Tottenham Hotspur will be hoping to put pressure on Chelsea and Manchester United in the race for the top four when they take on Wolves this weekend.
As the race for the top four finish in the Premier League heats up, Tottenham Hotspur will be aiming to keep pace with fellow contenders Chelsea and Manchester United when they play hosts to Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday afternoon.
Currently sixth in the Premier League table, a point behind fifth-placed Manchester United and five below Chelsea in fourth, Tottenham head into the weekend fixture having lost their previous two matches – a 1-0 defeat to RB Leipzig in the Champions League, followed by a 2-1 league loss to Chelsea in the London derby last weekend.
And manager Jose Mourinho will be hoping that his team are able to produce a strong reaction on Sunday and return to winning ways. However, things will not be easy for the Portuguese and his side, going up against a Wolves side that is also pushing for a place in the top six.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s men are currently eighth in the table, just a point below their weekend opponents and stand a chance to move into the fifth place with a win. Wolves come into the game on the back of a 3-2 defeat to Espanyol in the Europa League, but prior to that were unbeaten in four matches and will back themselves to rediscover that form on their trip to London.
The reverse fixture, played in December, saw Tottenham eke out a narrow 2-1 win courtesy a late winner from Jan Vertonghen. And ahead of their latest meeting this weekend, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at both the teams.
Team News & Tactics
The hosts will once again be without the services of key players Harry Kane and Heung-min Son, while Moussa Sissoko also remains sidelined till next month. Ryan Sessegnon is also set to miss out with a hip problem, but Juan Foyth is closing in on a return, although Sunday’s fixture might come too soon for the Argentine.
Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris will start in goal in the lookout for a first clean sheet in five games in all competitions. Having set his team up with a back-five last time out, Mourinho is likely to revert to a flat back-four on Sunday with Serge Aurier and Ben Davies starting as the full-backs, while Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez pair up at the centre.
Giovani Lo Celso was completely wasted playing on the right flank against Chelsea. He should return to his natural habitat in the middle of the park on Sunday, starting alongside Harry Winks in the double pivot. The forward thrust will come from Dele Alli, who ought to slot in as the No. 10 for Mourinho’s side.
Erik Lamela is facing fitness problems and will be unable to feature from kick-off, Mourinho confirmed in his press conference. Gedson Fernandes, who can play on the right side of midfield, could be in line for a start on the wing, while Steven Bergwijn should feature on the left flank.
Spearheading the attack for Tottenham should be Lucas Moura, although academy prospect Troy Parrott is an option at Mourinho’s disposal.
Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Aurier, Alderweireld, Sanchez, Davies; Lo Celso, Winks; Fernandes, Alli, Bergwijn; Moura
Unlike Tottenham, Wolves don’t have a lot of injury concerns ahead of their trip to London. Nuno Espirito Santo will just be without Jonny Castro for the game, with the full-back ruled out with a foot injury. The Portuguese tactician will make a number of changes to the side that started against Espanyol in Europe earlier in the week, though.
Rui Patricio is the undisputed starter in goal for Wolves and that is unlikely to change against Tottenham. There will be just the one change in the three-man backline with Romain Saiss set to return at the expense of youngster Max Kilman. Willy Boly and captain Conor Coady will complete the defensive unit for the visitors.
Matt Doherty, who scored in the midweek encounter, is a guaranteed starter as the right wing-back while Ruben Vinagre ought to feature on the opposite side in the absence of Castro.
Having fielded three central midfielders last time out, Nuno is likely to just go in with just two on Sunday, so as to add an extra body in the attacking third. Ruben Neves and Joao Moutinho are likely to be the starting central midfielders for Wolves, with Leander Dendoncker dropping to the bench.
Adama Traore, who scored in midweek, should get a starting berth on the right while Diogo Jota should return to the side on the opposite flank. Star striker Raul Jimenez will form the focal point of the Wolves attack while the likes of Pedro Neto and Daniel Podence provide additional options to the manager from the bench.
Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Patricio; Saiss, Coady, Boly; Doherty, Neves, Moutinho, Vinagre; Traore, Jimenez, Jota
- Tottenham have lost just one of their last seven league games against Wolves (W4 D2). It was in their home meeting with them last season, losing 3-1.
- Wolves won this exact fixture 3-1 last season – they’ve never won back-to-back away league games against Spurs before.
- Tottenham are looking to secure three consecutive league wins at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the first time since their first three such games at the ground in April 2019.
- Since their promotion in 2018, Wolves are unbeaten in each of their eight Premier League games in London (W3 D5) – it is their longest unbeaten run in the capital in the top-flight since a run of 11 between 1972 and 1974.
- Coming into this weekend’s fixtures, only the top two sides Liverpool (45) and Manchester City (32) have won more Premier League points than Tottenham since Jose Mourinho took charge (26).
Player to Watch
The Brazilian international was expected to step up and shoulder the goalscoring responsibility at a time when Tottenham are without their two chief sources of goals in Harry Kane and Heung-min Son. However, that has not been the case, with Lucas Moura failing to score in any of his last 10 Premier League games, nine of which he has started.
In fact, Moura’s last league goal came in the reverse fixture against Wolves in December last year. With the race for a top four finish getting closer every passing week, Tottenham will need the 27-year-old to start delivering the goods in the final third and add to his goal tally of seven for the season.
Tottenham Hotspur 1-2 Wolves
Tottenham come into the game on the back of consecutive defeats against RB Leipzig and Chelsea. However, their recent form on their own turf – five wins in their last seven home games – has been impressive. Wolves, on the other hand, tasted defeat in their previous fixture, while their form away from home (one win in last six) has been a bit dodgy.
However, given the injury problems that Tottenham are facing in the attacking department, they might find it hard to break down a Wolves’ defence that has kept four clean sheets in their last five matches. Moreover, Spurs’ vulnerable rearguard could come undone in the face of the threat posed by an in-form trio of Adama Traore, Raul Jimenez and Diogo Jota.
And hence, we at The Hard Tackle are predicting Jose Mourinho & co. to stumble to a defeat at home on Sunday afternoon, with Wolves moving above them in the table.