Dembele and Capoue out as Tottenham strive for best midfield

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Tim Sherwood’s preference to play 4-4-2 leaves an excess of players in midfield on the sidelines and some of them are starting to feel shut out.

Etienne Capoue has been linked with a swift departure from White Hart Lane to Napoli for £8m, with Lewis Holtby also rumoured to be on his way back to Schalke.

The emergence of academy product Nabil Bentaleb means Spurs can afford to ship out the now fringe midfielders, like Mousa Dembele and Gylfi Sigurdsson, and remain confident that the youngster can step in with assurance if needed.

So, assuming 4-4-2 will be the tactic of choice for Sherwood for the remainder of the season, what exactly should be the midfield of choice as Tottenham look to seal a 7/2-rated top-four finish?

Left midfield – Christian Eriksen

Eriksen has flourished since being deployed on the left hand side, much like Luka Modric did in his early Tottenham career as he adapted to the pace of the English game.

The Dane’s ability to roam from that flank is a strength, while two goals and an assist from three starts in that position suggests he should be persisted with.

Centre midfield – Sandro

The importance of a holding midfield man in this formation is vital and few players in the league have better discipline in curbing their attacking instincts for the good of the team.

Centre midfield – Paulinho

Made from the same mould as Mousa Dembele, Paulinho should be picked ahead of the Belgian international thanks to a greater goal threat.

The Brazilian’s four goals in his debut campaign for the Lilywhites already matches that of the former Fulham man, whose taken 73 games to reach that figure.

Right midfield – Aaron Lennon

Of all the wingers in the Tottenham ranks, Lennon is the one who knows his game inside out. Adept at tracking back to help out his full-back, Lennon is enjoying a patch of form going forward too, as his Whoscored.com rating of 7.8 in the games where a 4-4-2 has been played points out.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.