It's imperative we press them hard right out of the gate. These smaller teams struggle when you pressure them at the back, like we did at Bournemouth. Lamela will be instrumental to that today, as in my opinion, he has become the most influential player in the side. When he has gotten subbed in the last month, our performance has nose-dived.
On a separate note, it'll be interesting to see how players like Son, Chadli, and Bentaleb react to being substitutes as the season goes on. Considering the lack of rotation in European cup matches, chances may be limited for some players who expected to be more than bit part players if no major injuries occur. I'm not complaining mind you, as I've always been a big Dembele supporter and think he's a far superior footballer to Mason/Bentaleb, but I wonder if someone like Bentaleb would look for a loan in January if things continue as is. Chadli seems a Pochettino favorite and has spent time coming off the bench in spurts, so I think he can adjust so long as he doesn't feel his Belgium place is at risk.
Son is also an interesting one. He's never not been a starter since breaking through at Hamburg, so I'm not sure how he will cope as the season progresses with being a bench option. I think he, like Lamela, is far better when he starts than when he comes off the bench. He tends to look far too anxious to score and prove himself, which is something we saw with Townsend in the past few years, and that damages the quality of his performances in my opinion.
I'd really like to have seen Son start for the greater goal threat. Let's hope Lamela can be creative in the first 60 minutes instead of only the last 20 or 30. These tend to be his least effective games, when teams sit back. I'd have kept him fresh for Watford, where his work rate will be vital.
I'm pretty sure we'll see Eriksen start centrally and Alli left because that worked well last week.
I'm expecting a big game from Dembele, particularly as he's unlikely to start against Watford, unless we have the luxury to take him off after 60.
If we can get 2-0 up pretty early they'll give up and their thoughts will bend towards their 6 pointer against Villa.
United are in total disarray and have Chelsea Monday. Palace have injuries and are starting with Cabaye on the bench. Watford play Chelsea and us in succession. Leicester has Liverpool away and then City Monday.
We have the chance to really make a push here in the next 48 hours to close the gap on the top 3 and make a bit of space in 4th.