Tottenham will be aiming to notch up their first Premier League home win of the season when they host Bournemouth at Wembley on Saturday
Club football returns to action this weekend after a fortnight-long gap. In England’s capital, Tottenham would be hoping for the end of the international break to have brought about a change in fortunes at home as they play hosts to Bournemouth at Wembley on Saturday.
Home form apart, Tottenham have made a solid start to their 2017-18 Premier League campaign, as they currently sit third in the table, five points behind leaders Manchester City. However, their home form has left a lot to be desired as Mauricio Pochettino’s men continue to search for their first league win at Wembley.
Bournemouth, on the other hand, have made a disastrous start to their campaign, with just four points from their opening seven games thus far. With all of those points picked up at the Vitality Stadium, the Cherries come into the match still looking to break their away duck this season.
The corresponding fixture last season ended in a commanding 4-0 win for Tottenham, with the visitors being no match for Spurs’ attacking might. Ahead of their latest meeting on Saturday, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at the encounter.
Team News & Tactics
Mauricio Pochettino has not been troubled by any fresh roster issues post the dreaded international break. However, the Tottenham boss does have a number of injury concerns heading into the match, with four first-team player sidelined due to various fitness issues.
Among these, Mousa Dembele (ankle), Erik Lamela (hip) and Danny Rose (knee) have all stepped their recovery from their respective injuries after taking part in first-team training sessions in different capacities. The trio is likely to return within the next couple of weeks.
However, Victor Wanyama still remains on the treatment table as he continues his rehabilitation from knee injury. In the absence of Dembele and Wanyama, Harry Winks is likely to continue at the heart of the Tottenham midfield alongside Eric Dier, although Moussa Sissoko is in contention to start as well.
On a positive note, Serge Aurier is available for selection this weekend after serving his one-match ban. But, Kieran Trippier could continue as the right wing-back after a superb performance against Huddersfield prior to the international break.
Meanwhile, the onus will be on Harry Kane to continue his stunning form since the start of September to inspire Spurs to their first home league win of the season. The England striker will also be hoping to break his own Wembley league scoring duck on Saturday.
Possible Starting XI (3-4-2-1): Lloris; Alderweireld, Sanchez, Vertonghen; Trippier, Winks, Dier, Davies; Alli, Eriksen; Kane
Like his counterpart, Eddie Howe, too, is dealing with several personnel availability concerns ahead of the trip to Wembley on Saturday. However, his miseries have been compounded by the international break, with three players joining the treatment table.
Defender Brad Smith sustained a hip injury while on international duty with Australia. Additionally, Ryan Fraser and Joshua King picked up their respective hamstring injuries while representing Scotland and Norway during the international break.
While Smith is unlikely to be a big miss, Fraser and King are potentially major absentees. However, the duo’s availability will be subject to a late fitness test, with Howe claiming that neither are dealing with long-term injuries.
Meanwhile, Callum Wilson (knee) and Tyrone Mings (back) have stepped up recovery from their respective injuries, and could be available by the end of the month. But, Adam Federici is unlikely to feature again this year, as he continues to recover from a serious knee injury.
Possible Starting XI (4-4-1-1): Begovic; Adam Smith, Francis, Ake, Daniels; Stanislas, Lewis Cook, Surman, Ibe; King; Defoe
- Bournemouth have managed to beat Tottenham just once in their history, 60 years ago in an FA Cup fifth round tie. But Spurs are unbeaten in four Premier League meetings with the Cherries (W3 D1).
- Bournemouth’s only previous trip to Wembley was in April 1998, when they faced Grimsby in the Football League Trophy final. Eddie Howe represented the Cherries in that match, but ended up on the losing side.
- If Tottenham fail to win on Saturday, they will become the first ever team in Football League history to win each of their first four away games of a league season, but not manage success in any of their opening four home matches.
- Harry Kane has scored 36 competitive goals in 2017, as many as the entire Bournemouth squad have managed thus far.
- Bournemouth could lose their first four away matches of a league season for the first time since 1994-95.
1. Bournemouth Asian Handicap +2.0 @1.910
Player To Watch
One of the brightest sparks in world football right now, Dele Alli is a player on many people’s lips, mostly for good reason at that. However, the English youngster has made an uncharacteristically modest start to the season.
While he does have three goals and an assists in eight games thus far, Alli has shown a tendency to drift out of games with an alarming regularity. With Tottenham looking to turn their home league fortunes around on Saturday, the game is the perfect stage for the 21-year-old to inspire his team to their first win at Wembley in the Premier League.
Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 AFC Bournemouth
Things haven’t been easy at Wembley in the Premier League at the start of the season for Tottenham. While they have been one of the most free-scoring sides on the road, Mauricio Pochettino’s men have managed to score just twice at home in three games.
Bournemouth’s away form hasn’t been to convincing either, with only one goal and no points to show for their efforts in three matches. Therefore, a low-scoring affair – one doesn’t say that often about Spurs – is on the cards on Saturday.
However, considering the kind of form Harry Kane is in, Tottenham have enough firepower to break their Wembley league duck this season. The Hard Tackle, thus, predicts a hard-fought 1-0 win for the hosts.