It’s a very important week at Hotspur Way as Nuno Espirito Santo gets his team ready to start the 2021/22 Premier League season against Man City.
An extremely tough opener with the champions coming to town on the first weekend, Tottenham will go into the game buoyed by an impressive performance against Arsenal.
While Pep Guardiola’s men will be hot favourites to start off their title defence with three points, City don’t exactly have a very good record at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, having lost all three of their visits to N17 since the club’s state-of-the-art home opened in April 2019.
So what does Espirito Santo need to sort out over the coming days as he gets his plans in place? football.london takes a look.
Is Kane involved?
Harry Kane is now back at Hotspur Way after returning to the club’s base on Saturday from his summer break.
Unable to train with the rest of the squad at present as he has to isolate after returning from the Bahamas, the 28-year-old is currently at The Lodge and able to train on his own as he steps up his fitness.
Kane will be able to rejoin his teammates towards the end of the week ahead of the Man City game and that means he could possibly be available for the encounter if he is indeed involved in training.
It had been previously reported that Kane was not expected to play a part in the opening fixture but that will all come down to the head coach’s thinking for his first league game in charge.
A decision has to be made one way or another on whether he isn’t involved, is named on the bench or starts.
The Ndombele question
Tanguy Ndombele hasn’t played a single minute for Tottenham in pre-season despite returning for training at the start of July.
Missing out on France’s Euro 2020 squad, the Frenchman was expected to hit the ground running this summer in his bid to prove the doubters wrong.
However, despite training regularly at Hotspur Way, Ndombele, who has recently become a father for the first time, hasn’t been included in any of the five matchday squads.
“We have all the players, we have to assess all the individual aspects of each and every one of the players,” said Espirito Santo after Sunday’s 1-0 win over Arsenal.
“Tanguy is not with us today. He is not injured but we consider it is not yet the moment for him to be part of the game.”
Certainly not match fit given his lack of football and extremely unlikely to start against City, Espirito Santo and Spurs need to sort the situation out for good to stop it becoming a major talking point over the coming weeks.
Espirito Santo appears to be there or thereabouts with his Tottenham team going on his past couple of selections in their pre-season games.
Hugo Lloris looks on course to start in goal ahead of Pierluigi Gollini, with Eric Dier and Sergio Reguilon making up two of the back four.
A midfield trio of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, Oliver Skipp and Dele Alli then looks likely, with Steven Bergwijn, Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min continuing in attack.
There’s potentially two positions up for grabs in defence, although Japhet Tanganga may have made the right-back spot his own after a very good display against Arsenal and Espirito Santo’s surprise call to not give Matt Doherty any minutes.
Davinson Sanchez will be the favourite to start at centre-back if Cristian Romero isn’t deemed fit enough to play, with Joe Rodon also a candidate after getting some minutes under his belt on Sunday in the Arsenal win.
Tottenham have already made their mark in the transfer market this summer with the arrivals of Gollini, Romero and Bryan Gil.
More are likely to follow before the transfer deadline at the end of August, with Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez a potential incoming after it was revealed on Sunday that the side had agreed on a fee for the Argentine.
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Confirming in his post-match press conference on Sunday that Romero had yet to train with the group due to a “problem” picked up in the Copa America but the issue is “much better” now, Espirito Santo must decide whether the new centre-back is named in the matchday squad.
The same goes for Gil as he is due to link up with his new teammates for the first time this week after representing Spain at the Olympics.
The winger doesn’t need to isolate upon his return and can instead get straight down to business with the team.
Tottenham fans are very excited to see their new players in action but they may just have to bide their time until they can watch them from the off.