Spurs v Bournemouth Preview

Another a quick one, I’m doing this on my lunch break. Let’s just go straight in with the line-ups:

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Lamela and Alli both started last night but were brought off early with Sunday’s game in mind. Dier supposedly took a knock and if that puts him out then I expect Mason to take his place. Toby, Wimmer and Rose will all be a little tired but I don’t expect that to stop any of them starting.

Pochettino seems close to committing to this kind of 433/3421 shape and I wonder if Dembele might spend more time on right of central midfield to accommodate and balance it.

Bournemouth were very weak when we played them earlier in the season. The common criticism of them at the time was that they were too attacking, too keen to play the football they wanted to and stubborn in recognising the quality of the competition they were in.

Eddie Howe, who will deserve all the plaudits he receives this season, stuck with his guns and now Bournemouth look more than safe. I’m very glad he did. The idea that every promotion team has to play defensive football to stand a chance of staying up is a crushingly depressive one but also obviously untrue. For recent examples just look at Swansea and, thanks to a certain Argentinian manager, Southampton.

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Having just praised their decision to stick with stylish, attacking and possession based football I think this is a game where they may well be punished for it. I’ve written before that the teams we’ve performed best against over the last 5 or so years are the lesser teams, like Swansea and Southampton who I just mentioned, that want to come out and play their own attacking game but are second best at it on the day.

Howe knows that Tottenham struggle against teams who defend narrowly and while he may take that in to some consideration Bournemouth will remain a team who play almost exclusively down the touchlines.

As said before Bournemouth have improved a lot since our last game and I certainly don’t expect Boruc to have the same nightmare he had that day. Afobe will trouble us with his mix of physicality and technique but only if we allow Bournemouth to supply him. And Bournemouth have that individual talent that can make a goal out of nothing – Matt Ritche being a personal favourite.

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If Ritchie and Gradel are instructed to mark Rose and Walker and our front three can pin back Bournemouth’s back four and Surman there could be a lot of space for Eriksen to operate in and for that reason I’m expecting a performance from him.



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