After a deserved, yet laboured victory in the Europa League on Thursday, Tottenham return to domestic football with a visit from Steve Bruce’s Hull City.
Spurs continue to be defensively secure with 5 clean sheets in the first 8 games, but have struggled on an attacking front with just 8 goals scored so far this season.
Hull’s defeat against Everton last weekend ended a 4 match unbeaten run which has seen them rise into the top half. With survival their main objective this season, 11 points in 8 games is good start to seeing this accomplished.
The Belgian midfielder may not have started in last week’s win at Villa Park, but his presence in the team was missed with Tottenham struggling to enforce their dominant possession (63%) in the final third. The North London side has a pass accuracy of 64% in the final third with the ball given away on 46 occasions.
The game against Hull sees Spurs face a team who have proved they can defend adamantly when needed, and obtaining possession in key areas will important to be able to break through the Hull defence. Dembele has the best passing accuracy (91%) at Tottenham and made 82 passes in the final third resulting in 13 chances created for Andre Villas Boas’ side.
Part of Hull team that has impressed so far this season has been the midfield partnership of Huddlestone and Livermore. Unfortunately Livermore is unable to play due to being on loan from Tottenham, but Huddlestone will be out to prove selling him in the summer was a bad choice.
Huddlestone has made the second most tackles (14) for Hull, behind fellow midfielder Elmohamady (15), and with 12 interceptions made as well Hull have improved since his arrival with the added Premier League experience in the middle of the park he brings. The English midfielder also enjoys pinging the ball up field, showing his different range of passing, and has successfully managed this 41 times – more than any other Hull City player.
Tottenham have no new injury worries, with only outstanding issues with Kaboul (muscle), Rose and Capoue (both ankle).
Steve Harper will make his Premier League debut for Hull after Allan McGregor is out for 6 weeks after picking up a thigh injury against Everton last week. Danny Graham also picked up an injury and will be sidelined, while Chester and Koren are not set to return for a further week.
- Tottenham have only scored more than 1 goal twice this season – against Norwich and Aston Villa.
- Andre Villas Boas liking to playing a high defensive line has seen Tottenham catch the opposition offside on 33 occasions.
- Hull City have used fewer players than any other Premier League this season (17), the sign of a settled team that has helped their form.
- Before Everton’s 8th minute goal last week, Hull had gone 224 minutes in all competitions without conceding.
Tottenham have faced 2 of the 3 promoted sides already this season and laboured to 1-0 victories over Crystal Palace and Cardiff. The absence of Jake Livermore and being the first promoted side to visit White Hart Lane will play into Spurs’ favour despite Hull’s decent form. Given Tottenham’s attacking exploits this season this could be a de ja vu moment for fans, but 3 points is priority for Andre Villas Boas and that’s what they’ll get.
Tottenham 2 Hull City 0