Despite not winning a home game yet, Spurs still find themselves in third place in the Premier League, five points off the top two thanks to their perfect away record. However, a home loss against title rivals Chelsea, and draws versus Burnley and Swansea will greatly disappoint Mauricio Pochettino and his side who need to make the national stadium feel like home.
Bournemouth, on the other hand, have an entirely different problem. There is a real worry that they’ve hit their peak now that opposition sides have worked out how to nullify their creativity and take advantage of their open defensive structure. Eddie Howe’s team currently languish in 19th place and only have one Premier League victory so far this season.
Both teams are in desperate need of the points, then, but for very different reasons. RealSport look at three key battles that may decide the game.
Harry Kane vs Simon Francis
Two sides have deployed three at the back against Spurs at Wembley this season. Both Chelsea and Swansea covered the width of the pitch, looking to deny any space for Spurs’ stars in the final third. Eddie Howe reverted to a three at the back structure against Manchester City to offer more defensive solidity and could do so again.
Kane is a man in exceptional form with 15 goals already for club and country this season, despite not scoring in August. The English international has exceptional movement, often pulling out to the wide channels to create space and drag one of the centre backs with him.
Simon Francis is likely to play as an outside centre back, so he may be forced to defend the channels Kane looks to move into. That, of course, is easier said than done. Anything less than 100% concentration and Kane will no doubt take advantage.
Christian Eriksen vs Andrew Surman
Despite the scoring exploits of Kane, an argument could be made that Christian Eriksen has been Spurs’ best player in the last year. The Dane makes his side tick and is one of the few player in the squad for whom there is no adequate replacement.
Eriksen has created 16 chances this season, the joint most at the club along with Ben Davies. He has also assisted 23 goals since the start of last season, more than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues.
Sides such as West Ham, Everton and Huddersfield Town have been guilty of giving Eriksen too much space and he has taken full advantage. Bournemouth must either restrict the spaces the Spurs playmaker has to work in, or deploy a player to man-mark him.
That task could fall to Andrew Surman who has been the Cherries’ best player this season. He is an all-round midfielder, averaging 1.7 tackles per game. That number will have to increase, however, if Bournemouth want to remain solid.
Jermain Defoe vs Davinson Sanchez
Jermain Defoe has proven himself to be one of the sharpest shooters in Premier League history. A former Spurs hero who is still adored by the club’s fans, he returns to face his former side this weekend.
Despite his record, Defoe only has one goal for Bournemouth so far this season – a typical low drive against Brighton and Hove Albion – and he will no doubt be looking to add to that. Defoe is an expert at pulling off of the last defender into goalscoring areas where he will often finish ruthlessly. The Spurs defence will have organise themselves to ensure that Defoe doesn’t escape from their sights.
Colombian Davinson Sanchez has made a great start to life in the Premier League. Nevertheless, he has still shown his inexperience on a couple of occasions. Sanchez can be too rash in his attempts to win the ball, giving away needless free kicks or even allowing players to take advantage of the space he has left having committed to the challenge. Defoe is brilliant at pulling defenders in before taking advantage.
With Sanchez returning from South America after the international break, fatigue could also be an issue.
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