Tottenham Hotspur’s Champions League excursions draw to a close on Wednesday night with their final Group E match against CSKA Moscow at Wembley.
Spurs are already out of the competition but need only to avoid defeat here to finish third and enter the Europa League in the new year, whilst their opponents require a win to continue their own European adventure.
— Squawka News (@SquawkaNews) November 23, 2016
With that in mind manager Mauricio Pochettino has something of a selection dilemma on his hands; does he rest key players for what is essentially a dead rubber, or field a full strength line-up and try to give the fans something to cheer at the end of a torrid campaign?
Some good news for the Argentine is the return to the squad of centre-back Toby Alderweireld, who has been missing with a knee injury since mid-October, although he will only take a place on the bench.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) December 6, 2016
Kieran Trippier is likely to play at right-back in place of Kyle Walker, whilst on the other side of the defence Danny Rose may be rested, with Kevin Wimmer coming in at centre-half and Jan Vertonghen moving to full-back.
Regular back-up left-back Ben Davies remains sidelined but is nearing a recall to first-team action following an ankle ligament problem.
There should be room for Harry Winks to make a start in central midfield alongside Victor Wanyama, with Moussa Dembele dropping to the bench.
Ahead of them, Pochettino has precious little room for manoeuvre due to the absence of Vincent Janssen and Erik Lamela through injury, meaning Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, Son Heung-min and Harry Kane should all keep their places.
Swansea were dispatched with minimal effort on Saturday in a 5-0 drubbing, but if we have learnt anything from Spurs this term, it is that their domestic form tends to have very little bearing on the outcome of their Champions League ties, particularly at Wembley.
— UEFA Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) December 3, 2016
Having lost both of their other group matches at the national team’s stadium, Tottenham will be desperate to finish strongly here, bearing in mind that they will play all home fixtures, domestic and European, at this venue next season.
A few changes are expected on Wednesday night but Pochettino is likely to keep a strong spine to his team, knowing that a loss will be considered a catastrophic failure by the fans.
Possible Tottenham starting XI (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Trippier, Dier, Wimmer, Vertonghen; Wanyama, Winks; Eriksen, Alli, Son; Kane