The title race is hotting up and Spurs need to win this weekend to keep the pressure on Leicester at the top. They will be at home to an in-form Bournemouth, who have all but confirmed their Premier League status. The Cherries will be keen to remain competitive and take as many points as possible, making them a tough test for a Spurs side on the back of being knocked out of the Europa League. There are only 8 matches left for the home side, and they still have a great chance of winning the title. The league will be stronger next year, therefore they must make the most of it this year.
Tottenham recovered from the disappointment of the matches against West Ham and Arsenal to beat Aston Villa comfortably. This has put their title challenge back on track, which was important as they are already five points behind league leaders Leicester. Nobody would have predicted that it would have been Tottenham and Leicester fighting for the title, but it is testament to the work being done at both clubs. Mauricio Pochettino deserves great credit, regardless of where they finish this season, as he has relied on an English core and didn’t spend a great deal in the summer.
Many expected Bournemouth to get relegated, especially after the horrendous injuries they suffered at the beginning of the season. However, Eddie Howe has continued to work miracles on the South Coast and is emerging as the best English coach for a long time. They have only lost twice in their last nine games and continue to pick up points regularly. They are on the same amount of points (38) than Everton, highlighting just how good they have been in their first Premier League campaign. Howe will want a strong finish and may even target a top half place before the season ends.
In the earlier meeting this season, Spurs ran riot and finished the match as 5-1 winners. Harry Kane scored a hat-trick, while Moussa Dembele and Erik Lamela scored the other goals. Matt Ritchie actually gave Bournemouth the lead in the first minute, but it turned into a bad day for the hosts. This weekend’s match will be a lot closer as Bournemouth have developed into a very good Premier League side.
Tottenham have the best goal difference in the league, having scored more (joint with Leicester) and conceded less than any other side.
Bournemouth haven’t lost in their last five away fixtures, showing how difficult they are to beat on the road.
Harry Kane has proven the doubters wrong and shown that he is a lot more than a one season wonder. He has been central to Tottenham’s success and has had to be as he is the club’s only recognised striker. Kane has dealt with the pressure at White Hart Lane and has put himself in the frame to lead the line for England in France this summer. He currently has 19 goals in the league, and could break the 20 mark this weekend. Incredibly, Kane only has one assist, which is surprising as he likes to drop deeper at times to allow the midfielders to run beyond him. The most impressive thing about the striker’s game is his ability to score all types of goals. He is a strong finisher with his feet and head, but he can also score wonder goals, as he showed against Arsenal. He arguably has the most accurate shot in the league, which is why he scores so many goals. He will be a threat this weekend, as everything Spurs do goes through him, and with Spurs expected to dominate possession, Kane will get chances.
The winger was the major signing for AFC Bournemouth this summer, but he suffered a horrendous injury to rule him out for the majority of the campaign. He is now back in the side and has played a major role in the team’s recent run. He has a goal and two assists in 8 league matches. I’d expect him to improve on that over the run in, as he has pace, skill and a quality final ball, making him a nightmare to defend against. In his last match, he got a goal and an assist as he dominated the Swansea back four. There were signs that he was close to becoming the player who was unplayable for Saint Etienne last season. He is a very good dribbler, while his crossing is also an asset that we will see more of over the next few games. Bournemouth will need to play well on the counter attack and Gradel is central to their hopes on Sunday.
Ben Davies is a doubt after getting injured on Thursday night against Borussia Dortmund. Jan Vertonghen and Clinton N’Jie are still on the treatment table for the home side, but they may return after the international break.
Harry Arter is a slight doubt for the Cherries on Sunday with a calf injury. Callum Wilson, Junior Stanislas and Tyrone Mings will all be missing for the away side.
I expect Tottenham to strengthen their title hopes with a win on Sunday. They need to win matches like these if they are to catch Leicester, who already have a substantial lead over them. They will want to bounce back from being knocked out of the Europa League. Bournemouth will be tough to beat, and I think they will get a goal, but Tottenham will be too strong.
Tottenham 2-1 Bournemouth
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