Sky Sports pundit Alan Smith believes Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho will go for a front three of Son Heung-min, Harry Kane and Gareth Bale in their return to Premier League action on Saturday.
Tottenham will face Manchester City in North London on Saturday, a tough fixture against the 2017-18 and 2018-19 champions which could help establish Spurs’ own title credentials this season.
Mourinho’s charges, currently second, would go eight points clear of Pep Guardiola’s side – and potentially top of the table – should they triumph, but a defeat would see the gap cut to two points.
Given how strong City are in attack, some have speculated that Mourinho could look to set up his team in a manner which would nullify their opponents’ threat.
Smith, meanwhile, believes that the visitors’ tendency to come at their opponents could play right into Tottenham’s hands, given their impressive counter-attacking abilities.
“You’d expect City to come at Tottenham. That’s the way that they play,” Smith told the Sky Sports Football Podcast.
“But Tottenham, given their counter attacking abilities, it might play into Mourinho’s team’s hands.
“You’d imagine that it would be Son, Kane and Bale being that front-three. Can they make an impression on the City back four? I think there’s a fair chance of that happening.”
Mourinho has been known to set up teams to cancel out the threat of opponents with particularly strong attacks, one example the 0-0 draw between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield in October 2017.
With that in mind, you’d expect Lucas Moura to start instead of Bale, as the Brazilian has a tendency to drop deep and help out defending.
At the same time, a front three of Son, Kane and Bale would be devastating on the counter against a team that could likely be left exposed at the back as they launch men forward.