Tottenham will be without two of its chief attacking threats for the foreseeable future, and absent a transfer signing that is unlikely to occur, here's what Mauricio Pochettino can do with the players at his disposal.

By 90Min
January 15, 2019

Son Heung-min played his final game before leaving for the Asian Cup on Sunday as Tottenham suffered a 1-0 defeat to Manchester United at Wembley. 

More worrying than the defeat for Mauricio Pochettino is that while his most in-form player flies off to aid South Korea's bid for Asian Cup glory, talisman Harry Kane was seen nursing an ankle injury at the end of a frustrating game for the center forward, and the club has promptly ruled him out until the start of March

With his two main goalscoring threats unavailable for the foreseeable future, Pochettino may be inclined to revert back to the 3-4-2-1 which has brought the team so much joy. 

While Spurs have almost exclusively used a back four in 2018/19, the best football they've played in recent memory was in a famous 3-1 victory against Real Madrid at Wembley Stadium in the Champions League last year.

Given the personnel available to the manager, Pochettino should be looking to tinker with his system in order to get the best out of the players currently fit.

Both Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies are renowned for getting forward and providing quality service in and around the box, and the 3-4-2-1 gives them both the license to attack freely and stretch defenses. 

With Son unavailable until Tottenham's clash with Leicester on February 10, and Moussa Sissoko also picking up a knock in Sunday's loss to United, Spurs are left with only one natural wide player in Lucas Moura. 

While Christian Eriksen and Erik Lamela are capable of playing on either side of a front three, their lack of pace means they're much more suited to roles which give them the freedom to roam inside the final third and create chances.

The obvious upside to this formation is that when Spurs' full backs do press forward, it leaves areas for the likes of Lucas to exploit between opposition defenders that wouldn't normally be there, something which will be hugely important without a presence like Kane in the opposition box.

With Kane and Son missing, it would seem as though Fernando Llorente may get a chance in the first team. But after Llorente's disappointing showing against United on Sunday, miscuing a one on one from 10 yards out straight into the arms of David de Gea, the best way for Spurs to pose a threat in front of goal would be playing Dele Alli in a false nine position. 

Not only is Alli a bonafide goal threat, averaging a goal every three games in the Premier League for the north London side, but he has the technical ability to provide chances for those around him. 

This is where chairman Daniel Levy's decision not to make any summer signings may hurt Tottenham's chances of success. The Tottenham squad is one of the best in England when everybody is available, but the lack of availability up front - and decision to let Moussa Dembele leave for China - has left the squad looking thin on the ground. 

Still, the midfield is arguably one of the deepest position groups available to Pochettino, so by reverting to the 3-4-2-1 and padding out the middle of the park the manager will be able to rotate effectively and still field a strong side. 

Another position where Tottenham have plenty of options is at fullback, as Serge Aurier and Danny Rose both provide consistently strong performances. By nature, playing three at the back is more physically demanding for the wing backs and midfielders, and so transforming tactics to get the deepest position groups doing most of the leg work will allow Spurs to continue to play with high intensity each game during a busy time of year.

Fortunately for Spurs, besides a tricky second leg of the League Cup semifinal second leg at Stamford Bridge, they should be able to navigate their way through January with relative ease. A trip to Craven Cottage to face bottom side Fulham and home games versus Watford and struggling Newcastle are their only Premier League games during Son's scheduled absence.

It may not be revolutionary, considering so many teams have experimented with this formation since Antonio Conte introduced it to the Premier League - Pochettino included - but a switch in system may be just want Tottenham need to breathe fresh life into their silverware aspirations for the remainder of the season. 

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