A Cardiff City side unbeaten in three Premier League games host Tottenham Hotspur who look to continue their impressive start to the season.
Cardiff got a draw away to fellow newly promoted side Hull City last weekend and will hope they can continue their decent start at home, where they are still unbeaten after a win and a draw against Manchester City and Everton respectively.
Tottenham won their 3rd game of the Premier League season in exquisite fashion last week against Norwich City, while they opened their account in the Europa League group stage with a routine 3-0 victory over Tromso.
With Tottenham’s new attacking midfielders, most notably Christian Eriksen, impressing in the last week against Norwich and Tromso, the emphasis will be on Cardiff to defend well. A team effort, similar to the win over Manchester City a few weeks ago, will be important but a key player on Sunday will be Gary Medel who will be the enforcer in midfield. Tottenham will be dominant in possession, again similar to what Cardiff faced against Manchester City, so it will be important for Medel to keep his head which he struggled to do at times during his spell with Sevilla.
The new creativity and movement the Tottenham attack possesses means being able to read the game is important and this is something Medel can do well. Against Manchester City, Medel made 4 interceptions during the match, including a block in the 6-yard box, to help Cardiff gain a memorable win as they frustrated the former champions. The Chilean midfielder, despite it not being the main part of his game, has a pass completion rate of 92% (97% in the defensive third) and this will have to be present against Tottenham as Norwich’s poor possession of the ball meant they kept inviting more and more pressure onto themselves and could never get a proper footing in the game.
Christian Eriksen’s performance in the last week shows that he is the key link, whilst Lamela adapts to English football and language barrier, which helps to make this Spurs side flourish in the attacking third. Tottenham had struggled to break the defences down successfully before the international break, but the introduction of Eriksen gave Spurs a central advanced playmaker in the side which they were lacking due to the injury to Holtby. Eriksen’s passing in the attacking third was predominately focused down the right flank where Townsend was cutting in and allowing Walker to overlap or Paulhino to move out wide, Tottenham’s second goal came from this. The Danish attacking midfield also got an assist from a ball through the center of the Norwich defence, something that Spurs had found issues with earlier in the season, and while he only attempted 5 passes into the box, Eriksen’s movement opened up space for his teammates to take advantage of and without the excellence of Bassong there would have undoubtedly been more Tottenham goals.
- Steven Caulker has blocked the most shots in the Premier League so far this season with 7 – something that will be important when he faces his old club.
- After seven games, four in the Premier League and three in the Europa League, Tottenham have only conceded one goal this season.
- Tottenham won all six games against newly promoted side in last season’s Premier League season.
Cardiff will be without David Marshall with a hip injury, so Joe Lewis will continue in goal this weekend. Strikers Andreas Cornelius and Craig Bellamy are also still unavailable for the weekend.
Tottenham will be without wingers Aaron Lennon and Nacer Chadli, whilst Etienne Capoue continues to sit on the sidelines after the horrible ankle injury he suffered on his debut.
With Cardiff improving in the last 3 games after their disappointing opening match against West Ham the Welsh side will be full of confidence and will make Tottenham work harder than the North London side had to against Norwich last week. The feel good factor is also around White Hart Lane though due to their great work in the transfer window and this should help them edge the match, just. Spurs will have to be patience though as Cardiff will set up to frustrate them and attempt to annul their in-form attacking players. Cardiff 0 Tottenham 1