Nuno Espirito Santo’s Tottenham XI vs Man City and the three decisions that may alter his plans – Football.London

Tottenham will be hoping Manchester City’s wretched record at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium carries on this Sunday when the two teams meet in the Premier League.

Following the opening of Spurs’ state-of-the-art stadium back in April 2019, Pep Guardiola’s men have lost on all three of their visits so far, including last season’s 2-0 defeat back in November.

Certainly a daunting first game of the campaign against the Premier League champions, it may in fact be the best time to play them with the team not in full swing and potentially some key players resting after their Euro 2020 exertions.

Nuno Espirito Santo and his Tottenham team have enjoyed a good summer so far and the next few days will see them finalise their preparations as they bid to start the new campaign in the best way possible.

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Lining up in a 4-3-3 formation in their five summer friendlies, the new boss appears to have decided on his set-up, but he may have a couple of positions still up for grabs in his XI.

So who exactly will start and who could come into the side on Sunday to face Man City? takes a look.


Hugo Lloris was back in goal on Sunday for the win over Arsenal and looks set to keep his place between the sticks against Man City.

Pierluigi Gollini has done well in his game time so far but he will have to bide his time and wait for a chance in Spurs’ cup matches.


This is one of the positions that could potentially change from the victory against Arsenal.

Japhet Tanganga did extremely well in the win and looked to have made the right-back position his own, yet he went off with a knock in the final five minutes and it’s still not clear if he will be fit enough to play or not.

If available, Tanganga would possibly be the best bet to start there ahead of either Matt Doherty or Serge Aurier as Spurs will need a defensively-minded player to nullify Jack Grealish.


Eric Dier looks a certain starter against Man City after featuring regularly for Tottenham over the course of pre-season.

However, a question mark remains over who exactly starts alongside him.

Davinson Sanchez was in fine form in Sunday's 1-0 win over Arsenal
Davinson Sanchez was in fine form in Sunday’s 1-0 win over Arsenal

Davinson Sanchez will be the favourite to get the nod after a strong showing against the Gunners and it would be extremely harsh to drop him from the XI as he was excellent.

New signing Cristian Romero could be an option providing of course that he has fully recovered from the knee injury that he sustained while playing for Argentina at the Copa America.

Espirito Santo did mention on Sunday that the 23-year-old’s issue is “much better” but they have to be careful and not take any chances with him.

It may be wise to ease Romero in over the coming games rather than throwing him in against the champions if he is fit enough to be included.

Joe Rodon is another option for the boss, but the fact Sanchez started ahead of him last Sunday suggests he will be on the bench for the first league game of the season.


It’s a pretty simple decision for Espirito Santo at left-back with Sergio Reguilon selected in the position.

Ben Davies didn’t feature against Arsenal and will take his place on the bench, with Ryan Sessegnon unlikely to be involved after not playing in pre-season because of injury.

Central midfield

The head coach has so far used a three-man midfield in Tottenham’s pre-season games, with Dele Alli moving forward to form a front four when the team are in possession.

Excellent against Arsenal last weekend and looking like he has adapted to his new role in the team, it would be a shock if the former MK Dons man didn’t start.

Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg is a must in midfield and, most importantly, doesn’t appear to be feeling the effects of such a quick turnaround after reaching the semi-finals of Euro 2020 with Denmark.

Oliver Skipp is impressing in pre-season for Tottenham after his return from Norwich
Oliver Skipp is impressing in pre-season for Tottenham after his return from Norwich

Oliver Skipp has been excellent in pre-season and does appear to have jumped ahead of both Harry Winks and Moussa Sissoko in the pecking order.

Needing some midfield stability in there due to Man City’s array of attacking options, the England U21 international should carry on in the middle alongside Hojbjerg.

Giovani Lo Celso can be an option from the bench as he was in the home fixture last November, with Tanguy Ndombele looking on course to miss out completely after failing to appear in any of the team’s five pre-season games.

Right wing

Lucas Moura has been in top form in pre-season and has impressed as part of a front three with Son Heung-min and Steven Bergwijn.

Chipping in with goals and assists in the team’s friendlies, the Brazilian is a must as part of the attacking trio.

Left wing

Bergwijn has also looked more like his old self this summer after such a frustrating 2020/21 season at Tottenham.

Very impressive in the MK Dons game as he took the game to them and also netting against Chelsea, the Dutchman should start but he could be the fall guy if Harry Kane comes into the XI.

It would be incredibly harsh on the winger if he did indeed miss out on selection though after such an impressive pre-season.


This is all going to depend on Espirito Santo’s thinking over Kane.

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Returning to Hotspur Way last Saturday and isolating at The Lodge, the England captain has been training on his own but is expected to join up with his teammates on Thursday.

It is then down to the boss to decide whether the striker, who has been linked with a big-money move to City, is involved or not.

If he does indeed start then it will likely be bad news for Bergwijn as Son would be likely to play wide in his position on the left after playing centrally recently.

Expected Tottenham XI vs Man City: Lloris; Tanganga, Sanchez, Dier, Reguilon; Hojbjerg, Skipp, Alli; Lucas, Bergwijn, Son.

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