Tottenham: 3 formations Pochettino can use against Everton

With a few injuries to key players, a couple of Tottenham's new signings could be in line for their full debuts.

Given the tactical flexibility of the current Tottenham squad, Mauricio Pochettino has several tactical options to choose from as he gears his side up to visit Everton on Saturday, which kicks off at 15:00 (BST).

Victor Wanyama has been ruled out with a knee injury after looking unfit against Chelsea in his first appearance of the season in August, whilst right-back Kieran Trippier had to leave England duty early after sustaining an injury, though he hasn’t been completely ruled out.

This could mean both Davinson Sanchez and Serge Aurier start, but it’s unlikely that Pochettino picks two new signings in the first XI this early into the season.

You can read our preview for Everton vs Tottenham HERE.

  1. 1 If Trippier & Wanyama are injured

    The obvious solution to this injury problem would be to start Serge Aurier at right back and Davinson Sanchez on the right side of a back three, pushing Eric Dier into midfield to partner Mousa Dembele.


    The 3-4-3 has become the formation of choice amongst a host of Premier League clubs, namely Spurs, which is the best fit for a quick, attack-minded fullback such as Aurier.

    In this system, Sanchez can comfortably fit into the back three knowing he has increased protection from both Aurier on the flank and Dier as the deepest central midfielder fulfilling the Wanyama role at the back.

    With Sanchez included, it pushes Dier into midfield, arguably his best position where he can break up opposition play and utilise his long range of passing.

    There are doubts over the suitability of a Dembele-Dier midfield pivot, though, as its somewhat lacking in creativity. In a 3-4-3, a back three takes some pressure off the defensive midfielder which means Harry Winks could come into the team over Dier to provide an extra injection of playmaking from deep.

    However, it's unlikely Pochettino selects both Sanchez and Aurier to start in a high-profile game against Everton as their first for their new club.

  2. 2 If just Wanyama is injured

    If Trippier is available for selection, then the best option if he were to start is to incorporate him in a 4-2-3-1 formation.


    This is because Trippier, whilst a good enough fullback, isn't the best of wing backs and it's a position in which his flaws are more readily exposed.

    For instance, he's not quick enough to cover the flank on his own and he often gets caught out defensively in one-on-one situations. The extra protection from Heung-Min Son, therefore, will aid Trippier in a 4-2-3-1.

    This system also gets Son on the pitch to provide both width and a creative threat on the right flank should Pochettino insist on starting Trippier.

    As mentioned above, a Dier-Dembele midfield isn't the most creative, but the three-man attacking midfield negates the need for Winks in the double-pivot, instead requiring a more defensive presence to protect the two centre-backs. This issue is less pronounced in a back three though.

  3. 3 The wildcard

    Uncharacteristically, Pochettino could deploy a 4-3-3 formation that includes a midfield three of Winks, Dier and Dembele.


    The midfield three doesn't leave the two centre-backs exposed, as Dier sits in the middle third and acts as their protector, without sacrificing midfield creativity.

    This is because Dier's defensive platform allows Dembele and Winks to push forwards and affect the game in the final third, with the former acting in a box-to-box role and tracking back to help out in the defensive third if needed.

    However, given Eriksen and Dele Alli's penchant to drift inside and closer to Harry Kane, the system requires the two fullbacks to push forward and provide width, which is where Aurier would be required, a more naturally attack-minded player than Trippier.

    With the fullbacks pushing forwards to join attacking moves, it leaves Spurs somewhat vulnerable to counter-attacks as there would only be three defenders left to protect the goal.

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Oli Stein

Oli graduated from the University of Bristol with a degree in History and has worked with RealSport since September 2016.

Currently assistant football editor and Tottenham correspondent.

Follow him on Twitter: @steinoliver_