Games are coming thick and fast in the Premier League – as the competition edges towards the busier and more significant periods of the season.
Spurs, who have been on a great run in recent weeks will host Aitor Karanka’s Middlesbrough in an important weekend when there is undoubted potential to make up some ground on some of the fellow top four clubs in the league. They will go into this fixture on the back of a rather dispiriting result against relegation fodder Sunderland at the Stadium of Light, a drab 0-0 meant an opportunity to gain two points on the league leaders Chelsea was squandered. Having suffered a few injuries to their first choice defenders, it will be interesting to see if Pochettino’s side can remain as solid at the back in the next few weeks as they have been in the last two seasons.
Middlesbrough, on the other hand, are yet to win a league game away from home since their opening day heroics. Aitor Karanka has a tough task in his hand – in keeping the side up till May which is not helped by their lack of goals, especially away from home. They have not won any of their last five games in league – with their most recent result being a 1-1 stalemate against West Bromwich Albion at home. They are one of the least potent sides going forward scoring at the rate of less than a goal per game. But their organization and defensive solidity could come in really handy against a side that is particularly prolific at home.
Danny Rose is expected to miss the game, having picked up a knee problem in midweek. Jan Vertonghen is sidelined with ankle ligament damage while Spurs will be boosted by the return of Hugo Lloris to the starting line up ahead of Michel Vorm if he recovers from illness.
For the visitors, Daniel Ayala is set to return from suspension but George Friend and Calum Chambers are both out. Alvaro Negredo is likely to be named in attack but the Spaniard could be joined up top by either Rudy Gestede or Patrick Bamford.
- Tottenham Hotspur have won 25 of their last 27 Premier League matches against newly-promoted sides (D2).
- Spurs have won each of their last six home PL matches, last achieving a longer run in August 2009 (a run of eight). They last won seven in a row in the same season in December 2006.
- Harry Kane, who could make his first PL appearance v Middlesbrough, has scored against 22 of the 24 different opponents he has faced in the competition.
- Only Chelsea (10) and Spurs (11) have conceded fewer away Premier League goals than Boro (12) this season
Dele Alli (Tottenham Hotspur)
Dele Alli is in the middle of another wonderful season for Spurs. The midfielder has already scored 11 goals in the Premier League, his partnership with Harry Kane has continued to positively influence Tottenham Hotspur’s performances in the league. For a player who attempts an average of just under 3 shots per game, he manages an accuracy of 57% – which is remarkable and goes to show why he is as productive as he is. His tenacity and the knack of being in the right place at the right time will be important for Spurs to get back in winning ways against Middlesbrough.
Adama Traore (Middlesbrough)
Traore has yet to open his account for the season – but what he brings to Middlesbrough is key to the visitors especially in a game away from home when they will be dominated for the most part. He has managed to win a whopping 75% of his take-ons (89/118) and with the absence of first choice defenders in Danny Rose and Jan Vertonghen, there’s room for him to make his mark at White Hart Lane. His searing pace and directness often serves as the only outlet for Karanka’s well-drilled Middlesbrough and will prove crucial in a game they will get very few chances to score.
If Spurs are patient enough to wear down the Teesiders, they will win this quite comfortably.
Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 Middlesbrough