Tottenham face Newcastle United on Sunday afternoon in a huge Premier League clash that could go some way towards deciding which team ends up in the top four when the curtain closes on this season. Stand-in boss Cristian Stellini has so far failed to get a tune out of Spurs’ faltering players, and Express Sport takes you through how he could set out his side at St James’ Park, with peripheral star Arnaut Danjuma making a strong case to feature instead of one of Antonio Conte‘s old favourites, Dejan Kulusevski…
Approaching 450 appearances for the Lilywhites, 36-year-old World Cup winner Hugo Lloris has been the undisputed first choice between the sticks in north London for 11 seasons, and that is unlikely to change between now and the end of the campaign.
That makes him almost certain to get the nod against the Magpies, although a change could be made in goal over the summer as the Frenchman approaches the final 12 months of his contract, with David Raya and Emiliano Martinez among those linked.
Defence: Romero, Dier, Lenglet
Tottenham’s back-line saw one of the most brutal substitutions of the season in the 3-2 loss to Bournemouth last time out. Having come on for the injured Clement Lenglet in the 35th minute, Davinson Sanchez was unceremoniously hauled off before the hour mark by Stellini after putting in a sloppy performance.
Spurs’ defence therefore depends on whether Lenglet returns to fitness in time, and the centre-back is likely to be rushed back into the picture so that Sanchez can remain on the sidelines. Elsewhere in the back-three, Eric Dier has been the regular anchor this term and Cristian Romero remains one of the club’s strongest performers when on song.
Midfield: Porro, Hojbjerg, Skipp, Perisic
After a shaky start, Pedro Porro is beginning to find his feet at Tottenham, although his run of starts has also been helped by an injury to Emerson Royal. Ivan Perisic is in a similar situation on the left-hand side, with Ryan Sessegnon’s hamstring injury making the Croatian Stellini’s natural choice.
Rodrigo Bentancur remains sidelined in central midfield so Oliver Skipp is set to continue alongside the always dependable Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, while Yves Bissouma’s ankle injury means that Spurs won’t be able to call on the former Brighton man from the bench.
Arnaut Danjuma has scored one goal in 55 minutes of Premier League action this season
Attack: Danjuma, Kane, Son
Son Heung-min has been well short of his best this term but he is finally hitting a period of form at this late stage of the campaign, notching in each of his last two matches. Meanwhile, despite Spurs’ collective problems, captain Harry Kane is quietly having one of the best seasons of his career with 23 Premier League goals to date – a total he has bettered only three times before.
Stellini then faces a conundrum on the right flank. Dejan Kulusevski oozes class but has left plenty to be desired in terms of output, which could sway the Italian towards picking Danjuma for his first Tottenham start after scoring against the Cherries last weekend.