Tottenham will be hoping to bounce back from their disappointing home defeat to Wolves with a victory over Cardiff City on New Year’s Day. Before the match on Saturday, it was stated that the club could challenge for the title this season under Mauricio Pochettino. However, with that defeat, it now looks to be a step too far for them. It was never the aim of Spurs to compete at the top of the division this season, but it will be a disappointment that they fell at the first hurdle. Now, it is crucial that they avoid any further setbacks.
Cardiff City have been a breath of fresh air this season under Neil Warnock. The veteran manager is proving that he can compete in the top-flight and the Bluebirds look to have a good chance of survival. They remain one of the favourites to be relegated, but they enter 2019 out of the bottom three and recorded an impressive win over Leicester City at the weekend. The transfer business during the summer wasn’t eye-catching, but they brought in players that would complement the current squad and that is now paying off big time.
The next 12 months are going to be huge for Tottenham. They will be moving into their new stadium imminently and will want to finally end their trophy drought. The opportunity is there for them in the Carabao Cup, but their miraculous recovery in the Champions League means that they can once again test themselves against the best on the continent. On their day, Spurs can beat any other team. It is crucial that they do well over the coming months as there remain questions regarding the long-term future of Pochettino. The club must do all they can to keep the man responsible for their impressive rise.
- 11 of Cardiff City’s last 13 Premier League goals have been scored in the second half.
- The defeat to Wolves was Pochettino’s first loss to a promoted side as Tottenham manager. He had been unbeaten in his previous 27 meetings.
Cardiff did a lot of their transfer business with lower league English clubs, but one of the standout additions came from abroad. Victor Camarasa was signed on loan from Real Betis and he has done superbly in midfield for the promoted side. In a team that struggles to create chances, the Spaniard has added quality in the final third with his current contribution standing at three goals and two assists. Against Leicester City, he scored an incredible goal to nab the three points for his team and that will give him confidence that he can have a big influence over the coming months. The 24-year-old averages 1.4 shots, 1.8 key passes and 1.3 dribbles per game, underlining the quality he provides in attacking areas. Tottenham will be the dominant side on Tuesday, but in Camarasa, Cardiff have a player that can do damage if he is given time on the ball.
In recent weeks, the Tottenham attack have been superb. Son Heung-min has taken a lot of the plaudits, but he is set to depart for the Asia Cup and his absence will be felt. The South Korean is excellent at relieving the goal burden on Harry Kane. While he is away, the focus will be on Dele Alli, Lucas Moura and Erik Lamela to step up. The England international has been an important player for Tottenham since joining, but there is a general feeling that there is more to come from him during the second half of this season. At the time of writing, he has contributed four goals and one assist. A player with his quality in the final third should be a much bigger influence in the opposition half. He is still on 22 and learning the game, which has led to his inconsistency over the past 18 months. However, there have been positive signs of late and supporters will be hoping that 2019 will be his year.
Jazz Richards will return in January, but this game comes a few days too soon. Kenneth Zohore will not be available for the home side, while Danny Ward is also expected to miss out.
Serge Aurier and Erik Lamela are both doubts for the visitors. Jan Vertonghen and Eric Dier are both set to miss out but will be back available in January. The game comes a few days too soon for Mousa Dembele. Son Heung-min is still available but will head off on international duty in January.
Cardiff have proven this season that they are a difficult team to beat and they are able to put up a fight against any team in the division. They will relish the opportunity to go up against Tottenham following their defeat to Wolves. It won’t be easy for the visitors, but they should have enough to bounce back with a victory. Before Wolves, they were excellent in the final third and a return to that form against the Welsh club is expected.
Cardiff City 0-3 Tottenham