Tottenham Hotspur stand a chance to go second in the Premier League table, when they face off against AFC Bournemouth on Boxing Day.
Tottenham Hotspur will welcome Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth side to the Wembley Stadium on Wednesday night in gameweek 19 of the 2018-19 Premier League.
Tottenham currently sit third in the league table, following their sensational 6-2 win over Everton on Sunday. Mauricio Pochettino’s side are just two points shy of second-placed Manchester City and a further six points behind leaders Liverpool.
And should Pep Guardiola’s side drop points against Leicester City, Spurs have a great chance of taking the second spot, with a win against the Cherries.
Bournemouth started the season on a brilliant note, picking up six wins and two draws in their opening 10 matches in the Premier League. But, Howe’s side then lost six of their next seven fixtures, including games against Arsenal, City, Manchester United and Liverpool. They did return to winning ways this past weekend with a 2-0 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion.
Currently occupying the eighth spot in the Premier League standings, the Cherries will be hoping to move up in the ladder with an upset victory against the Lilywhites at the Wembley.
Team News & Tactics
Midfielder Dele Alli has been added to the long injury list for Spurs, after the England international came off with a hamstring problem against Everton. He joins Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele, Serge Aurier, Eric Dier and Victor Wanyama out on the sidelines.
Hugo Lloris is a certain starter between the sticks for the home team against the Cherries. A couple of changes could be expected in defence, however, with Juan Foyth likely to start in place of Davinson Sanchez alongside Toby Alderweireld. Kieran Trippier will feature at right-back, but Danny Rose could be set to replace Ben Davies on the opposite side.
Moussa Sissoko has started five games in a row, but given the injury problems for Spurs, he is likely to start once again on Wednesday. He will be partnered up with academy graduate Harry Winks and creator-in-chief Christian Eriksen in the middle of the park, with the former occupying the deepest spot in midfield.
With Alli unavailable, Erik Lamela could get the nod in the No.10 role for Tottenham. Son Heung-Min has been in sensational form of late, but could be given a breather by Pochettino, with Lucas Moura likely to take his place in attack, alongside Harry Kane.
Probable Lineup (4-3-1-2): Lloris; Trippier, Alderweireld, Foyth, Rose; Sissoko, Winks, Eriksen; Lamela; Lucas Moura, Kane;
The Cherries will continue to be without the services of midfielders Dan Gosling and Lewis Cook, along with full-back Adam Smith. No other major injury concerns for Howe heading into the midweek encounter. Bournemouth are expected to stick to the 4-4-2 formation that they fielded against Brighton this past weekend.
Former Stoke City and Chelsea star Asmir Begovic is the undisputed first-choice goalkeeper and should start on Wednesday. Captain Simon Francis will take up the right-back slot, while Charlie Daniels is expected to feature on the opposite flank ahead of summer signing Sergio Rico. Steve Cook and Nathan Ake will form the centre of the backline.
Summer signing Jefferson Lerma has been a regular fixture in the starting XI for Howe this term and that is unlikely to change in the midweek game. Andrew Surman is expected to partner him in the middle of the park. David Brooks, who scored both of Bournemouth’s goals at the weekend, will continue on the right wing, with Ryan Fraser set to start on left side.
Callum Wilson has been one of Bournemouth’s best players this term and will lead the line against Spurs, alongside Norwegian international Joshua King.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Begovic; Francis, Cook, Ake, Daniels; Brooks, Lerma, Surman, Fraser; Wilson, King;
- Tottenham Hotspur are unbeaten in the Premier League against Bournemouth, with five wins and a draw, since the start of the 2015-16 season.
- Bournemouth’s only victory against Tottenham came in their inaugural meeting – an FA Cup tie in February 1957.
- Spurs have 26 top-flight victories in 2018. They have only twice recorded more wins in a calendar year: 31 in 1960, and 27 in 2017.
- A Bournemouth win would match their tally of four away victories for the entirety of last season.
- Tottenham are unbeaten in their 10 Boxing Day Premier League home matches (W7, D3).
Player to Watch
Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur)
The England captain is the joint second-highest goalscorer in the Premier League this term with 11 goals from 18 fixtures, along with Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah. Only Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has found the back of the net on more occasions (12) in the league.
Kane ended a four-game goalless run across all competitions this past weekend, bundling home twice in the huge win over Everton. The 25-year-old has a fine record against Bournemouth, having scored six goals in just five Premier League appearances against the Cherries. Expect him to pose a serious threat to the visitors’ defence on Wednesday.
Tottenham Hotspur 3-1 Bournemouth
Tottenham are absolutely flying at the moment. Having made it through to the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League from a difficult situation, the Lilywhites also advanced to semi-finals of the Carabao Cup and are mounting a serious title challenge in the Premier League. The manner of their win against Everton at the weekend will have boosted the morale of the squad further.
Bouurnemouth, on the other hand, have sort of fizzled out after an exciting start to the season. They might have gotten back to winning ways at the weekend, but it is hard to imagine them being able to stop this Spurs juggernaut at the moment. And as a result, we at The Hard Tackle expect a comfortable victory for Pochettino’s troops on Boxing Day.