Tottenham captain Son Heung-min retains his starting spot against Luton Town despite injury news.
Tottenham have named their starting XI for the 2023/24 Premier League Round 8 match against Luton Town at Kennyworth Road in Luton, England on Sunday (8:30pm).
Postecoglou has opted for his usual 4-2-3-1 formation for the match. Guglielmo Vicario will be in goal, with Pedro Foro, Christian Romero, Micky Van der Vaart and Destiny Udoh making up the back four.
In midfield, Pape Sarr and Yves Bissouma will line up in a three-man defense, while Dejan Kulusevski, James Maddison, and Hicharlison will line up in a two-man attack with frontman Son Heung-min in front of the Luton Town goal. It will be Son’s fifth consecutive game up front.
Tottenham have had a lot of momentum this season. With the appointment of manager Enzi Postecoglou as Antonio Conte’s successor, Spurs have made some major changes to their squad, including the departure of their ace Harry Kane to Bayern Munich. Spurs spent the summer signing James Maddison, Manor Solomon, Micky Van der Vaart, and Brennan Johnson to fill the void left by Kane’s departure, but there were few concerns about Spurs’ performance until their 2-2 draw with Brentford on the opening day of the season.
However, Spurs showed a marked improvement in the second round and climbed to the top of the league. They pressed hard and played attacking soccer against league giants Manchester United, earning a 2-0 victory, and continued their momentum in the third and fourth rounds, beating Bournemouth 2-0 and Burnley 5-2, respectively.
Spurs’ unbeaten run then looked set to come to an end when they conceded early in the 28th minute at home to Sheffield United, but substitute Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored a dramatic equalizer in stoppage time, and Dejan Kulusevski pulled one back shortly afterward. It was a testament to Spurs’ renewed focus this season, given the number of games they lost helplessly last season.
Spurs also managed to keep their unbeaten run alive with a 2-2 draw at Arsenal, a team they had lost to in each of the last three seasons, thanks to a multi-goal performance from Son Heung-min, and a lucky own goal against Liverpool just before half-time when Pedro Foro’s cross found the foot of Joel Matip, extending their unbeaten run to a whopping seven games since the start of the league.
Notably, Tottenham have improved on many of the issues that fans have criticized them for, with a tremendous run of form that has completely defied expectations. Last season, Spurs struggled with injuries, even to Son Heung-min, and ended up with no offensive solution outside of Kane. The defense was also repeatedly shaky.
They conceded a lot of goals at the back and couldn’t contain opposing attacks at all, conceding a total of 63 goals at the end of the season, the most of any team outside of the three relegated teams, Nottingham Forest and Bournemouth. Of the teams that finished in the top 10 of the league last season, Spurs were the only team to concede more than 60 goals.
This season, however, Spurs have looked completely different under Postecoglou. The defense, with Micky Van der Vaart and Christian Romero as the starting center back combination, has been solid with eight clean sheets in seven games, despite a style of play that involves pressing high up the pitch. The offense has also been tremendous. With Maddison at the helm, the offense ran much more smoothly, and Son Heung-min took center stage, scoring six goals, including a hat trick, in four games in September.
Son’s performance was a standout. That’s because he’s been a huge part of Tottenham’s offense this season. Son’s transition to a frontline striker for Tottenham this season has been nothing short of spectacular, as he’s not only one of the team’s top scorers, but one of the best in the league.
The center-forward began his league assault against Burnley, where he broke the deadlock in the 16th minute of the first half after receiving a pass from left-back Manor Solomon and finding himself one-on-one with the goalkeeper. He then added two more goals in the second half to complete his hat-trick, completely erasing the disappointment of not scoring in the previous three rounds.
He was held scoreless in the next match against Sheffield Wednesday, but once again found the back of the net against Arsenal, scoring a multi-goal performance to help his team to a 2-2 draw. Son Heung-min scored twice to equalize after each of his team’s concessions, helping the Gunners to a point against Arsenal.
The scoring continued against Liverpool. Son, who was back in the starting lineup, scored in the 36th minute when Maddison played him a pass after seeing him break into the box, and the Frenchman sent in a cross that rattled the Liverpool goal as he rushed to the front of the box.
As some outlets put it, “Harry Kane is the best finisher in the world, and Son is one of the very few players who can compete with him in terms of utilizing his socks and shooting from mid-range. He’s improved his game with more accurate movement in the box to finish cutbacks and low crosses,” he said, adding that Son has already succeeded in filling the void left by Kane’s departure.레고토토
“He’s scored six goals in just four first-team appearances so far, and he’s already shared the Gold Boot with Mohamed Salah (Premier League top scorer) before Holland arrived. Given Tottenham’s willingness to be attack-minded under Postecoglou, Heung-min will get chances every week,” added the top scorer.
Ahead of the game, however, there was a lot of speculation and concern about Son’s availability after news broke of his injury. Paul O’Keefe, an insider at Tottenham, confirmed Son’s injury on social media on April 4, saying, “He’s not training every day these days. He is currently managing his training volume so that he can play at the weekend. He’s had a groin problem for the past month,” revealing that Son is not fully fit.
Postecoglou acknowledged this. “He was not 100% against Liverpool, but he was desperate to play, he wanted to give everything he could, and that’s what he did,” he told Football London on February 2.
However, Postecoglou himself addressed Son’s availability in his pre-match press conference, and Tottenham also confirmed the news on the club’s official website, stating, “Postecoglou has some positive news on the injury front ahead of the Luton Town game. After delivering the disappointing news that Manor Solomon will be out for some time with a meniscus injury, he has confirmed that Son Heung-min is available for the trip to Luton Town. “He was an early substitute in the last game against Liverpool, but he has trained well this week and will be available to coach Postecoglou,” he said in a press conference.
In the end, Son was named in the starting lineup, starting up front once again, and will be looking for his seventh league goal against Luton Town.
Meanwhile, Luton Town manager Rob Edwards went with Tomasz Kaminski in goal and Tom Lockyer, Reece Burke, and Joel Andersen in a back three. In midfield, Ron Chidozi will be joined by Ogbonna, Mavellus Nakamba, Pelly Mpanjoo and Alfie Doherty. The front three consists of Elijah Adebayo, Charlton Morris, and Jacob Brown.
Luton Town finished third in the Championship last season and earned their first promotion since the reorganization of the Premier League through the promotion playoffs.
This season, they have struggled since their promotion. With one win, one draw, and five losses (four points) in seven league games, the team is in 17th place in the league and close to the relegation zone. They picked up their first win against Everton on September 30, but failed to bounce back with a loss at Burnley the previous day. Luton Town have conceded a number of goals against mid-table Premier League teams this season, including Chelsea, Brighton, and West Ham, and will likely struggle against an in-form Spurs side.