong performance in west London.
Lining up in the favoured 3-4-2-1 formation, Eric Dier, Clement Lenglet and Ben Davies are likely to form the back three in the Tottenham lineup. Lenglet will be at the heart of the Spurs’ backline, with Dier and Davies on either side of the Frenchman.
Against a strong Brentford side, Spurs will need to defend well throughout the 90 minutes to earn a clean sheet.
Yves Bissouma and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg will act as the shield for the Spurs backline. Bissouma and Hojbjerg both should look to help their side dominate possession in the middle of the park, whilst disrupting Brentford’s rhythm of play on their own patch.
Emerson Royal and Matt Doherty are likely to operate as the wing-backs in the Tottenham lineup, hoping to provide creativity, energy and width to Conte’s side. Their roles in the team will be crucial in stretching Brentford’s defence from the wide areas.
Harry Kane, who returned to training on Monday after a week’s holiday which followed the World Cup exhaustions with England, was rested for the final friendly against OGC Nice before the Brentford game. He should walk into the Tottenham lineup though, and look to start off the second part of the campaign on a high.
With Kane leading the attack, Son Heung-min and Dejan Kulusevski should act as the No.10s and look to wreak havoc against Brentford with their pace, creativity and directness.
Bryan Gil, Ryan Sessegnon and Pape Matar Sarr could be involved off the bench at some point in the second half against Thomas Frank’s side.