Premier League

Forget Alli: Pochettino should start this £22.5m-rated midfielder to restrict Juventus tonight

The Tottenham Hotspur are feeling nervous in the Transfer Tavern ahead of their huge Champions League encounter with Juventus this evening, but they believe they have enough quality in their ranks to pull off a huge upset in Turin.

Mauricio Pochettino takes his side to Italy tonight with every hope of recording a desirable result against Juventus in the last-sixteen of the Champions League. Unfortunately for Tottenham, they have been drawn against one of the form sides in Europe right now, as The Old Lady have won their last 8 consecutive matches in Serie A, conceding just a single goal in the process.

Tottenham failed to even qualify from the group stage last season so they will be pleased to even be in the knockout phase of the competition, but there’s no doubt it will take a special two-legged performance to qualify for the quarter-finals this season.

With that being said, Pochettino simply must adopt a pragmatic approach and be bold with his team-selection in both fixtures. It’s likely that the Argentine manager will need to make some brazen decisions to achieve the intended result, and the first of those decisions should be to drop Dele Alli for their trip to the Allianz stadium.

Alli has been subjected to plenty of criticism in recent months, both justly and unjustly. Whilst his statistics remain impressive, his overall contribution throughout a 90-minute fixture is certainly lacking at the moment.

The 21-year-old has often been deployed behind Kane this season whilst Eriksen has operated out wide, but Pochettino should make the decision to move Eriksen into a central role and bring Erik Lamela (valued at £22.5 million by Transfermarkt) into the starting line-up to play on the right-side of the attacking-midfield three.

Juventus’ marauding left-back Alex Sandro will be certainly be attempting to get forward and influence the game in the final-third as often as possible, and Tottenham will be far better equipped to deal with his threat with Lamela covering that side of the field.

Eriksen is a brilliant engine in midfield and he would have no problem in tracking back with Sandro, but his creative qualities will be slightly compromised out-wide with the increased defensive responsibility, so a move into a central position should increase the quality of Tottenham’s chances on the night.

Since his return from injury, Lamela has demonstrated that he remains as diligent a runner as he ever was prior to his lengthy spell on the sidelines, so there is no doubt the inclusion of the former Serie A talent in Tottenham’s starting line-up could turn out to be a Pochettino masterstroke later this evening.

Thoughts? 

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