How Tottenham should line-up against Man Utd: FFT asks the experts

We're debating the strongest line-ups for the opening day. How do you see it going? An ex-player, prominent blogger and FFT editor look at the various permutations...

Former player: Darren Anderton (Tottenham 1992-2004)

(4-3-3)

Why this line-up

“Defence will be where Spurs might be a bit different this year. The reaction from Southampton fans over not keeping Toby Alderweireld shows what a good player he is. He simply likes to sit back and defend, and Jan Vertonghen does the same, which is what you need when you’ve got full-backs who bomb on.

"I’d like to see Kyle Walker fit and firing at full-back, as he was doing tremendously well before he got injured. Hopefully things will come good for him this year, but if not, Kieran Trippier has clearly been signed to do that job too. Danny Rose is great getting forward on the other side.

“I’d play a 4-3-3, with Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentelab being very disciplined, and trying to get the ball to Mousa Dembele as much as possible. He’s a class act and when he plays well, Spurs play well.

“Up front, I’m sure Harry Kane has got the right levels of maturity to perform for a second season. He’s the main man and has got all the assets you need as a centre forward. He’s strong, quick, good in the air, holds it up well and takes chances calmly.

"Nacer Chadli is solid, and on the other side Christian Eriksen can really step up a level. We all know his potential - he has bags of ability - but it’s time to prove he is the real deal and become one of the Premier League’s top players. He’s got the assets to do it.”

Blogger: @HotspurRelated

(4-2-3-1)

Why this line-up

"Lloris is touch-and-go after a fractured wrist, but we need our best player between the sticks. Meanwhile, Kieran Trippier provides competition for Kyle Walker and can do for Danny Rose what Ben Davies did last summer. Walker has seriously struggled to sustain any form in the past two years.

"Spurs struggled massively last season in defence, shown by all the club’s purchases to date this summer being defensive ones, so the signing of Alderweireld was welcomed. His arrival makes it pretty clear on paper who the club’s best centre-back pairing is: him alongside fellow Belgian Vertonghen. At left-back, Rose was one of the club’s best players last season.

"Dembele is marmite among Spurs fans but I’d start him on Saturday. Last season at Man United we started with the ever-present pairing of Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb, and were overrun. Still, Bentaleb is probably my favourite footballer at Spurs.

"Lamela still hasn’t hit anywhere near the heights we all expected when he became the club’s record signing but the last 10 games or so of last season he was Spurs’ best player. On the other side, Chadli is our most underrated player. He might not track back as much as Mauricio Pochettino would like, but he has a knack of just scoring goals. More of those, please.

"Kane? No words can explain the man last season, and I have no doubts he’ll perform to a similar standard once again this campaign."

FFT say

(3-4-2-1)

Why this line-up

Nobody – well, nobody apart from Glenn Hoddle – advocates that Spurs operate with a back three, but perhaps they should. A 3-4-2-1 formation (currently working wonders for Wales) would solve a number of problems.
 
This young Tottenham squad lacks a natural defensive midfielder. Nabil Bentaleb has improved no end but Ryan Mason isn't at home in a deeper role, which was occasionally obvious in his positioning last season. An extra defender offers the midfield protection, and allows Spurs' naturally attacking full-backs to get forward with more freedom. 

 
Mason, Mousa Dembele or Tom Carroll could partner Bentaleb, but Dele Alli really impressed in pre-season, and showed against Real Madrid he's content to pick up the ball from deep. Risky? Perhaps – but there are few standout alternatives.
 
In front of them, Christian Eriksen and Nacer Chadli – who scored 21 league goals between them in 2014/15 – would ensure Harry Kane is less isolated. Erik Lamela is another option; Alex Pritchard could be, too.
 
Attacking width comes from a revitalised Danny Rose and a potentially-about-to-be-revitalised Kyle Walker; between them five centre-backs battle for three places, as well as Ben Davies, used to playing in this system for his country.
 
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