Tottenham Hotspur
11:45 AM UTC
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AFC Bournemouth
11:45 AM UTC
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 By Ben Pearce

Tottenham's Wembley challenge after high of Dortmund away day joy

It was another European night for Tottenham to savour on Tuesday, yet the 2-1 win at Borussia Dortmund was not the most important game of the week, or even the fortnight.

Had Spurs lost in Germany, they would still have been favourites to finish ahead of Real Madrid. Conversely, they are not where they would have hoped in the Premier League, lying 11 points off the top and only one ahead of seventh-placed Burnley.

The next three league matches against West Brom, Leicester and Watford always carried more weight, and no one should lose sight of that now amid the euphoria of another Champions League triumph.

Tottenham HotspurTottenham Hotspur
West Bromwich AlbionWest Bromwich Albion
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Not for the first time, Spurs showed their ability on Tuesday to hurt sides who attack them. But now they must again prepare for a different test against a West Brom side that will probably set up to frustrate them at Wembley.

Albion have parted company with Tony Pulis and that makes it harder to know what to expect. But it seems likely that the priority for interim manager Gary Megson is improving West Brom's organisation and shoring up a defence that has conceded 18 goals in 12 top-flight matches -- four of them coming against Chelsea on Saturday.

Like Burnley, Swansea, Bournemouth and Crystal Palace before them, Albion would surely take a point at Wembley -- and they will take heart from the fact that two of those teams succeeded.

The good news is Spurs have won three of their four league games following European outings, trashing Huddersfield and Liverpool before overcoming Palace too.

Their home league results have also been improving. After the early defeat by Chelsea and the draws against Burnley and Swansea, Mauricio Pochettino's side have beaten Bournemouth and Palace.

The bad news is that neither of those 1-0 victories were particularly convincing. The first half was frustrating and goalless in each case -- and although Spurs eventually got the breakthroughs, they were tense affairs, unlike at White Hart Lane last season when Swansea, Hull, West Brom, Stoke, Watford and Bournemouth were all swept aside with 3-0, 4-0 and 5-0 scorelines.

Playing at Wembley provides a different challenge, yet Pochettino must find a way to make these home games easier and develop more margin for error.

His team selection against Dortmund could just provide the solution, combining the talents of his most creative and dangerous players.

Dele Alli has largely become a forward for Spurs and he scored his two goals against Madrid from that position. But he has also enjoyed productive outings in a central midfield trio.

The 21-year-old registered in successive games against Liverpool and West Ham from that role last month, with Heung-Min Son ahead of him in the second striker's spot.

Dele Alli has emerged as a forward but can also be productive from central midfield.

Son also netted against Liverpool and, when Pochettino opted for the same setup against Dortmund this week, Alli set up both goals while Son struck the winner.

There is often an assumption that either Alli or Son will be selected in the front two -- Son was a substitute against Real Madrid and Arsenal -- but there is an increasingly strong case for playing them together.

Moussa Sissoko has often started on the outside of the central midfield three. But while he offers a physical presence and can carry the ball upfield, he lacks a consistent end product.

He seems better suited to making an impact as a substitute against tiring bodies and legs, attacking space on the break rather than trying to unpick deep-set defences.

Selecting Alli in that position instead, with Christian Eriksen on the other side of Harry Winks, can give Spurs extra invention and an additional goal threat.

Perhaps that risks upsetting the balance of the team, removing muscle and protection for the defence, but Alli is no shrinking violet. Neither is Winks.

A front five of Winks, Eriksen, Alli, Son and Kane -- plus attacking wing-backs -- would certainly give defensive visitors something to think about.

Pochettino has perhaps been heading in this direction anyway. Son has started all four games against Burnley, Swansea, Bournemouth and Palace, but there has always been a piece missing from the jigsaw, or an enforced tactical change.

Winks only played for a couple of minutes in total against Burnley and Swansea. In the first of those matches, Pochettino used a back four with Eric Dier and Mousa Dembele as the central midfielders. In the second, Son started as the left wing-back before Trippier ended up on that side, while Sissoko also had a spell as a wing-back.

When Spurs hosted Bournemouth, Jan Vertonghen played at left-back in a four-man defence, and the hosts lacked width. When it came to Palace, Alli was missing and both Winks and Kane picked up early debilitating knocks.

Perhaps Pochettino has always planned to field this front five of Winks, Eriksen, Alli, Son and Kane in these home games, only to be denied by circumstances.

But Saturday could be the day, and the hope will be that Tottenham can enjoy a more comfortable victory this time.

Ben is ESPN FC's Tottenham blogger. Follow on Twitter: @BenPearceSpurs.


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