Premier League 17/18 Week 30: Bournemouth vs Tottenham Hotspur -Lineups, Preview and Prediction
Spurs look to put their Champions League heartache behind them with a trip to the South Coast as they take on the Cherries
16:00 GMT, Sunday 11th March, Vitality Stadium (Bournemouth, England) Sky Sports
After finishing 9th in the Premier League last season, Bournemouth suffered a slow start to this current campaign but have since rekindled their form and have only 1 defeat from their last 10 games. A win this weekend would see them return into the top-half of the table and edge them closer to assured safety, however, they are yet to beat Tottenham in any of their previous league meetings (L4, D1).
Mauricio Pochettino’s side may have had recent joy over Eddie Howe’s team but they now have to overcome the pain of a Champions League exit. With only the FA Cup left for Spurs to claim some much-needed silverware, they will have to shake any hangover from their defeat to Juventus to ensure they maintain a healthy buffer between themselves and Chelsea following the Blues win last night. Unbeaten in their last 11 league games and having won 8 of those, Spurs are close to securing a place in the top-four but were hoping for so much more prior to Wednesday’s disappointment.
Last Time Out
Leicester City 1-1 Bournemouth (Premier League)
The Cherries were denied victory by a late free-kick following an impressive display which merited more than the solitary point taken for a draw. The Cherries were superior to their opponents for most this game, controlling matters from the start during a competitive clash in the Midlands.
Bournemouth took the lead through a penalty converted by Josh King in the 45th minute after the Norwegian had been tripped in the box by Marc Albrighton. Referee Lee Probert acknowledged after the game he was wrong not to award a second penalty kick to the visitors in the second half for a foul on Charlie Daniels by Wilfred Ndidi.
Instead, the Foxes remained trailing by a single goal as they grew stronger in the game. With only seconds left to play, Riyad Mahrez stepped up to send a fantastic free-kick beyond the reach of Asmir Begovic and leave Howe’s side ruing what might have been.
Tottenham 1-2 Juventus [agg 3-4] (Champions League)
Spurs failed to progress to the quarter-final stage as they let slip a lead against an experienced and determined Old Lady. After they had clawed their way back from a 2-goal deficit in Turin, Spurs finally went ahead in this tie through Son Heung-min just before half-time.
Spurs were perhaps lucky not to have had a penalty awarded against them earlier in the half although both Son and Harry Kane were guilty of not giving their team the lead before the South Korean struck.
Two goals in three minutes just after the hour mark tipped the game on its head for Tottenham to leave little more than 20 minutes for them to save the tie. Despite a determined effort to break the Italian champions, Juventus showed their strength in defence. The final seconds saw Kane put a header onto the inside of Juventus’ post but with the ball failing to cross the line completely, Tottenham could not force extra time and exited the competition with plenty to be proud about.
Tyrone Mings (back) remains out of contention this weekend and is joined on the injury list by Marc Pugh and Ryan Fraser who are both suffering from knocks while Jordon Ibe is also expected to struggle making the starting lineup due to a small problem with his hamstring. This is likely to result in Howe naming the same team which began against the Foxes last weekend.
Pochettino will again be without Toby Alderweireld (leg) while there’s a small doubt over Eric Dier’s fitness as he struggles with an arm injury, however, everyone else has been declared ready for the trip to the South coast. This could see Victor Wanyama drafted into the team but the Spurs boss may resist further changes and allow the players who started against Juventus bounce back from their defeat.
Key Battle: Callum Wilson (Bournemouth) vs Davinson Sanchez (Tottenham)
If the Cherries are to take any type of positive result from this match, they will most likely need to score at least one goal on Sunday. Callum Wilson has established himself as Howe’s first-choice striker this season after recovering from a series of injuries but has failed to score in his last 4 games. Described by Howe as “the complete package” of a striker, Wilson can help prove his manager right this weekend against a mean Spurs defence.
Another player who has grown into this season will play against the young Cherries striker. Sánchez joined Spurs from Ajax last summer and has made a solid start to his career in North London following a chance provided by a long-term injury to Alderweireld. While he was impressive on Wednesday evening against Juventus, Spurs were heavily punished when he momentarily switched off, allowing Gonzalo Higuain to find space and score against Spurs. As a player who has impressed this season, he can continue to build on his increasing reputation this weekend with another commanding performance in the heart of the defence.
Keep it clean
Without a win in their last 3 matches (D2, L1), the Cherries are suffering from an inability to close out their opponents forwards. With only 1 clean sheet from his last 17 Premier League matches, Begovic has not met the exceedingly high expectations which were greeted his arrival from Chelsea last summer.
Two softly conceded goals against Newcastle following 4 goals scored by Huddersfield strengthen the notion that the Bosnian keeper is yet to hit the heights he consistently showed at Stoke. The big-money signing of Nathan Aké has too failed to solidify the Cherries backline and these players will need to fulfil much of their considerable potential this weekend if they’re to record a clean sheet against Spurs slick attacks on Sunday.
Following defeat in the Champions League, Pochettino stated the need for Spurs to continue to learn and develop the culture which is deeply ingrained in clubs such as Juventus.
The mentality shown by everyone connected to the Italian champions is what Tottenham need to lift them into the next stage, however, much of this will develop once they claim a trophy. While a win this weekend will lift the club above Liverpool into 3rd place in the Premier League, the FA Cup is now of vital importance to Tottenham’s season.
With Wednesday’s loss potentially jarring Spurs recent momentum, a win over Bournemouth will put them back on track and help them show they have the mental characteristics in their dressing room to bounce back from setbacks which they encounter.
Prediction: Bournemouth 1-3 Tottenham Hotspur
A combination of Bournemouth’s recent slip in form and Tottenham’s need to bounce back from defeat means this could be a long afternoon for the home team. Spurs have not yet assured a top-four finish but a win will put them 8 points clear of Chelsea and will restore confidence for them ahead of next Saturday’s sixth round FA Cup match at Swansea.