Tottenham’s new midfielder Tanguy Ndombele does indeed make his debut this evening. However, the other big purchases, Giovani lo Celso and Ryan Sessegnon, don’t feature at all. Christian Eriksen is only on the bench. Jan Vertonghen is out injured.
Meanwhile it’s all change for Aston Villa. They unveil keeper Tom Heaton, attackers Wesley and Trezeguet, and defender Bjorn Engels. Tyrone Mings and Anwar El Ghazi also make their first starts as full-time Villa players.
Tottenham Hotspur: Lloris, Walker-Peters, Sanchez, Alderweireld, Rose, Sissoko, Winks, Ndombele, Lamela, Kane, Lucas Moura.
Subs: Wanyama, Nkoudou, Dier, Gazzaniga, Eriksen, Aurier, Skipp.
Aston Villa: Heaton, Elmohamady, Mings, Engels, Taylor, McGinn, Hourihane, Trezeguet, Grealish, El Ghazi, Wesley.
Subs: Douglas Luiz, Lansbury, Steer, Konsa, Targett, Jota, Kodjia.
Referee: Chris Kavanagh (Lancashire).
Aston Villa are back! After three years in the wilderness, the seven-time champions of England and erstwhile conquerors of Europe are back! Tottenham Hotspur have missed them madly, as well … on account of having won nine of their last ten games against them.
History may only provide so much of a guide, though, because both teams have moved on since we last saw them. Spurs, unchanged for a couple of transfer windows, could finally shoogle things up this evening by giving their new signings Tanguy Ndombele and Giovani Lo Celso a debut at their fancy new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. They’ll also be without the injured Dele Alli and the suspended Heung-min Son. And will they suffer a hangover from the bitter disappointment of Madrid? Ah, variables, old friend, it’s been a while round these parts.
Villa meanwhile have gone to town in the transfer market since reclaiming their top-flight status in the play-off final against Derby. Eleven new signings! Trezeguet and Wesley are the big hopes up front; Tyrone Mings and Matt Targett have been secured at the back. But perhaps most importantly, they’ve managed to keep hold of Jack Grealish during the Championship years, and now have a midfielder beginning to realise his vast potential. Dean Smith has promised his side will go for it this season; consolidation is not their only goal.
So both sets of fans have plenty to get excited about. Spurs – long established now as one of the best teams in Europe – are naturally big favourites against a newly promoted team that will need time to gel. But Villa have won their last three opening fixtures in the Premier League – at Arsenal, Stoke and Bournemouth – and will treat this match as a free shot. With so many new faces likely to be on show, it’s sure to be fascinating. Here’s to exciting and dramatic as well. It’s on!
Kick off: 5.30pm BST.