Its been just about 2 months since we witnessed the stunning Gareth Bale strike that brought down the curtains on the Premier League Season. The Barclays Asia Trophy brings the contestants of the final day clash at White Hart Lane back together this Wednesday.
Paulo Di Canio has ensured that the build-up to this clash remains gripping with a series of signings that has made Sunderland the busiest Premier League club in the Transfer market.
Vito Mannone looks set to take the spot between the sticks, vacated by the Merseyside bound Simon Mignolet. Di Canio has not found a replacement for Danny Rose, who returns to Tottenham following his year-long Loan spell. Phil Bardsley's fall out with the Italian manager further complicates the problem and midfielder Jack Colback has to fill in an unfamiliar Left back position. John O'Shea is an obvious choice at Right back.
Di Canio has wealth of options for the Centre back positions, with incoming Modibo Diakite and Valentin Roberge providing competition to Carlos Cuellar and Wes Brown. Di Canio would look to build a soild partnership between Cuellar and Diakite for the upcoming season.
El hadji Ba, David Moberg, Cabral and Giaccherini come in the squad brimming with talent in the midfield department. Di Canio would prefer a 4-2-3-1 system with Seb Larsson and Craig Gardner holding the midfield together. Cabral could provide options with his versatility to fill in as a Defensive midfielder or as a centr half. Ba and Moberg look to be signings for the future.
With Giaccherini not having joined the squad yet, Di Canio would go with the attacking trio of Adam Johnson, Stephane Sessegnon and James McClean behind a lone striker. Larsson can play on either wing in case Cabral takes up the holding Midfielder position. Highly impressive during the Confederation Cup, Giaccherini could play an important role in Sunderland's season.
Sunderland had struggled to score frequently during the last season, and failed to find a replacement for the injured Steven Taylor-Fletcher. Di Canio would hope that his new signing Jozy Altidore would sort the goal scoring problems up front. With Danny Graham being off-loaded to Hull City on loan, the onus falls upon Ji Dong-won and Connor Wickham to support Altidore in the scoring department.
Coming to the boys down the White hart lane, their new additions Paulinho and Nacer Chadli are not present in the Barclays Asia trophy squad. Apart from them there have been no major changes in the squad from the previous season. Danny Rose and Andros Townsend have returned after completing their loan spells. They can provide more options and pace down the flanks.
Sandro is on his way back from injury but he hasn't featured in the two pre-season friendlies against Swindon Town and Colchester United. And it is highly unlikely that he will play in this tournament. So the Tottenham squad is almost unchanged and could line-up in a similar fashion to the last game against the Black cats.
Hugo Lloris would start in Goal. Kyle Walker, Michael Dawson, Jan Vertonghen and Benoit Assou-Ekotto will make up the backline. Younes Kaboul hasn't completely recovered from his injury, so Steven Caulker would be the first choice Backup for centre halves. Danny Rose could get a run-in at left back after playing in the friendlies.
AVB could start with a 4-3-3 to facilitate the teams' progression from 4-2-3-1 to 4-3-3 into the upcoming season. Scott Parker and Moussa Dembele look like sure starters. Tom Carroll has impressed during the friendlies. In the absence of Paulinho, Carroll and Lewis Holtby would fight it out for the final midfield spot.
Gareth Bale looks set to start down the right flank. Jermain Defoe would be preferred to the Unreliable Adebayor upfront. With a better all round game and a knack to score the occasional goal, Gylfi Sigurdsson would edge out Aaron lennon for a spot down the left flank.
Spurs' supporters have to wait a little longer to catch a glimpse of their new recruits. But there is no dearth of fresh faces in the oppositions as Paulo Di Canio looks to kickstart a new revolution is style.
Whatever be the line-ups, lets look forward to a great match and hope that they put up a great show for the most exciting football league in the world.
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