The season is one game old and already Tottenham Hotspur and Jose Mourinho are under some pressure.
A 1-0 defeat at home to Everton has left Spurs needing to bounce back in a week in which they face two fixtures. First up is a trip to Bulgaria on Thursday to face Lokomotiv Plovdiv, before an away trip to Southampton on Sunday.
On the surface, a match against low-level opposition in the Europa League would seem a great opportunity to get a confidence boosting victory, but it also provides a selection headache for Mourinho. Due to the current health crisis, the game is a straight knockout with no second-leg. There is little room for error and it will be interesting to see what team Mourinho selects.
On one hand picking close to his strongest side makes sense, but that could have an impact when it comes to facing Southampton on Sunday. The Southampton match kicks off at 12pm, giving very little recovery time after the trip back from Bulgaria. It might seem like hyperbole to describe anything as a ‘must win game’ at this stage of the season, but the performance was so limp and uninspired against Everton, that anything less than a victory against Southampton will heap on more pressure.
A lack of creativity was a major issue against Everton and this looks like a perfect match for Tanguy Ndombele to be involved in, as the Frenchman looks to prove his fitness to Mourinho. Giovani Lo Celso was injured for the Everton match, but was close to being involved, so could feature in this game and the match against Southampton.
It’s in attack where Mourinho will feel forced in his selection, due to a lack of options. An alternative striker to Harry Kane has yet to be signed, so the England captain may be asked to play in the Europa League and again in the Premier League on Sunday. Kane has already played two internationals in quick succession before the club season started.
Son could be employed as a striker, but that seems unlikely at a time when Mourinho is pushing the club to sign another out-and-out centre forward and is arguing that he has no real alternative to Kane.
With no fans at allowed in stadiums at present, live football on TV is the only way to watch games these days. The match against Lokomotiv Plovdiv will be shown on Premier Sports 2, while the game against Southampton will be broadcast on BT Sport.
So let’s hear your thoughts? Who do you want to see facing Lokomotiv Plovdiv on Thursday?