Following a long World Cup break, Premier League football returns on Boxing Day as Tottenham Hotspur faces a trip to London rivals Brentford.
Having recently played friendlies against Scots side Motherwell and French outfit Nice, in theory, those of Spurs squad who weren’t representing their nations in Qatar should have retained at least some semblance of match sharpness.
Moreover, Harry Kane, Eric Dier, and Heung-Min Son, who all exited the tournament before the semi-finals, have re-joined the squad, so presumably should be available for selection come Monday. Further, Dier and Son made cameo appearances in the friendly with Nice.
With a congested fixture list in the coming months, Antonio Conte will be eager for the return of club football, where hopefully Spurs can pick up where we left off following a dramatic 4-3 over Leeds.
Tottenham should be mostly fit and firing for Brentford
Fans will also be hoping that stars Dejan Kulusevski and Matt Doherty will be named in Monday’s XI, as they have both enjoyed fine performances over the international break, with the latter netting three goals in two starts.
However, Monday’s trip to Brentford is no mean feat, with Thomas Frank’s side picking up a shock away victory to title-favourites Manchester City on the final pre-Qatar league matchday owing to an Ivan Toney brace.
Despite facing gambling charges, Ivan Toney will likely still feature for the Bees with no punishment to be enforced until the FA reaches a final verdict which is unlikely to occur before Monday.
With this in mind, the hosts look to have a full-strength squad available and will be keen to make a winning return to Premier League football.
For Tottenham, World Cup winner Cristian Romero and runner-up Hugo Lloris will likely be unavailable alongside third-placed Ivan Perisic as the trio recover from last weekend’s escapes.
Moreover, despite enjoying a fine World Cup, forward Richarlison has also been sidelined for several weeks, with fellow South American Rodrigo Bentancur set to miss out. However, the latter should return for Aston Villa in our next outing.
Unfortunately, this will undoubtedly see Tottenham start on Monday with a weakened XI, although Spurs should still possess enough class to ease past Brentford.
By now, Spurs fans are likely desperate to see our side back in action for the first time in over a month, and hopefully, Conte and co can deliver a much-needed three points to get the second half of the season off to the perfect start.