ottenham will be without Dejan Kulusevksi for today’s huge north London derby meeting with Arsenal at the top of the Premier League. The Swede was injured on international duty, although Antonio Conte does have a number of options in attacking areas.
Heung-min Son, fresh from scoring a stunning hat-trick from the bench against Leicester last time out, replaces Kulusevski, forming an attacking trio alongside Richarlison and Harry Kane.
Conte has hinted at more opportunities for his summer signings – as well as Matt Doherty and Oliver Skipp – after the international break, but given the magnitude of the game, the head coach sticks with Emerson Royal at right wing-back, and a midfield two of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Rodrigo Bentancur.
“But for me it was the same for Matthew [Doherty], for [Djed] Spence to play games and, for sure, Skippy played his last game in January and has been suffering a bit to find again his physical condition, but we are talking about a really good guy with a great desire, great will and it was important for him to play one game and then 20 minutes in the second game.
The only other question for the Spurs head coach is whether to play Ivan Perisic or Ryan Sessegnon at left wing-back, or even move Perisic to the right, as he did against Leicester.
Conte confirmed some players had returned from international duty with “physical problems” but pushed for more details, he said: “Honestly I don’t want to speak about the injury because I don’t want to give advantage to Arsenal.
“But for sure we have to face some problems, some physical problems and we have to know also that we have just started to play the first game in a run that we have to play 13 days in 43 days.
“For sure we have to try to make the best solution and to try not to take big risks because if we take big risks and lose players for the rest of the games, it will be a disaster. I repeat to play every three days I need to count on the whole squad and we try with the players to also make the best decision.”
source: Evening Standard